The holidays are a great time to give the gift of green, no, not that kind of green, the kind of green that is good for the planet and good for the people you love. These gifts are all environmentally conscious and practice either recycling, reusing or reducing waste or using healthy, safe materials. They also have some great style and will make perfect gifts for anyone on your list!
1. Plum Gear. Call Plum the Netflix of baby clothes. What better way to go green than to get great pre-loved baby clothes from favorite brands like Petit Bateau, Kate Quinn Organics and Zutano? Little ones outgrow clothes in the blink of an eye, and with Plum you can get stuff in impeccable condition, in the perfect size for just the time you need it. Just log into your account and start selecting from our inventory of boutique baby clothes that include brands like . Add 5, 10 or 15 articles of clothing to your cart and check out. They send a tracking number when the order ships and clothing is delivered right to your front door in a re-sealable envelope. After 30 days or more, pack up your clothing and return using the included, pre-paid return label. Free round-trip shipping is included in your subscription every 30 days. After you drop off your old bundle at the post office, just log in to your account, click the "mail back" option and start picking out your next bundle without delay! Give the gift of a Plum subscription and you know you are giving a great green gift!
2. Now onto the Netflix for toys, Toygaroo! A lot of parents out there suffer from toy overload and it can be hard to avoid. Between birthday and holiday gifts from family and friends the toys pile up, and if you have a picky little player those toys can sometimes be hot one day and dropped the next. Enter Toygaroo. Toygaroo offers a variety of toy rental packages, you are billed monthly and toys can be exchanged every 30 or 60 days (depending on your plan). With their "No Yuck" factor, the toys are all cleaned, sanitized and then sent out to kids on a bimonthly basis. First, the company inspects the toys for missing parts and pieces, then cleans them with an organic, gentle cleaning soap. From there, the toy is sanitized with a steam cleaner that puts out steam at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, the toy is shrink-wrapped to prevent it from attracting other germs in transit.If and when the child's attention wanes, the toys are exchanged for something new. Or if your little one becomes attached to a toy, you can then buy it for a discounted price. No muss, no fuss, and no toy clutter! Plus, reusing toys rather than throwing out old discarded ones is a great way to go green and reduce waste.
3. You readers knew I couldn't do a post without sneaking in some sort of chalkboard item, so here it is! This fantastic Reclaimed Slate Cheese Board is a great gift for the foodie in your life or as an original hostess gift. Made from reclaimed chalkboards from Franklin Elementary School in Quincy, Illinois, you can write the names of what you're serving directly on it with your choice of chalk, or if you're serving little ones you can come up with whatever design you (or they) want to draw! It also features reclaimed wine cork feet to keep them from slipping and scratching the table. Divided into four sections, it includes a piece of chalk and is handmade in Wisconsin.
4. I'm adding these amazing reusable Food Kozies to my own list this year. Just this morning as I was making Finn's lunch I was telling myself I have to come up with an alternative to the plastic baggies. With these brilliant little items you can stop using plastic baggies altogether! Wrap sandwiches, bagels & cream cheese, tortilla roll-ups, meat & cheese slices, apple slices or whatever you need to wrap for lunch or as a snack. Plus, they also double as an on-the-go placemat! The Kozies make a perfect refrigerator storage option for blocks of cheese, cut meats, cut vegetables or anything else you otherwise would store in plastic wrap, plastic baggies or foil.
5. A Local Farm CSA. There is no better, healthier, "greener" gift for a family than a CSA from a local farm. A CSA is Community-Supported or Community-Shared Agriculture, also known as "subscription farming." You buy a subscription from a local farmer just like you buy a subscription to Time or Newsweek, but instead of receiving a magazine each week, you receive a "share" of fresh, locally grown or raised fruit and/or vegetables. Some farmers also offer CSA subscriptions for farm-fresh eggs, and/or meats. To find a farm that offers a community supported agriculture program in your recipient's neighborhood click here, and then sign them up for a season (or a year) of fresh, local produce that will inspire them to use everything from strawberries to kohlrabi and be healthier by eating locally and seasonally. You can also contact the Saratoga Farmers' Market for a list of which of their vendors offer CSAs.
6. Plan Toys. This is one of my favorite toy companies out there. Besides incredible design with modern flair, PlanToys practices the "Three R's" of green living: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Their manufacturing processes are designed to reduce waste and save energy. They reuse materials, and have introduced innovative methods to recycle paper and other products and are always looking for new ways to improve and preserve our environment. They have tons of toys to offer, from baby to older kids, my favorite is this dollhouse Lev got for her birthday this year.
7. Another rent and return option for the fashionista in your life is Rent the Runway. Give the gift of style to the clotheshorse on your list this year and they can browse through more than 95 accessory and fashion designers, from Anna Sui to Zac Posen, by simply selecting a look, picking a date, and checking the mail. Rent the Runway will provide the style (plus, an extra size just in case it doesn't fit) and it's the borrowers for four to eight days. A fabulous way to reuse materials, it's also a quick style fix for someone who needs a last minute option for a gala, a date night, wedding or a big night out! They also do jewelry and handbags, even Spanx! With next day delivery and the second size free!
8. I've already professed my love for all things TOMS in our Gifts that Give Back Top Ten, and here is another example of my boundless devotion, their sunglasses. Besides being gorgeous (and on my own personal wish list) through a partnership with California-based Seva Foundation, each pair of sunglasses sold will help give sight to a person in need by providing medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses, and even sight-saving surgery. Made in Italy, they offer 100 percent UVA/UVB protection and feature walnut wood temples and hand-painted stripes. They come in fantastic classic designs, and are available in both men's and women's and add instant style to any outfit.
9. Corn Resin Watch. When you take a look at this stylish watch you're first thought isn't "corn resin", but it should be, because that is exactly what its made of- a biodegradable corn resin case and bracelet, these timepieces will last a lifetime on your wrist, but not on the planet. Featuring a highly polished white corn resin case and bracelet with stainless steel fold-over closure, mineral crystal lens, natural mother of pearl dial with eight sparkling diamonds and polished silvertone numbers, these timepieces make the best of what Mother Nature has to offer – and they look beautiful doing it. They have tons of styles and looks to choose from, including men's styles as well.
10. Corksicle. I absolutely love this, and it would be a great hostess gift or a gift for the wine enthusiast in your life. The Corkcicle icicle is made of BPA-free plastic filled with a reusable freeze gel, so you don't have to worry about an early thaw diluting your wine. You simply place your Corkcicle in the freezer for at least two hours, and then insert it into any bottle of wine (after 1 glass has been poured) to maintain chilled white wine or to bring up red wines to their perfect temperature. Plus, the Corkcicle enhances the subtleties of the red and white wine's complex flavors! Brilliant!
For even more great green gift ideas, check out Green Conscience Home and Garden in Saratoga Springs. They offer a wide variety of environmentally safe products for your home and office remodeling projects. No matter if you are a contracting pro or a do-it-yourselfer, their products will satisfy your every need and fit your budget!