2008 eco-friendly & socially conscious gift guide

My, my, my. It seems that the month of November has rushed right past us rather quickly. Today marks exactly one month until Christmas. For many, Christmas is a pretty stressful time of year because they have to buy gifts for loved ones, friends and even co-workers. And with many people choosing to go “green”, the task of buying that present for a special someone who is eco- or socially conscious and that doesn’t totally suck can be a difficult one. Hopefully the ideas presented here will help alleviate some of that stress that comes with shopping for gifts for people.

Because of the current economic crisis that is facing our world, I’ve decided to organize things by price this year, so that those of you reading who are on a budget, can get a good sense of what’s out there for those eco-concious people in your life.

Whenever possible, I’ll try to point out whether the purchase of any particular item can be done in-store, online or both. Please also be aware that this gift guide is mainly aimed at Canadian consumers particularly those who live in and around the Toronto area. However, if you are outside of Canada, you can definitely look these particular products up online and see if they are sold and/or shipped in (and to) your area.

One last note I’d like to bring up is that the prices I list for each item in this gift guide are in Canadian dollars and are before any applicable taxes & shipping costs that might be incurred.  I think that’s all I have to add for now.  If you have any questions please be sure to post a comment and I’ll try to respond as soon as I can.

$25 and under:

Tree in a box: …Step 1…Cut a hole in the box…Step 2…LOL. I couldn’t resist the reference to Justin Timberlake’s SNL Digital Short. All kidding aside, now a friend or loved one can offset their own carbon by planting one of a variety of trees (in a box). Type of trees available include Balsam Fir, Canadian Sugar Maple and Dwarf Mountain Goji. You can purchase a tree in a box at Grassroots in-store or online for $14.99.

Baggu: If looking for a good gift for that shopaholic in your life you may want to consider Baggu. What is Baggu? It’s a reusable bag that’s stylish and compact enough to take with you anywhere. If you’re looking for Baggu in Toronto you may want to check out Fresh by Juice For Life. At $9 per bag, you can get a few (maybe even some for yourself if you so choose) and help deter the use of plastic bags.

Eco-Flask: If you have someone on your list who is an avid coffee or tea drinker you may want to consider getting them an Eco-Flask. With it, they’ll be able to take their coffee/tea with them everywhere and not have to worry about the flask leaking. Head over to Noah’s Natural Foods store if you’re wanting to pick one up for that special someone. You can also purchase the Eco-Flask at Noah’s online store. At $24.99 to $27.99 you really can’t go wrong with this gift.

Maxecki by Mari Cla Ro: Students, business, people, or techie nerds who are environmentally conscious, will be thankful you picked them up one of these bags made from recycled billboards. It’s a perfect bag/case for your documents or for a small laptop. You can pick up the Maxecki at Blue Banana Market in the Kensington Market area for a mere $25.

Recycled Paper Oval Plate: Made by hand by Vietnamese artisans, this plate from recycled newspaper/magazine pages can be a great decorative piece or a nice serving plate. Plus you can feel good that your purchase goes to help the Vietnamese artisans who created. It’s a unique piece that costs $20 and can be purchased at Ten Thousand Villages in-store or at their online store.

Help: A Day In The Life: For the music lover on your Christmas list, you should consider getting a CD such as Help: A Day In The Life. The proceeds go to War Child Canada`s humanitarian projects around the world, including Darfur, Afghanistan, and Uganda. The CD, which costs $11.99 and can be purchased on the Warchild Canada website, features tracks from artists such as Radiohead, Coldplay, Gorillaz, Bloc Party and Sam Roberts.

$50 and under:

WWF Wildlife Adoptions: I have mentioned WWF Wildlife Adoptions in previous gift guides, but it really is a great gift. And this year WWF has added several new animals to the list of animals that can be adopted, including an Emperor Penguin, Caribou and Monarch Butterfly. It costs $40 to adopt an animal and as an added incentive, you (as the purchaser) ,will receive a tax deductible receipt for $30. Animal adoptions can be made at the World Wildlife Fund online store.

Men’s Repurposed Sweater Mittens: Why not give the gift of warmth this winter with a pair of mittens. We Torontonians know that winter in the city can be bitterly cold. And one way to keep part of our body warm is to wear some warm mittens. These mittens are made from reclaimed scraps of old sweaters making them very, very warm for the cold winters. Each pair of mittens runs $30 and each pair of mittens is unique. Check out Green is Black both in store and online to pick up a pair of these fabulous mittens.

Thermapod Lunch Container: Ideal for school children or the most senior nine-to-fiver, the Thermapod Lunch Container is a great way to keep one’s BYO lunch in tact. With four individually sealed compartments and a durable design, this lunch container can stand up to almost anything. Visit any one of the Grassroots store locations or check out their online store. You can pick up the Thermapod Lunch Container for $44.99.

Freeplay Companion Radio/Flashlight/Charger: For only $29.50 you can get a gift that would be great for the avid traveler or for those just merely caught in a blackout at home. It’s both practical and functional. This little device can be wound up, charged via the solar panel. Check out Mountain Equipment Co-Op in store or online to pick up this item.

$75 and under:

Yoga Mat: If there’s someone in your life who does Yoga on a regular basis you may want to consider getting them an environmentally friendly yoga mat by JadeYoga. These mats are made in the U.S. from natural rubber tapped from rubber trees and contains no PVCs. It’s still rather comfy and can let the giftee maintain a good grip while in many different yoga poses. As far as I know the only place that sells these mats here in Toronto is The Big Carrot in the Carrot Common on The Danforth. Check out there store for a colour that would best suit the giftee.

Unisex Organic Cotton Waffle Robe: For those who like to live modestly or just prefer another layer of clothing when they are around the house, a nice soft robe can be the perfect gift. Organic Lifestyle offers a variety of robes, however this unisex waffle robe made from organic cotton is a stand out item. For $69.95, you can get one of these really nice robes. Check out Organic Lifestyle store or if you prefer, check out the online store to pick one up.

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag: Perfect for an avid cyclist who needs to hold a lot, or for a nine-to-fiver who likes a good shoulder bag. The Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag is sturdy and has lots of room. It also comes in an array of funky designs. Check out Mountain Equipment Co-Op in store for a variety of styles or if you feel like a gambling type of individual you can order it online. Prices of the bag range from $63 to $72.

Organic Cotton Bath Towel: A soft and fluffy present for anyone in your life. While it may not be the most extravagant gift, it is practical and anyone who gets it will most definitley use it (unless they’re the type to not clean themselves….ewww). In any case, Comondi offers these towels on their online store at a price of $59.99 – $89.99.

$100 and under:

SteriPEN Purifier and Water Bottle Pre-Filter: If you know someone who often travels abroad or someone who is just picky about the water they drink, consider getting them a SteriPEN Purifier. With this device the giftee can ensure that the water they are drinking is at a purity level to their liking. It’s a hefty price to pay for this device, but when you consider the health risks you save the giftee from, as well as the fact that this will allow the giftee to cut down on the amount of waste generated by plastic bottles, it really isn’t such a bad deal at all. Mountain Equipment Co-Op sells these both in store and online for a price of $88.

Japanese Buckwheat Hull Pillow: Offer someone the gift of a good night’s sleep. These pillows are made from 100% double cleaned organic American fluffy buckwheat hulls. Available at Organic Lifestyle website. Sif you purchase the pillow from Organic Lifestyle’s online store you can take advantage of the special promotional offer, where the pillow will only go for $99. If you prefer to visit Organic Lifestyle’s store location please be aware that you’ll be paying $115.

Over $100:

Oral Rehydration Salts: This gift from the Unicef website will help approximately 1,500 children in times of crisis. For $120, you can provide much needed medicine for children affected by natural disasters who may come into contact with contaminated water. This gift can be purchased on Unicef’s online store.

Salvaged Teak Root Bowl: Each Teak Root Bowl is handcrafted in Indonesia and is one of a kind. It makes a great conversation piece on a coffee table or possibly a nice bowl to put some decorative spheres into. Whatever the giftee decides to do with it is up to them. You can be happy knowing that your purchase helps the artisan cooperative that crafted these bowls. Because each bowl is one of a kind and made from teak root, they are pricey at $165. You can visit a Ten Thousand Villages store location near you to pick one up or you can purchase it from their online store.

An Orangutan Family Adoption: Earlier in this post, I mentioned World Wildlife Fund’s animal adoptions. They’ve added several new animals. On top of adding new animals they have also added Family Adoptions, allowing you to adopt an entire family of a species of animal. You can purchase this gift at the WWF online store for $250. As a result you will know that your donation is going towards helping an endangered species and you’ll also receive a tax receipt for $200.

So here are just some of the gifts that you can think of giving this holiday season. I hope you find this guide to be somewhat helpful.

However, if none of these gifts listed strike you as a good gift for that eco-friendly/socially-conscious individual in your life, then you may want to check out one of the following gift guides for other gift ideas.

If you’re not in Canada then you may want to check out the TreeHugger Holiday Gift Guide 2008. They have divided the Gift Guide by giftee “type” i.e. The Wee-Hugger, The Green Geek, The Foodie, etc.

Hopefully you find that perfect gift for those eco-conscious/socially conscious people on your list. And if they enjoy what you do get for them, not only will they be thanking you, but the environment will be thanking you as well.

Take care and have a happy, green holiday!

This entry was posted in Buy Nothing Christmas, Clothing, Cycling, Electronics, Environmental Issues, Environmentalism, Fashion, Healthy Living, Music, online shopping, online||shopping, Organic Products, Social and Politics, Sociological Corner, Sustainability, Technology, Toronto, Veganism/Vegetarianism, Websites of Interest. Bookmark the permalink.

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