Christmas, Green Living

Christmas Gifts with an Eco-friendly Twist


There are many ways to “green” your Christmas giving. Here’s a list of eco-friendly gift ideas:
More often than not the only things “green” about Christmas are the trees and wreaths. For most it’s a season of excess, much of which is wonderful, but much is wasteful too and not really essential to creating the joy that is Christmas.

If you’re aiming for a Christmas with all of the sparkle and without the hefty carbon footprint consider giving gifts that help the recipient make their life a little greener. Below are seven suggestions for easy-to-find gifts that have an eco-friendly twist. They’re practical, but fun.

Help wean someone off microwave popcorn with the gift of a hot air popcorn popper and a bag of Speerville Four Mill organic popping corn. Visit your nearest hardware store for the popper (Home Hardware has them for $24.99) and the natural food section of the grocery store for the popcorn. You could tuck in some seasoned popcorn recipes too.

Make it easy for someone to get rid of their non-stick fry pan (and the environmental toxins in it) with the gift of a cast iron pan, a sturdy stainless steel pan or a ceramic-coated fry pan. Cooking with cast iron helps to add iron to your diet and once well-seasoned requires little oil to keep food from sticking.

Fill a stocking with non-toxic personal care products like Canadian-madeGreen Beaver toothpaste and deodorant or Rocky Mountain Soap Company shampoo and conditioner. It’s a fun, practical gift that will help the recipient eliminate parabens, phthalates, SLS and other chemicals common in most personal care products. The Feel Good Store and The Corn Crib carry a good selection of these products. Some are available in the natural food section of grocery stores too.

Good old shaving soap is popular again and makes a great gift for the man in your life. Olivier Soaps offers non-toxic eco-friendly shaving soap made with olive oil, cocoa butter, beeswax and fragrant oil.  You can buy both the soap and the shaving brush at the Olivier shop on King Street or order online.

Give the gift of stoneware baking pans to someone looking to get rid of their non-stick bakeware. Pampered Chef has a great selection of stoneware baking pans, muffin pans, pie plates and more. They’re made with lead-free clay and come with a three-year warranty. 

Help someone get back to baking from scratch, and incorporate more organic food items into their diet, buy giving ingredients for wholesome homemade cookies or other baked good. Choose a recipe and then package together the ingredients, using as many local and organic products as possible (Speerville Flourmill flour, Barbour’s Spices, Crosby’s molasses, Just Us! Chocolate, Terra Beata or Springbrook dried organic cranberries.)

Buying locally crafted practical gifts is another way to green your gift giving. (Think wooden salad bowls and cutting boards made with New Brunswick wood, pottery coffee mugs and bowls of all sizes.)

Practical gifts don’t need to be boring and are as thoughtful as any other gift you might choose to give (perhaps more so).

(N.B. This is an updated version of my column that ran in December 2009.)

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