One of the great pleasures of my job is working with Chris Kilham, Medicine Hunter. Chris is an alternative medicine expert who travels all over the world and has changed the way I think about medicine. In the three years that we’ve been working together on video segments I’ve also become friends with his fabulously savvy wife Zoe Helene. Like Chris she loves the outdoors and has a real respect for our environment. I thought she’d be the perfect person to help us find gifts that will give back this year.
Gifts That Give Back
by Zoe Helene
When Paula suggested I come up with a list of Gifts That Give Back, I knew the challenge would be to keep that list short. After collecting pages and pages of great stuff, I decided to keep this one focused on high quality traditional Christmas gifts that are also earth-friendly.
In the natural products industry we call that category ‘premium sustainable’. You might have heard it called ‘Luxury Eco,’ which is basically the thing. In a nutshell, these are high-end products that have produced in ways that are healthy for all parties along the chain of trade; and not just people, but planet, plants and critters too. Now that’s what I call true Christmas spirit.
Sustainably produced gifts gives give back, by default. Sustainability is a civilized, humane economic ideal based on the notion that all parties deserve to thrive and can thrive if we all put our hearts and minds into embracing better world business practices. If you follow a sustainable chain of trade from your purchase all the way back, you will find eco-conscious and ethical cultivation, harvesting, production, processing, packaging, and delivery methods. Your dollar creates demand, and demand drives supply, so what you chose to support with your consumer choices matters.
I’m making a point with this list, and my point is simple: YES, you can find organic, sustainable, eco-friendly, etc. gifts that are also very traditional (even downright conservative). And to prove this point, here is a selection of available options:
Eileen Fisher’s Eco Collection (eileenfisher.com)
Eileen Fisher is a gifted designer who produces sophisticated, in-vogue pieces you can dress up or down. Her colors and textures are luscious, and pieces seem to last forever if you take good care of them. This season’s Eco Collection includes this simple but perfect U-Neck Slim Top in Organic Cotton Baby Rib ($68.00) in a rich holiday red. ‘Body skimming with the longer length we love,’ and made of fine 100% organic cotton, with just a hint of stretch.
Elegant Eco-Friendly Sleepwear by Coyuchi (coyuchi.com)
If you’re looking for quality eco-friendly sleepwear, this super-soft two-toned Organic Woman’s Cotton and Linen Terry Robe ($176.00) is eco luxury at its best. Coyuchi also makes awesome warm and cozy eco PJ’s.
Buying hand-crafted jewelry direct from fine American artisans helps to keep these skills from being lost. If you haven’t discovered Etsy.com you are in for a treat. Here are only a few of so, so many choices. Garnet & Ruby Earrings by Agusha ($60.00) are whimsical and ultra-feminine, with a circle of faceted garnets and a drop of ruby for holiday sparkle.
These wonderful Sculptural Charms by Marty Magic are created from scratch using ‘the lost wax casting process.’ Marty’s a talented guy, and he has a great selection of iconic charms and pendant, including traditional Christmas themes. My personal favorite the Reindeer Charm ($70.00) is completely three dimensional. Even better, there’s a 14K gold Rudolf Reindeer Charm version with a ruby at the tip of nose.
Another jewelry designer creates ‘flowers’ using inspired combinations of gemstones and pearls. I like her work a lot. These Ruby Pearl Keshi Pink Lush Cluster Dangle Earrings by Flower Earrings ($224.00) feature rubies in the shape of flowers, and cascading tendrils of pearls. She’s got a great color sense and obviously enjoys her work.
Every purchase from Organic Bouquet helps to protect the environment for generations to come. In addition to fresh and beautiful flowers and live potted plants, they also have a Mini Christmas Tree ($54.95) and some beautifully made wreaths. This Bay & Rosemary Wreath ($61.95) is elegant and beautifully put together. Make sure to check out Flowers for Good, where you can select a great non-profit to support, without paying a cent more for your flowers. Love that. But wait! You can tell a lot of love went into these certified organic iced sugar cookies. There are three choices of traditional holiday box sets: St. Nick, Stars and Stockings, Holiday Ornament Cookies, and Winter Snowflakes.
Certified Organic Chocolate Truffles by Lake Champlain Chocolates (Box of 15 $26.00)
Lake Champlain Chocolates does it right. Great packaging and superb taste, this certified organic box of assorted gourmet chocolate truffles makes a great gift. They have a lot more than just this one box, so I hope you’ll take a moment to explore.
GOURMET GIFT BOXES
Gourmet Organic Gift Boxes by America’s Best Organics
The people behind America’s Best Organics are respected experts in the natural products industry, and they’re dedicated to the cause. Choose from an excellent selection of themed organic gourmet gift boxes filled with carefully selected treats by American artisans, or create your own. If you are a business, Better Business Gifts has a brand customization option for corporate giving. Enjoy!
Portico Organic Towels
Beautiful, plush towels are always a welcome gift. Portico Bath Towels ($16.99 – 24.99) are not just pretty to look at; they’re absorbent, super soft, and 100% organic cotton. The elegant colors in this collection include grey, white, ivory and sky blue.
Gaiam’s Deluxe Organic Solid Flannel Bedding
Earth-friendly bedding is healthier. Flannel sheets are something most people don’t think to buy for themselves, even though they make can make winter nights downright cozy. These luxury weight flannel sheets are brushed on both sides for extra softness. (Check website for pricing).
Is the best friend on your list a cat or dog—or a human that’s crazy about them? Either way, there are many inspired eco-friendly animal companion gifts on the market. I can imagine a cat or dog leaping into this Eco Friendly Designer Dog “Nest” ($49.99) It beckons like a cozy nest or a comfy cave/den. Eco-Tech polar fleece is made entirely from post-consumer plastic bottles. I’m always blown away by how many plastic bottles there are to transform into fabrics. We humans generate a lot of throw-away plastic.
Wingdream Eco-Luxury Kitty Bed ($256.00) You know your cat (or dog) will fall in love with this sanctuary pillow made of plush organic cotton on one side, and linen-like woven hemp on the other. You know it.
STOCKING STUFFERS : )
I could oh-so easily create a long list of eco-stocking-stuffers, like these photo mugs, but here are just a few:
AVEDA Shine Brilliant Mini Lip-gloss ($15.00) A fabulous stocking-stuffer for the girlie-girl on your list, these two adorable mini lip-glosses fit into the tiniest holiday clutch. This is a limited-edition gift set that comes wrapped in hand-crafted LOKTA bark paper, which helps Fight Poverty in Nepal.
Lake Champlain Organic Truffles ($20.00)
Cute, yummy, and organic, and fits easily into a stocking. Perfectly delicious.
Not only are these the best candles on the planet, they also support American bee-keepers. Bees are critical to our survival, and they’re vanishing. To learn more, visit The Buzz about Colony Collapse Disorder.
This romantic and traditional soap is made with beautifully blended organic natural essential oils. The sweet petite size makes it perfect for tucking into a Christmas stocking. Dr. Bronner’s does it right.
EO Eucalyptus & Arnica Bubble Bath Sachets (Two Single Servings; $3.29)
EO Products makes the best bubble bath I know of. Just toss one sachet in the water and it will make an aromatic super abundant bubble bath.
Cute box of bone shaped doggie cookies with red icing and white lettering.Handmade with organic ingredients in the USA in a small doggy bakery. ‘You are what you eat’ goes for animals too.
Ultra-cute little catnip sacks in five color choices, tied with reclaimed cotton string, chock full of 100% premium USDA certified and home grown in the USA organic catnip.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year.
Peace on Earth. Love, ZOE
ZOE HELENE is a devoted environmental pro-activist, visionary artist and Cosmic Sister. Zoe believes there can be no true civilization without the arts and no true sustainability without gender equity, and that the rights of wilderness and wildlife are every bit as important as the rights of human beings. She is currently developing Cosmic Sister™, a multi-generational network of outstanding women on the path, ‘kindred-spirit trailblazers from all walks of life,’ she says, ‘who believe a better future is worth working for.’ Zoe has 20+ years of senior management experience as a creative director in interactive and converging media. Much of her world view is informed and inspired by archetypal psychology as ‘the language of soul.’ Zoe works and travels extensively with her husband, Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham.