I’m back with some great gift ideas for friends and family. This list started out as a quick search for a mother’s day gift and turned into this long list of possibilities. I couldn’t believe how many wonderful green, natural and holistic gifts the internet had to offer. And of course, if you are not into buying products on-line or are looking for inexpensive ways to gift, a few of these ideas can be created at home. Seriously, I’m learning, the possibilities are endless. You can use recycled items, shop at your local farmer’s market, add in some yard-sale purchases, or even make a one-stop shop at your local thrift store. The sky is the limit. All that’s needed is some creativity. So, let’s begin…
An organic vegetable, fruit, or herb seeds gift set… If you want to get creative, you can mix in some organic fruits with your seed packets. Need some ideas, check out Territorial Seed Company. This website has a gift basket with 16 vegetable seeds specifically chosen for their compact growth habit — perfect for urban dwellers and small property owners. There’s also Bambeco. They have 3 prettily packaged seed gift sets: Herbal Tea Garden Kit, Herbs for Wine Lovers Garden Kit, and Gourmet Salad Garden Kit. Before gifting seeds, make sure you consider what the giftee likes. Nothing worse than getting a packet of carrot seeds when you can’t stand the taste of carrots. Also consider the giftee’s location and garden size.
- A potted flower or plant… This is a very simple and easy gift to give. You can buy a new flower or gift one of your prized flowers, packaged in a beautiful pot or urn.
- A fruit, nut, and seed gift basket… This idea is easy to buy and easy to make. All it requires is a trip to your local grocery store and some closet rummaging for a basket. If you want to go exotic, you may have to shop at an organic, health food store like Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s or an international food market. These types of stores have a better selection of fruits, nuts and seeds. And remember, you can always buy fresh and organic on-line. This gift is great for healthy eaters, vegetarians and vegans. It’s also great for those who like to experiment. Not everyone has had the opportunity to try hulled sunflower, lotus, pumpkin, and melon seeds, nor chestnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts and walnuts. You can even add a bottle of wine or coconut water and a large scarf or shawl to give your basket that special look. You may want to throw in a nut cracker if you are gifting nuts still in their shell.
- Home-made jam(s)… While traveling through Mora Valley in northern New Mexico last year, I happened upon this colorful weathered sign on the side of the road with red and black letters. And I thought: why not… A few minutes later, there I was, standing on a porch, in the middle of this incredibly beautiful valley of trees in autumn splendor, tasting, one-by-one, different versions of Grandma Joan’s Choke Cherry Jelly. What an experience! If I could, I’d packaged it up and gift it to all of my loved ones and friends. But unfortunately, I can’t. So instead I like making gift baskets with home-made jams bought in a store. I know, it’s not the same. But if you like making home-made jam, then next time you’re in the kitchen, elbow deep in boiling fruit, save a jar or two. You never know. It could be your next gift.
- A book on composting… Anyone who is into growing their own food and flowers will love it. You can even throw in a mini composter for the small, first-time gardener. Although the practice is an old one, composting has become a new rage. Now, all sorts of small and cute composting bins exist for the chic gardener.
- An organic gardening gift set… This can be a small gift or a really big one. It’s up to you. It can include items like basic gardening tools, gardening gloves, organic seeds, organic gardening books, gift certificates to gardening stores, organic lifestyle and/or gardening magazines, biodegradable flowering pots, natural soap, hand brush, watering can, gardener basket, water bottle, or a gardening journal.
A picnic kit… This kit can include a mini cutting board, cloth napkins, durable and reusable plates, glasses and utensils, cheese knife, picnic blanket, food container, corkscrew, picnic cooler tote, a picnic hamper/basket which can also double as gift wrapping. Amazon has a great collection for sale. If you want to give a gift that keeps on giving, add in some typical picnic munchies like potato chips, fruits, bread, crackers, cheese, and dried meats.
- A rain barrel… This gift is for the water-conscious gardener. The rain barrel captures rainwater to use in the garden. These barrels come in all sorts of shapes and colors. I personally like the terracotta urn look.
- A gift certificate to an organic or green store… This is the easiest way to go. Easy to purchase, easy to mail or carry… It’s just plain easy.
- A set of organic essential oils… You can also add natural oils like sweet almond, jojoba, apricot kernel, coconut, and sunflower oil to the gift set. Essential oils and natural oils can be mixed together to create aromatic body and massage oil. This gift is perfect for people who are interested in aromatherapy, home-made beauty products and soaps, and massage therapy. While you’re at it, throw in a book on aromatherapy, massage therapy, or how to make perfumes, lotions, and soaps at home. Essential oils are fun gifts because they can be used in all sorts of ways.
- Plant a tree in someone’s honor… This is a great gift for a tree lover and a great way to impress an environmentalist. I mean seriously, who can fault someone for planting a tree??? You can even plant the tree from the comfort of your own home with websites like Trees for a Change. They will handle the planting and then send “a gift card and envelope with your personal message and an explanation of the gift” to whoever you choose.
An organic window sill garden box… These boxes are designed to fit on window sills, allowing easy access to fresh herbs when cooking and making salads or sandwiches. Interested? Then, check out Eco Express’ Organic MicroGreen Windowsill Garden. But nothing says you have to go with a box. Window sill pots come in many shapes and sizes. Have you seen the ones in a mini tin can with a ring-pull? It looks like a small soda can. The first time I saw one, I mistook it for a can of fruit juice. Imagine my surprise…
- A set of reusable, washable shopping bags… These bags are sold everywhere, even at Wal-Mart. But only a few places sell cute, individual-looking ones. One such place is Zazzle.com. Here you can find all sorts of customizable bags and totes. While you’re at it, submit a design or two to their website and earn some money. Amazon also offers cute sets in various colors. And your local thrift store always has a surprise or two buried in a corner. If you’re lucky, you’ll find at least three to make a fun, mix-match set.
- A green clean gift set… This is a great idea for someone you know very well who has expressed interest in cleaning with green products. Otherwise, this gift idea could go awry. This gift set can include organic, natural and/or eco-friendly dishwashing soap, surface cleanser, botanical disinfectants, hand soap, hand lotion, wipe cloths, sponges. You can also add a candle or box of incense sticks to add beauty.
- A fruit and cheese gift hamper… You can make this gift yourself easily. Buy or recycle from your closet a small basket or picnic hamper and fill it up with an assortment of cheeses and fruits. You can also add home-made jam or chutney, herb crackers, dry salami, chips, chocolate bars, and wine for fun. Looking for a way to add beauty and color to your home-made packaging… try using a colorful scarf to line your basket. You can also wrap a few pieces with small color-coordinated scarves or fabric.
An organic or natural traveling gift set… This gift is perfect for the person continuously on the road. It can include soaps, lotions, lip balms, bath salts, hand sanitizer, towelettes, as well as a wash cloth or loofah, first aid kit, eye mask, make-up brush set, toiletry/cosmetic bag, and ear plugs. This is great for the summer and winter holidays. Remember to shop for travel size bottles. For a sleek look, check out Body Politic’s Belmondo Organic, Natural Travel and Gift Set from Canada. It includes five Belmondo organic natural skin care products in airplane-friendly sizes complete with an organic cotton carrying case. And for $7.99, check out Ecotools’ Green, Clean, Go Travel Set on Amazon. It includes body wash, body lotion, body scrub, hand cream, and a nail brush. One percent of sales is donated to environmental organizations.
- A solar backpack… This is a great gift for people that enjoy off-the-grid adventures and outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and fishing.
- Organic compost gift tea bags … This may sound awful as a gift… Manure??? But for a small-time farmer this could be cool and interesting. Don’t believe me? Then, check out My Plant Tea. Their little tea bags filled with manure are surprisingly cute.
A yoga gift set… Got a friend who’s in love with yoga or a cousin who wants to give it a try? Well, this would be a wonderful gift idea. And the great thing about it is you have a ton of options. Your gift set can include a deck of yoga cards, yoga mat, yoga mat carrier, yoga dvd, yoga book, yoga and/or meditation music, yoga magazine, yoga sandals, yoga blanket, meditation beads, candles for meditation and relaxation, incense sticks, no slip yoga socks, herbal caffeine-free teas, yoga mat wash, stainless steel water bottle, gift certificate to a local yoga school, hypoallergenic microfiber or yoga towel, yoga tote, or yoga mat bag. If you know the recipient well, you can also add yoga clothing, scarves, and hats. Gaiam, Share Yoga, Khataland are three websites that offer yoga gift sets.
- A soy candle gift set… If you’ve researched candles recently, then you probably know there’s a lot of literature on the toxins mainstream candles containing paraffin produce. I don’t want to go into details here. So, I’ll just say that according to reports, soy candles are natural and non-toxic. They also burn longer and cleaner, producing less black soot. Their only problem is their higher cost. So, they are always a lovely and much appreciated gift to give.
- Recycled glass wind chimes… These are beautiful and melodic gifts to give. Just make sure the recipient likes wind chime music because they can be a noisy treat. Great thing is if you have a kiln, bottle cutter, fishing wire, calcium carbonate, and some recycled glass bottles laying around, you can make the gift yourself. Check out Mother Earth News for instructions.
A tea gift set… I got this idea from a gift my aunt received from her employer during the winter holidays. I thought it was the cutest thing. All you need is a medium-sized container (a box, basket, tote, gift bag) and an assortment of teas (in boxes or bags). You can buy the teas from a store or use tea herbs growing in your backyard. If you want to go grander, you can add elevator music and typical western tea-party fare, such as scones, cucumber sandwiches, biscuits, Madeleine cookies, clotted cream, and fruit preserves. You can also give a book on Afternoon Tea. If the Afternoon Tea party theme doesn’t fit the giftee, don’t forget you can also go eastern with a Japanese tea ceremony gift set, a chai starter kit, or a Moroccan tea set. Check out Mighty Leaf for a Moroccan Tea set that includes loose Marrakesh mint green tea, Moroccan tea glasses, and a glass teapot. There’s seriously a lot of options in this category. Remember when gifting tea, it is wise to learn what type of teas the recipient drinks. For example, I rarely drink caffeinated teas for health reasons. Two companies with superbe tasting caffeine-free teas are Yogi and Teeccino (caffeine-free tea that tastes like coffee).
- A quilted hammock… I’ve always wanted a hammock. So, I’m adding it to the list solely for that reason. Hahaha!!!
Well, there’s my list. I hope it gave you at least one great idea for your next gift purchase. Happy gifting!!!
*Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the stores listed above. I did not receive payment from any store in relation to this article. I do not recommend any of the products listed above except for Grandma Joan’s Choke Cherry Jelly, Teeccino, and Yogi teas. All products names and images were provided solely for ideas and inspiration. And lastly, I am not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error or failure to perform.