Daniel Flahiff

GREEN GIFT GUIDE: Handmade Christmas Gifts

by , 12/18/08

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The handmade movement is taking the country by storm. Make this holiday memorable by choosing to give something one-of-a-kind, made with skill and craftsmanship not found at the mall. And just think of the sustainable benefits: reduced carbon footprint, recycled/recyclable materials and the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’re helping sustain local artisans. Strike a blow for sustainability and give handmade this season!


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HANDMADE GRANDMA’S KITCHEN SOAP – $17.50

You can’t go wrong buying for anyone to get nice, fragrant, hand-made soaps. Who doesn’t need soap? This yummy soap collection will take you back to a time when you sat at Grandma’s kitchen table while she baked the day away. $17.50 gets you a set of four home-made vegetable based glycerin soap bars: 1 Fresh Baked Bread soap, 1 Cinnamon Clove soap, 1 Angel Food Cake soap, and 1 Gingerbread soap.

$17.50 from Grandma’s Kitchen

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REHABILITATED DISHWARE – $34-$59

Get your holiday dinner converstation started with a set of these terrific, one-of-a-kind plates from Sarah Cihat. Sarah has been scouring thrift stores and Goodwills to find just the right plates and platters to rescue. Sarah’s work has been featured widely, from Elle to Nylon, so act quickly before they’re gone.

$34 – $59 from Sarah Cihat

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PLAYSTATION ORGANIC TEES – $20

Have a little one begging for a video game this year but not feeling so good about getting them one? Try giving one of these instead. It may not be exactly what they wanted, but when your child brings this home filthy from a day of romping in the great outdoors, you’ll know you did the right thing. Hand screen printed on American Apparel Sustainable Edition 100% organic fine jersey cotton shirts.

$20 from Wire and Twine

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RECYCLED CARDBOARD SHELTERS – $27.95 – $37.95

Calling all aspiring Bucky Fullers! Why bother with an expensive gift at all – skip straight to the good part, the cardboard box! Paperpod creations like the Aeroplane and Original Paperpod take the idea and run with it. Made from recycled/recyclable cardboard, just pop it together and let the little ones do the rest.

$27.95 – $37.95 from Paperpod

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CROCHETED BEAR EAR HAT – $68

Is there anything cuter than this crocheted bear ear hat? We think not. Suitable for babies, toddlers, and really anyone who wants to make like a bear and cozy up on a chilly day, these 100% organic cotton hats are crocheted by Amy Mohlenhoff, and can be made to order in whichever size you desire.

$68 from the Inhabitatshop

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MAP PAINTINGS FROM RACHEL AUSTIN – $55

Think you can’t afford a great, original painting? Think original artwork can’t be green? Drop by Rachel Austin’s online gallery and have an awakening. Austin’s map paintings recycle old maps and take their names from a location found on each unique composition. Fine art has never been so fine.

$55 and up from Rachel Austin

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HANDMADE TEDDYS – $75

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a lovable teddy bear for a toddler [or grown-up for that matter]. Get your snuggle on with one of these handmade teddys from Australian designer Jessica Sutton. All these one-of-a-kind sweeties were once well-loved t-shirts, coats or pants now fully restored and ready for love.

$75 from Fred Flare

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TRANSGLASS RECYCLED WINE BOTTLE VASES – $44 to $60

Give the gift of a sustainable future with these elegant glass vases made from recycled wine bottles. Designed by Emma Woffenden & Tord Boontje, each vase is handcrafted to exacting standards—produced in a fair-trade manner, by women in women’s co-ops in Guatemala. These beautiful vases are as green as they can be: produced using recycled materials, eco-friendly production methods, and promoting manufacturing processes that are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.

$44 to $60 from the Inhabitat Shop

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BLOQ CLOCK – $49

Deck the walls this year with one of these great handmade clocks from UK designer Paul Johnson. Paul’s clean lines and and solid shapes produce precisely detailed, minimalist and elegant forms. And they look cool too.

$49 from Paul Johnson

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ECOIST BARCODE BAG

This durable, one-of-a-kind bag merges design with social and environmental consciousness. Constructed of recycled candy wrappers, this bag reflects eco and social consciousness, keeping plastic wrappers out of landfills and manufactured following fair trade regulations. The bag easily stores away small objects, like a cell phone or glasses, and comes with a detachable carry strap, which is sure to make it a handy pouch for the eco chic crowd.

$28 from the Inhabitat Shop

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ELGIN MOVEMENT CUFFLINKS – $175

Steampunk fashion never seems to go out of style and this line of designer watch movement cufflinks should satisfy even your most descerning punk. Made from rescued Elgin movements, these feature a unique stripe pattern that is unique to Elgin timepieces and have a “gleam that will draw attention from across the room.”

$175 from Watch-Cufflinks

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GOODSTOCK HEIRLOOM BOOKS – $175

Every year we rack up another few hundred photos of loved ones and then… burn a CD or stash them in a drawer? This year do something about it by surprising someone with a one-of-a-kind book from the artisans at Good Stock. Have one custom made or use a template to save time and money. These are archival, hand-bound works of art.

$175 and up from Good Stock

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LIGHT BLOCK – $359

An Inhabitat favorite, Brave Space Design’s Light Block looks great in any environment. Brighten someone’s day with this elegant fixture. Made of Ecoresin, the Light Block is like a modern magic lantern, casting shadows on the walls to produce “a modern wilderness.”

$350 from Brave Space Design

CHECK OUT OUR 2008 GREEN GIFT GUIDE FOR MORE GREAT IDEAS >

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