We’re all feeling the pinch of the economic downturn these days, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy a little green holiday shopping without spending too much green. Despite what some people think, ‘Eco’ can still be ECOnomical. For many of us here at Inhabitat, this is our first holiday season in a recession and boy do we love a challenge. If you liked last year’s $50 and Under Gift Guide, you’ll be delighted to see we’ve lowered the ante. At less than $20, these gifts are designed for maximum usability and minimal impact on both the environment and your wallet.
Nothing feels cozier in the chill of winter than burning candles, and soy candles are much better for the environmental, indoor air quality (and your lungs) than traditional paraffin wax candles. ‘Scent of a Scandal’ is a cheeky brand of green, clean, soy candles with delicious aromas and snicker-inducing names like ‘Me So Thorny’, ‘Santa’s Pole’, ‘Hanukkah Bush’ and ‘Challahback Girl’. Amuse someone you love this holiday season with a naughty soy candle. $14.95 from Kaight
These colorful bamboo bowls are hand-coiled, shaped, and given a food-safe waterproof finish. Produced in Vietnam by manufacturers committed to environmental protection and fair labor laws, the bowls are a perfect housewarming gift for holiday parties. $12-$15 from the Inhabitat Shop
Haute Surface Cork Tiles interlock from all sides giving your favorite tetris player a chance to design the tabletop. The twelve tan and brown tiles are made from renewable, reconstituted Portuguese Cork.
An upcycled laptop sweater from Post Family will show off your vintage style with just a hint of kitsch. Laptops from 13″ to 17″ will fit snuggly inside any of these ‘one size fits all’ sweaters . And for the sporty computer, try a laptop track jacket, also from Post Family.
Night Owl Paper Goods uses sustainably harvested birch and 100% post-consumer recycled pages in their jotters and $18 journals. Looking to give back too? Ten percent of sales from their letter-pressed Rosette Journals adorned with ribbon and buttons go towards the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a watershed restoration project in their native Alabama, or Owlabama as they like to call it.
Keep away with the dry skin this cold season with luxurious & deliciously scented Kathleen Lewis body lotion. Kathleen Lewis lotions are thick, rich, handmade body moisturizers that are formulated with Aloe Gel, Sweet Almond, Grapeseed, and Coconut Oils, Beeswax, Vitamin E, Lanolin, and Grapefruit Seed Extract to soothe and moisturize skin – and they smell great. $22 from the Inhabitat Shop
From the fabulously sustainable Path to Freedom House in Pasadena, California an Olla Bottle is an ancient watering technique where water seeps through the buried clay pot and directly into a plant’s roots. It eliminates surface evaporation, collects rainwater and can keep your garden blooming while on vacation.
Cold-pressed and free of animal fat, Dhara Holistics soaps, formerly known as Luscious Naturals are handmade, organic and PETA certified cruelty-free. Snatch up a single bar of Charcoal Peppermint or a trio set of their best-sellers.
Ditch the expensive leather or toxic pvc wallet for an organic cotton and bamboo carrier from Cocoa and Milkweed made from vintage or leftover fabrics. They’ll also work wonderfully for stashing business or flash cards.
Bubbo 2009 Calendars are 100% recycled, from the FSC-certified paper and cover, down to the rope it hangs on. A minimalistic and elegant design to fit any interior, snag one up before these limited edition calendars sell out. $9 from Bubbo
Bamboo picnic flatware sets are excellent alternatives to the standard plastic spork and napkin set and pack up nice a neat. Throw it in a stocking or a lunch bag. The fork and spoon are bamboo and the napkin in a bamboo/cotton blend.
Kootsac produce bags are made from un-coated ripstop nylon and come in a variety of colors and sizes. By now everyone’s got reusable grocery totes, but its time we start reusing produce and bulk food bags as well. These weigh out the same as the classic plastic bags so they won’t cost you anymore either. Available individually or in sets.
Earlier this year National Geographic created a magazine out of their popular column, Green Guide, which explores options for consumer to make a positive change for their planet. Printed on FSC-certified paper, or available in digital format for a few bucks cheaper, the Green Guide currently comes out 4 times a year.
Give the gift of oxygen with a flower in a can, everything is included in this handy set, just pop open and water. And when the flowers have reached the end, the can can easily be recycled. Available in 4 different colors and flowers.
Peak Organic Brewing Company uses only toxin-free and pesticide-free hops and barley and pure Vermont water in their beers. A company favorite, the Pale Ale, is better for the drinker and the environment. Plus, drinkable gifts are often shared!
Hemp: an amazingly versatile, sturdy, and sustainable fiber is what makes up these tea towels from fresh new design duo Simon Sara. Hand drawn and screen printed ‘flying geese’ adorn the towels in available in rust, grape or raspberry.