I have to admit, one good thing that’s come out of this recession is the return to a sense of responsibility and awareness. And I’m not just talking fiscally, though I am glad conspicuous and excessive consumption is finally considered not just passe but in poor taste. (Good riddance Paris Hilton-itis!) The down economy has really driven home, for me anyway, the need to conserve the environment, for healthy spending (and saving) habits, and to give back to the community, whether local or global.
It’s in that spirit that I’ll be doing a lot of my gifting this year with the environment and the less fortunate in mind. These gift ideas help you do that … and also drop some major hints to recipient friends and family who may not have quite gotten the message yet.
Reusable totes are a dime a dozen these days, but now that grocery stores are actually giving you credit for using them, there’s no better time to stock up. I love Emily Sugihara’s Baggu ripstop nylon totes. The hip, aerodynamic shape comes in every imaginable color, in a whole slew of sizes, and they start at just $3.
Tous H2O “eco-chic” perfume
Leave it to a jewelry brand to create a perfume bottle so pretty and jewel-like. I’d get Spanish jewelry brand Tous’ newest fragrance, Tous H2O, just to display on my vanity.
But its beauty doesn’t just stop there. Inspired by the belief that beauty and sustainability go hand in hand, Tous created a perfume — from its 25% recycled glass bottle to its green packaging and handling — that contributes to a “more beautiful universe.” And with a portion of the proceeds going to Intermon Oxfam, an organization dedicated to providing clean drinking water to the world’s poorest, I’ll be gifting this gorgeous glass droplet, with its notes of organic lemon, lavender, mandarin, cedar and white amber. Mmm.
Hands Up Not Handouts
I love it when style and substance collide. And Hands Up Not Handouts (HUNHO, for short) offers “super cool stuff from the women of the world” — it’s their tagline, after all.
Check out their Agaseke and Gahaya Links sweetgrass handmade earrings, made by traditional basket-weaving cooperatives in Rwanda. All proceeds go back to the local women and their communities. And trust me, you’re gonna appreciate the pop of color once spring comes around.
Rebekah Green Jewelry
Rebekah Green is not only a self-proclaimed “reverse environmentalist” (global responsibility is expected, not just commended), she creates the cutest 14K gold and gemstone earrings for kids that I want to wear.
From top: Rebekah Green 14k gold green turtle earrings, $40, 14k gold cherry stems earrings, $50, 14k blue belly spider earrings, $30, 14k gold ladybugs earrings, $40, www.RebekahGreen.com.
Each earring design is hand-cast, hand-set and hand-polished in the U.S., with 100 percent recycled 14K and 18K gold and fair trade gemstones. And for every purchase, 5 percent of the net profits goes to Global Green USA, Charity: Water and Heifer International. Sweet.
Wholearth Beauty + Bath
Eco guru Danny Seo finally came out with his own line of environmentally friendly beauty and bath products. Everything is not just organic, it’s certified by the USDA, so you can rest assured.
The latest addition to his line is the certified organic fragrance housed in a sculptural recycled glass bottle, designed to mimic smooth river rocks from the Delaware River.
Wholearth Beauty certified organic perfume spray, $65, www.WholearthBeauty.com.
Choose from No. 4, a sporty scent with notes of citrus, vanilla and patchouli, the powdery and woody No. 7 with notes of sage and sandalwood, or No. 10 with its Mediterranean citrus blend.
Take a tip from Danny and spray the fragrance on wooden ornaments for your Christmas tree for some home aromatherapy, or spray strips of gold paper and place on a warm radiator to gently scent the room before guests arrive. Or make a gift extra special by spraying the perfume on shredded office paper to fill a gift box.