Ok everyone, we've got a big shopping weekend coming up. Of course you're going to shop green, which means online. Back away from your cars, stay away from the malls, and save some wear and tear on our planet and yourselves.
Herewith a short-list of suggestions:
I read books on my iPad, which saves a lot of trees, but if your loved ones demand actual paper page turning, consider BookSwim.com, a hardcover/paperback book rental service. It mails books "Netflix-style" with no due dates, no late fees, and unlimited rentals per month. Most shoppers choose gift memberships that are good for 2 to 6 months (ranging from $40 to $120) on average, but can start at under $10. Many categories, good selection.
Organic Bouquet is a terrific year-round resource for sending eco-friendly flowers and green gifts. All of its products have been certified by third-party agencies, such as USDA, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance. I just sent an evening clutch made from recycled seat belt webbing in seasonally appropriate bright red. Also, a gift box of organic fruits, wines and chocolates. Shhhh, don't tell.
I often turn to Branch, an online store that sells a huge variety of products made in the most environmentally responsible way. If you can't find a green gift here it probably doesn't exist. How about a pillow made from organic cotton personalized to feature your own family? Or Wasara, an incredibly stylish line of single-use, biodegradable and compostable tableware pieces.
Can't find it at Branch? Try Viva Terra. My favorite is the Living Ecosphere, a self-sustaining ecosystem--plants, shrimp, algae and micro-organisms living within a glass sphere on your window sill. Also from Viva Terra, a wide selection of eco-friendly living wreaths that will thrive long after the holiday lights have dimmed.
Consider wrapping your gifts with reusable gifts bags, cloths, recycled paper and other sustainably produced options. Smock Paper uses bamboo fiber and citrus-based inks on its gorgeous artisan wraps. The Japanese Furoshiki, available at Wrap Natural is an elegant wrapping cloth that can be a gift unto itself. Once received, Furoshiki's are highly reusable and multi-purposed, often used as a shopping bag, wall hang, or even as a scarf.
Chewing the Cud (really, that's their name - read why on their website) sells beautiful hand-painted fabric wraps that will make great scarves once off the package.
Happy Green Shopping! Ho Ho Ho!