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Last minute holiday shopping: A green, ethical, and fun guide

The Green Mama gives a few tips for shopping green, ethical, and last-minute

No worries, I am not one to lecture about leaving shopping to the last minute. I am pretty sure it is the only shopping my family ever does. It seems to be made worse by my family’s disdain of typical consumerism. Yet, to hand make all the gifts I so desperately want to bestow on the teachers, friends, family, and many other loved ones I know, I would have needed to start months ago. And, I didn’t. This has been made worse by the fact that I now live so remotely that we the only place to shop are at the two little seasonal markets and the bookstore.

So, how do you hang on to all your ethics and shop green last-minute? Here are a few websites, stores, or tricks I’ve used this year or in the past.

1. I love little, well-curated, beautiful stores and craft fairs. You still have time to hit the smaller craft fairs (the big ones are probably over) but your farmer’s market may still come through with a few local vendors selling awesome hand-made jewelry, artisan foods, and truly natural skincare. If you have no local farmer’s market in the winter then you may be able to find a small store selling similar goods. Small eco baby boutiques abound in most cities now as do small green-minded houseware stores. Or, google the name of your town and Waldorf School as Waldorf Schools almost always have little stores selling amazing hand-crafted goods, including handmade baby dolls that will delight.

I’m proud to mention that the Green Mama (virtual) Store has greatly expanded to offer some wonderful, green, and healthy options for everybody or anybody in your life.

If you have a new parent in your life, don’t forget the Green Mama Baby Kits. Great for any baby or a new or expectant mother (and includes the Green Mama book). Read more here or buy now.

Loving Green baby kit

2. Books! People love books. Kids love books. Grown-ups love books. You don’t even have to read to love books. They can be new or reused, audio or print: I’ve been known to take favourites right off my bookshelf to pass on. It’s the idea that someone would think enough about you to pick something personalized.  If you don’t have any idea what kind of book to buy: I recommend checking out the hyper-local sections. It’s always fun to get a book about your area whether you are a child or adult.

And, um, may I say that there are now two Green Mama Books (Green Mama-to-Be covers fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum) and (Green Mama covers  the first ten years of parenting). They include interviews with authors of some of my favourite books such as the authors of Cure Your Child with FoodVirtual Child, Eat Naked cookbook, and is recommended by greats like the Ecoholic, David Suzuki Foundation, and green guru Paul Hawken.  Get them instantly as an ebook or audiobook.

Or, consider a magazine subscription to my favourite parenting magazine: EcoParent (disclaimer: I write for them, but I also read it cover to cover every time. It’s great!)

3. Stories. I can never say enough about how much I love Sparkle Stories. These creative and gentle audio stories for children create an imaginative space for children to explore. I have given these numerous times as last minute gifts because they are awesome and the link to download the ap and give access to thousands of stories appear INSTANTLY in the recipients email folder. Instant. So, if its Solstice, Christmas Day, or the day of the birthday party, no fears, it’s not too late.

4. Donations. I know you are about to skim right over this suggestion. Don’t! Donations can be sweeter than you think. My nephews just called me (with only minimal bribing) to thank me profusely for the donations in their names  Most places make donating fun these days. I gave my nephews donations to save animals and they got plaques AND stuffies commemorating the animals adopted in their names from World Wildlife Fund and the Wilderness Committee. We donate to Project Somos where you can support an orphaned family in Guatemala and Escuela Caracol which provides a Waldorf education to Mayan children. Greenpeace, Seva, David Suzuki Foundation, and Heifer International are all amazing charities we have donated to in the past and they all provide donation “gift” packages so that the recipient might get a beautiful card describing what their donation will support or an animal named after them or some other meaningful token. Pick the cause: socially-responsible reporting, breastfeeding support, access to safe midwifery, a cleaner environment, supporting the world’s children… it’s fun to imagine what is important to the person you love and provide them a gift that keeps on feeling good long after it’s opened. The added advantage is that almost all of these places will get your recipient something fast.

5. Meaningful moments. It is never too late to give the gift of a meaningful moment. That could be buying and gift wrapping tickets to the ballet or it could be a “coupon” that you give your husband/wife/child/friend promising something meaningful. I have gifted coupons for massages, movie dates, picnics in the park, and the promise to hand-knit a scarf. They are not only perfect for the procrastinator but they save on wrapping, waste, and carbon and are great fun! [A tip to making these more meaningful is to pre-schedule the gift so that the person doesn’t have to hunt you down, this is particularly good when gifting a spouse!]

By Manda Aufochs Gillespie, The Green Mama. Get really helpful and fun tidbits delivered to your mailbox door, sign up for my weekly newsletter (I’ll love you for it!)


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