Beautiful Things: Eco Chick’s Holiday Green Gift Guide, 2009

I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that buying stuff doesn’t have to be bad. Should we buy less? Yes. Should we carefully consider what we buy, where it comes from, and who makes it? Definitely, for sure, and yeah! BUT the thing that’s missing in all the anti-consumer screeds (and I’ve written a few) is the fact that many people on this planet make a living by selling something to someone else. It’s how they feed their families and pay their bills.

So my aim in buying new products (when I need to) is to make sure that whatever I’m purchasing is made responsibly and is made by people who benefit from it’s production. And that goes doubly for gifts because when I hand that hand-wrapped prezzie over, I want to be able to tell a story about what it’s made from, who made it, and where I got it. This is an easy way to influence the receiver of the gift in responsible consumerism (without the lecture).

This year’s gift selections from myself (Starre Vartan), Alicia Lubowski-Jahn and Stephanie Rogers all uphold the idea that stuff can be beautiful, stuff can be unique, stuff can be useful.

Starre’s Picks:


Sustainable Designer Jewelry: Kyler by Joy O

If my style aesthetic could be made into a pair of earrings, these would be them. Never a fan of diamonds or other gems that have been ripped from the Earth’s belly, I prefer graphic pieces that show artistry and restraint, while at the same time exuding energy. These intaglio pendants are made from recycled steel coated in black zinc and are inspired by the moth’s wing.

As the designer writes, “Moths are a positive entity of truth and curiosity, always seeking the brightest light.” Be sure to check out all the other glorious designs made from recycled metals; necklaces, bracelets and cuffs. The twine collar necklace is another standout.


The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone

Along with her great blog, The Kind Life, actress, activist, vegan and now author Alicia Silverstone shares her info and recipes in her new book, The Kind Diet. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy the plethora of Alicia-designed dishes (seriously, this actress REALLY cooks!); this book would actually be a fab gift for someone who does still eat meat or other animal products as it could help them see the wonderful variety that’s available from veggie meals.

MUCH more after the jump!

Stella McCartney Organic zip-up cocoon sweater at barneyscom

Stella McCartney Cocoon Sweater

I’m a long-time fan of Ms. McCartney’s gorgeous designs, and the fact that most of her collection is organic and sustainable makes them positively lust-worthy. This cocoon sweater is made from organic wool and alpaca, and would be absolutely perfect with my American Apparel leggings and of-the-moment over the knee boots. Available at Barneys NY.


Elemental Threads’ Design Your Own Bag

Emily Worden is the force behind Elemental Threads, and we at Eco Chick are huge fans (read more about EThreads here) for the simple fact that you get to design your own bag! You choose the interior fabric, zipper color, and exterior fabric (organic cotton and bamboo are available). There are all different sizes of bags from pouches to purses, some with clips, some with straps, so you can really find the perfect gift (and brag that you designed it!).

Obvs a great gift and there’s also the Repurposed collection, wherein you can send Emily a fave t-shirt or other sentimental piece of clothing and she will make it into a bag! Emily donates part of her profits to social and environmental groups. And if you don’t feel up to designing a bag, she’s got some gorgeous one-offs and limited editions she’s put together herself (pictured above) that are quite classy and cool.

Beautiful Red Hair

If a woman in your life is using toxic, chemically-based shampoos, conditioners or colors on their hair, help them convert to a more natural (and healthy) way of tressing up with the gift of natural shampoos and conditioners from John Masters Organics; they smell absolutely amazing and do the job too (the . (Shine On hair pomade is amazing!)

Give the gift of toxin-free color via a gift certificate- what better way to encourage a switch? In New York City, Jane Webb’s salon, Grace Heaven, offers gorgeous natural color (and superdelicious and crazy natural products too). In Los Angeles, try Shades Salon. I’ve been mightily impressed with the color I’ve gotten at both these awesome salons.

Alicia’s Picks:

KOR ONE Special Edition_Large

KOR Reusable and Recyclable Water Bottle

KOR recently launched a special edition line featuring artistic designs that remind us that water is the source of all life. A portion of the sales of the special edition bottles support the 4 causes of their Thirst for Giving campaign—container recycling, ocean and watershed protection, and the global water crisis. In addition to their vibrant hues, each bottle delivers a bright greeting through stones, 4 tokens with a personalized message tucked inside the bottle cap.


Jane Iredale ChocohoLICKs Lip Gloss

This treat comes recommended by Jessa Blades, a natural makeup artist and green-living expert, who teaches women how to make sustainable choices for their health and beauty routines. The 4-piece Truffle, Chocolate Orange, Strawberry Cream, and Caramel shades and flavors make for a sumptuous holiday indulgence that will leave a sweet taste on your lips without OD’ing on sugar! All of Jessa’s festive picks are sooooo amazing that I can’t help but mention Pangea and Alaffia gift sets as well as the Moroccan Argan oil products of Kahina Giving Beauty as natural beauty holiday gift semi-finalists 1, 2, and 3 (in absolutely no particular order)!


Jess Brown Dolls wearing Erica Tanov

Artist Jess Brown’s rag dolls are hand-crafted with scrap materials from designer Erica Tanov. Like the boudoir and handmade dolls of yesterday, each one of a kind doll is a treasured keepsake. Vintage, hand-loomed knits, and remnant fabrics are also used in other designs sold in Erica Tanov’s boutiques, including the cheerful birdhouses made by artist Tamar Mogendorff.


Apple’s iPhone Gift Card

All good gifts come in small packages. Not all of us have an iPhone, but most certainly we all know someone who does. Hook them up with a gift credit and a holiday card with a list of these rocking ‘green’ apps from Apple’s App Store: Gorgeously Green Survival Guide, Greenopia, Green Calculator, Get Green, EcoFinder, ShopGreen, Label Reading Guide, Go Organic!, GreenSpot, Seafood Guide, iLocavore, and What’s Fresh.


29 Gifts Book

This book makes the eco gift list based on its core message that what makes us abundant resides within ourselves and not through the acquisition of material things. The book offers the heartfelt message that each person is a gift. I can’t think of a better present than to offer someone a recognition of their value and capacity to give.

Stephanie’s Picks:


Spirit Beauty Lounge Chocolate Lover’s Gift Set

Who doesn’t love chocolate – or luxurious, non-toxic bath, beauty and extremely practical gifts? This set by Spirit Beauty Lounge is all of the above, featuring sugar scrub, body lotion and lip balm in your choice of sinfully delicious chocolately scents like Candy Cane and White Chocolate Peppermint. It comes in a sweet and simple recycled paper box tied with a ribbon.


Oxfam America Unwrapped Charitable Gifts

Some people are just impossible to shop for. Perhaps they’ve got very particular taste, or you just don’t know them well enough to choose a gift. That’s where Oxfam America Unwrapped comes in. It’s charitable giving at its most fun: you pick a particular gift, like a school desk and chair for a child or a goat for a farmer, and it goes directly to someone in need. Then, you receive a free card with an image of the gift you chose, which you can personalize online and have sent to your friend or loved one.


Eco-Adorable Handmade Stationery Gift Set

It’s much easier to keep in touch when you’re motivated by a super-cute stationery set. This one at Delight.com, by Susy Jack, one demi notebook, 8 Statement Cards (2 of each: Thank You, Noteworthy, Delighted, Lovely), one “To Do” Magnet, set of 7 Days of the Week wood clips, and two pencils – and all paper items are 100% recycled.


Cookbook: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

For anyone who has ever thought about going vegetarian, or just wants to incorporate more healthy meat-free meals into their diet, this book is invaluable. With over 2,000 recipes, it’s practically impossible to get bored; it would take years to try them all! These recipes will make even avid meat eaters forget that they’re eating vegetarian food.


Stainless Steel ‘Tiffin’ Food Carrier Set

People who are always on the go tend to either eat out a lot or tote their lunch along, both of which can add up to a whole lot of disposable tableware and containers. The ‘Tiffin’ food carrier set at Uncommon Goods makes it easy to carry meals in sustainable style, with a cute little stainless steel container system, bamboo utensils and a convenient carrying bag.