Green Gifts for All the Lovable Weirdoes in Your Life

You know those lists of gifts everyone has now? They’re killing me. So I had to make my own because my friends and family are a motley bunch, and the usual stuff (even the usual green stuff) isn’t going to cut it. Plus, they have high expectations because I am an Eco Chick! Sheesh! Well here goes what I’m going to give some of my favorite folks (yes, all of these are actual people in my life!) this year:
For The Discerning Partyer

Who doesn’t love vodka? There are some great ones out there that are organic and/or sustainable. Check out my reviews of 360 vodka and Reyka, which are both good bets. I’ve also enjoyed Square One at more than a couple of green events I’ve attended in the last year. It’s delicious and made from 100% organic rye. If your local liquor store doesn’t carry it, ask them to stock it, or check here.

Square One

For the Obsessive-Compulsive Worried Mom’s Kids

Oompa toys are classy and so very adorable so they will fit in with “grown-up” decor from modern to antique. Blocks and playsets are made from wood, not plastic, a healthier, more eco-friendly (and less tacky) choice. Besides the wooden toys, there are super-mod sustainable easels and organic stuffed animals. So cute I kinda want some of these playthings!


For the Essentialist Dad

My Dad’s been a minimalist for years, eschewing anything that isn’t utilitarian; you know, he’s one of those people who’s living room looks a bit like an art gallery with barely a chotchke in sight. He’s also a surfer and loves the ocean as much as I love the mountains, so this year I’m going to give him a Starfish from Oceana, which is an organization that works to protect marine ecosystems. Of course I’m not buying a real starfish, but a symbolic one, which comes with a cute cookie cutter in the shape of a starfish (there are 15 other animals you can buy, each with it’s own cutter). A sugar cookie recipe is included from celebrity chef Warren Brown of eco-friendly bakery CakeLove in DC.


For the Ex Who’s Still a Good Friend

A laptop case from Act2Greensmart is a great gift for someone that deserves a something they can really use. This one is the only one I’ve found that’s 100% recycled as its made from recycled plastic bottles.


For the Vegan Chef

They’ll love you forever if you show up with some vegan marshmellow (technically ricemellow) or hot chocolate mix, both of which are hard-to-find items when you’re totally a totally animal-free eater.


For the Back-to-the-Lander

The Self-Sufficiency Handbook is a comprehensive, illustrated, and detailed new book that gets into the nitty gritty details of how to live an off-the-grid lifestyle. Topics include water collection and storage, soil care, sections on geothermal, wind and solar power, toilet systems, stoves, chicken- and beekeeping and more. Fun reading even if your idea of getting back to nature is sipping a soy latte at the corner cafe al fresco.

Self-sufficiency handbook

For the Design Whore

The Green Glass Company makes this gorgeous, gorgeous glassware, all by recycling wine bottles!

With the machinery Bobby and Kobus custom engineered and built (only one of its kind in the world), The Green Glass Company added a ‘twist’ to its original goblet design. Producing two separate drinking glasses from one bottle without any waste glass was the challenge. The result was separating the bottle into two pieces, creating a tumbler from the bottom portion of the bottle and a goblet from the top portion of the bottle.

Green Glass Co. Cobalt-Collection

For the Green Tech-head

The Hymini is just so damn cool. This little device (it’s about the size of my hand) converts either solar power or wind power into stored charge that you can then connect to your iPod or cell phone for instant energy. Use the wind-converter while you’re riding your bike, on a boat, or just out the window on a breezy day. Use the little solar panel when it’s….sunny! Either way, in about an hour you’ll get enough for two hours of playback on a device. The energy can be stored for about two weeks, so you can collect free energy now and use it whenever. You can also stick it into the wall to grab a charge from conventional power sources. The Hymini has a cool little LED light and it’s cute too!


For the Spa Junkie

There’s a lot of great eco-friendly bath stuff out there. I should know as it’s one of my jobs to keep up on this stuff. But when you’re talking luxury, and you also want some seriously sustainable suds, Maile Kauai makes quite the impressive combo. Most ingredients are organic, and essential oils are wild harvested (meaning they are culled from uncultivated lands without overharvesting). In a handmade box you’ll get (to give) a whole home-spa set including a soy candle, Body Lather, Mango Butter Bun and Body Cream. Choose your Hawaiian-inspired aromatherapy with options of Pikake, Plumeria, Gardenia or Coconut Vanilla.


Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.