An Earth-Friendly Gift Guide for the Giving Season.

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Picture it: the shower is running, and the mirror fogs up fast.

The sounds from the lone occupant go from breathy to throaty to a resounding scream. But it’s not a sexy scene, and it’s not a shower-curtain-ripped-away horror movie clip. Instead, it’s the sound of a woman (me) getting cruelty-free shampoo directly in her eyes.

I don’t care how vegan and earth-friendly a product is, when it gets into your eyes it hurts like a motherf*cker, and the blue streak one curses is entirely appropriate under the circumstances. Once I managed to stop rubbing more shampoo directly into my eye socket, I was able to rinse it out and return to a place of relative calm.

But, it got me thinking.

I’ve recently made more of an effort to be an eco-conscious consumer. One love of mine is subscription boxes. So, I found a beauty box that advertised being vegan, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free. Since subscribing to the box, I’ve gotten to try a variety of products that I might not have had the opportunity to try before.

So, there I am in the shower, surrounded by vegan shampoo, cruelty-free facial cleanser, and a vegan body wash. And it occurred to me that every single one of them seems to have mint components. No offense, all ethical beauty companies ever, but I don’t need my lady parts to smell like a York Peppermint Patty. Not that it’s unpleasant exactly, but I come out of the shower smelling like Junior Mints from my head to my toe, thanks to an overwhelming use of peppermint and eucalyptus in my earth-friendly products. This is great for a night of Netflix and chill, and maybe even good for times when I have sinus congestion or my allergies are working overtime. But for a normal night? Any other scent would be preferable. Sweet orange, perhaps?

So, while I am not the biggest fan of the scent of some of the products I’ve tried, and while my shampoo experience was as traumatic as if I had put lab chemicals directly into my eye, I’m still a big fan of all things eco-friendly. I’m even aware that many companies offer a much-wider fragrance array than mint.

As we approach the holidays, I’ve considered how to put this eco-consciousness to good use, and I came up with this short list of great earth-friendly gift ideas, and even wrapping paper and cards that stick with the eco-friendly theme.

>> A subscription box is always an awesome gift. For beauty enthusiasts, go with Petit Vour. I do not get paid for this endorsement, nor is my subscription free, but I love it all the same. This is a great and affordable way to try out vegan and cruelty-free products.

>> The Hello Subscription site has a list of all the eco-friendly subscription boxes available. There are boxes for moms (ecocentricmom is a favorite of mine), to gifts for pets, gifts for children, and even home decor and cleaning products.

>> Beauty lovers might also appreciate a gift set or beauty product from 100 Percent Pure. I’m told there’s a natural mascara that smells just like chocolate. They really had me at chocolate.

>> Any of the eco-friendly gifts in the Elephant Journal Market. From clothes to jewelry, yoga and meditation supplies, the market has you covered!

>> Upcycling older items, or buying gently used and “like new” items are other ways of providing an eco-friendly gift with the added benefit of affordability, although upcycling may require a little crafting know-how.

>> Gifting an experience can be a great way to reduce waste. Instead of giving a child yet another toy, a gift certificate or season pass to an entertainment location might just be what is needed to give a mindful experience rather than a toy that may or may not see any playtime.

>> Purchasing an eco-friendly candle for a gift is another great way to put the planet first while purchasing a thoughtful gift. This one makes a great host/hostess gift at the holidays.

>> Another great eco-friendly option for gift-giving is to gift a book as a card. Write an inscription in the cover, and the book can be a part of the gift as well as the card.

>> You could also make a card out of old magazines and recycled paper.

>> Gift wrap can be a part of the gift too, if one uses scarves, socks, or other items as creative wrapping paper. Other ideas include using brown paper that can be recycled as gift wrap or purchasing recycled wrapping paper.

>> Homemade bows can be made from strips of magazines. See Pinterest for this tutorial so simple that even I was able to successfully do it!

Being conscious of our impact on the environment as consumers is important, and we can make sure that the gifts we give reflect our care and not just the products that we buy for our own exclusive use.

So, when we get into the gift-giving season, we can try to think a little more about all things sustainable, vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly. Maybe it’s just my eternal optimism, but I keep thinking that if we all do the things that we can do, we really can save the world together.

Of course, that eternal optimism also kept me thinking that if I just swiped my soapy hand across my eyes one more time, I’d get the shampoo out. So what do I know?

~

Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Bindarri/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen

 

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The Elephant Ecosystem

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Crystal Jackson

Crystal Jackson is a former family therapist who's evolved into a spinner of stories and dreamer of dreams. When she's not single-handedly chasing around 2 wild and wonderful children, she's busy writing and finding ways to transform struggle into beauty. When she's not chasing children or writing, you can find her working part-time for a consulting firm, practicing yoga, finding balance as an Empath, meditating, running, reading, advocating feminism, plotting and planning adventures and deeply enjoying her life. Follow Crystal on Facebook.

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