Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

Feel good about the gifts you give this holiday season!

December 5, 2011

Potting Shed Creations Grow Bottle

What's a better gift than a little taste of spring in the middle of winter? These cool "Grow Bottles" are based on the idea of hydroponics—growing plants in water without any soil—and can provide your giftee with a stead supply of organic basil, chives, mint, oregano or parsley until next growing season. The herbs take root in the top half of the "grow bottle," which is actually a reclaimed wine bottle cut in half, and are fed by a wool wick that draws water and plant nutrient up from the bottom. Who wouldn't want one of these sitting on a windowsill all winter?



Back-to-the-Roots Mushroom Growing Kit

Grow gourmet mushrooms? In the middle of winter? Two young, forward-thinking green entrepreneurs have made it possible with these quirky mushroom-growing kits. Grow the 'shrooms in the cardboard box they're shipped in, which contains a growing medium of recycled coffee grinds, and just add water. Then, sit back and watch the beautiful growing process unfold. The kits produce about a half-pound of mushrooms you can use in winter soups and breakfast omelets. Back-to-the-Roots is offering a special discount for readers. Use code: Save10GiftofGiving for 10 percent off and free shipping when ordering two or more kits.


Full Circle Kitchen Stocking Stuffers

You might feel weird giving cleaning supplies as a holiday gift, but even the laziest of cleaners will love the sustainable bamboo and recycled plastic handles and organic materials that make up Full Circle's earth-friendly line of kitchen supplies. The stick 'em magnet kitchen towel is a must-have for every household—the built-in magnet (made of recycled metals) makes it easy to stick the organic cotton-bamboo towel on the fridge or oven. Definitely mother (and Mother Earth) approved!

$5 to $9;

Reusable Bags

Forget boring throwaway wrapping paper and instead tuck your smaller gifts into reusable produce bags, doubling your gift-giving efforts! ChicoBag's Produce Stand Starter Kit or Blue Lotus Goods' organic cotton bags are perfect for your farmer's-market-loving friends and family members. Mesh bags work wonders for storing apples, oranges, potatoes, and onions, while sustainable solid hemp and organic cotton do the trick for greens, grains, and nuts. Look for ChicoBag's rePETe series—they're constructed from recycled plastic bottles and come in all different designs and sizes. Blue Lotus Bags come in stylish, colorful apple, carrot, bamboo, greens, and grains prints.

$2 to $16; and

Large Hanging Platform Bird Feeder

Plop some peanuts or fruit on this easy-to-install platform feeder, and watch birds like blue jays swoop in for a taste. It's made of recycled plastic and easy to clean, and the mesh bottom helps promote air circulation, which eliminates mold build-up. The product also features a manufacturer's lifetime guarantee. Couple the feeder with a $15 Project FeederWatch membership—where you count birds visiting your feeder to help advance science—for a fun winter project.


DeWit Garden Tools

These built-to-last-a-lifetime garden tools are meticulously crafted in Holland and perfect for the seasoned gardener in your family—the one who can easily spot the difference between a cheap box-store garden trowel that will fall apart in a week and one that will handle years of punishment in the garden. If shopping for garden tools is as foreign as trying to read a book in another language, know that weeds are a challenge for all organic gardeners, so tools like hoes make great gifts. Hand hoes like Cape Cod and Dutch hoes are staples in the garden; the longer-handled Coleman Swan Neck Hoe helps gardeners with bad backs do their weeding while standing up.

$24 to $83;

Seed Savers Exchange Seeds

Organic seeds, seed gift certificates, or a membership from Seed Savers Exchange is something any sustainable gardener would appreciate. The organization specializes in preserving heirloom vegetable varieties that have been handed down from generation to generation and are valued for their exceptional taste. Grandpa Admire's lettuce? Lazy Housewife green bean? You won't find these old veggie favorites in the supermarket! Since some vegetable plants require more work than others, stick to favorites like lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, pumpkins and other squash, beets, and beans.

$1 and up;

The Bird's Choice Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

Birdfeeders aren't just for the hard-core nature crowd. Simply watching birds buzz around feeders has been proven to reduce stress and may help alleviate symptoms of ADHD. Attract all sorts of different bird species to the backyard with this economical, all-metal feeder. It features a weight-activated perch, making it a smart choice for people living in areas with a lot of squirrel traffic. Throw in a 5-pound bag of high-quality birdseed with the feeder—that will be enough for the first fill-up.


Under the Nile Organic Fruits and Veggies

Get your baby used to organic fruits and vegetables before they're even old enough to eat them! The adorable veggie crate and fruit tote are made of 100% organic cotton, making them safe for babies that often chew their toys more than play with them. The product is completely plastic-free, which is important when it comes to shopping for baby toys. Scientists have found that virtually all plastics leach harmful chemicals that can interfere with a baby's normal development.


Maple Landmark Teethers

This Vermont mainstay was crafting handmade wooden toys sourced from well-managed forests long before anyone cared about lead in toys from China, and these infant teethers, along with baby rattles and dozens of other toys for kids of every age, are still made at their factory in Vermont. Babies can ease their achy gums without parents worrying about toxic chemicals leaching from plastic or gel teething rings. The rings contain no finish; they've been carefully sanded down to be smooth for a baby's gums.

$9 each or $16/pair;

Organic Dental Kit

Dirty mouth? That could lead to serious heart problems, research has found. So clean it up! Radius, a toothbrush company based in Pennsylvania, creates ergonomically correct toothbrushes made from recycled plastic, flax, wood, and even dollar bills. And since some brushes feature replaceable heads, you wind up reusing 93 percent of the brush! Toss in a bottle of Vermont Soap Company's Organic Toothbrush sanitizer, made of natural ingredients, not hard-to-pronounce chemicals, and a spool of Radius' Cranberry Floss. Unlike regular floss, which is coated in petroleum-based wax, theirs is coated with pure unsweetened cranberry oils sourced from Ocean Spray, which helps break up plaque.

$8 to $38;

Eco-Me DIY Body Care Kit

For the woman who loves to make her own cleaning products, grow her own food, or just dabble in the kitchen, Eco-Me's DIY Body Care Kit outfits the kitchen chemist with jars, ingredients and instructions for whipping up a batch of homemade personal care products, rather than worrying about toxic chemicals in personal care products. The kit comes with basic ingredients (baking powder, vinegar, olive oil, sugar and an essential oil blend) that she can replenish at the grocery store for pennies a jar.


Frey Organic Wine

There's nothing festive about sipping pesticides, and that's exactly what you're risking when reaching for a glass of non-organic wine. A 2008 study conducted by Pesticide Action Network Europe found measurable levels of pesticide residues in 100 percent of nonorganic wine tested. One bottle contained 10 different pesticides! If you're gifting wine, opt for certified organic from America's first organic winery, Frey Vineyards! Look for one of the family-owned winery's 15 different selections at your local liquor store, or order online. (Shipping restrictions apply to certain states.) Gift a Frey Vineyards Organic Wine Club membership for hand-picked wine selections delivered to the doorstep three times a year!

$14 to $16;

Birds & Beans Organic, Fair-Trade Coffee

Sure, a morning cup of coffee helps you energize, but depending on the brand you choose, you could be doing so much more than catching a caffeine buzz. Birds & Beans organic, Fair Trade coffee is also certified under the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's "Bird Friendly" program, which guarantees that the coffee was grown without pesticides under shade canopies that serve as home to thousands of birds that overwinter in Latin America. And without harmful pesticides, the birds can feast on all the bugs that would otherwise destroy a coffee crop, helping out the coffee growers.

$12 to $13/lb.;

Theo Caramel Collections

Run-of-the-mill, boring caramels are a thing of the past when you turn to Theo organic caramels. Here's just a sampling: The Taste of Washington Caramel Collection features lavender, apple cider, cherry & caffe vita coffee sweets. The 12-piece seasonal collection includes three each of ghost chile, grey salted, pink salted, and coffee. Your taste buds will be doing back flips (in a good way), we promise! These ingredients used for these delectables are free of harmful pesticides, and the candies are made in the U.S. The company also offers festively packaged holiday bar packs and chocolate pairing kits to couple with wine.

$18 to $26;

Eden Foods Organic Gift Baskets

Traditional holiday baskets are often stuffed with rubbery fruitcake and processed meats and cheeses that—let's face it—no one really wants. If a food basket's on your holiday shopping list, look to Eden Foods for delicious, organic choices. You can't go wrong with the organic popcorn basket packed in a popcorn bowl…stovetop popcorn cooked in coconut oil is out of this world! Eden also offers food baskets catering to pasta lovers and those who eat gluten-free. If you're worried about the harmful BPA chemical in the canned food products, don't. Eden is one of the few companies that uses a safer BPA-free replacement in can liners.

$35 to $65;

Click here to view the complete Holiday Gift Guide on the Rodale website.