10 GOING GREEN | Sunday, November 29, 2009 commercialappeal.com
fun of giving
By Suzanne Thompson
Special to Going Green
This holiday season, there are
plenty of ways to give gifts that will
minimize the effects on the planet
and maximize the
fun of giving.
Remember, though, Some of
the best gifts can’t al-
ways be purchased. season’s
like receiving a best
container full of offerings
freshly baked home-
made treats. This is not
one of the most basic
eco-friendly gifts, found in
and one that is pos-
sibly the most appre- stores
ciated, as it shows
the recipient you cared enough to
take the time and effort to give
them a gift from the heart.
The Commercial Appeal files
Any kind of consumable gifts —
coffee, tea, nuts or fruit — make ex-
Homemade gifts such as fudge and cellent gifts and can be enjoyed
jellies show family and friends you care throughout the holiday season and
enough to take the time and effort to beyond. Gift baskets are available in
give them a gift from the heart. many local stores and there are plen-
The Commercial Appeal Sunday, November 29, 2009 | GOING GREEN 11
gifts can be
ty of options, even for the most discern- ways appreciated. A membership to a
ing epicureans. museum or the Memphis Zoo is a gift
Consider giving a coupon book you’ve that keeps giving all year.
made up of chores you are willing to do People love getting flowers, no matter
and events and dates to do them. Any what time of the year it is, and giving
mother of young children would relish a live plants has the benefit of contribut-
coupon book for a night or two of free ing oxygen to the atmosphere as they
baby-sitting. adorn the environment.
Handcrafted soaps and lotions make The Nature Store carries a line of
nice gifts and soapstone items are also organic toys for kids and pets, too.
popular, such as a soapstone wine cooler. They have a motivational mug, called
The Hunger Site Store, a charity that the Global Warming Mug, and when hot
is U.S. owned and operates the Greater water is poured into it, the coastlines
Good Network Stores, is a network of disappear, as a reminder of the impor-
sites offering products offered from the tance of green living. For information,
sites of a variety of causes. Go to go to thenaturestore.com.
greatergood.com for information. Eco-artware.com has a variety of hol-
Something people haven’t typically iday gifts available from handbags wo-
done in the past is shop at thrift stores for ven from recycled plastic fruit juice
gifts, but the quality of items and value, packs, to art deco style ornaments fash-
make this a very attractive way to recycle. ioned from vintage 45 rpm records.
Goodwill, Salvation Army, Disabled Vet- This merchant has carried the idea even
erans and even the Junior League, which further, offering vinyl bowls also fash-
operates a store called “The Repeat Bou- ioned from the antique records.
tique,” are packed with items that are The Bambu Company makes a line of
suitable for gift-giving. contemporary kitchenware made from
Gifts that can be experienced are al- bamboo, including serving trays, cutting
12 GOING GREEN | Sunday, November 29, 2009 commercialappeal.com
bulk mail they want to receive, catalogs
for instance, and they guarantee a 95
percent reduction in junk mail. As a
bonus, they plant five trees in the name
of the person who received the gift. Go
Another company, the name of which
was inspired by the weight of junk mail
the average person receives each year,
41pounds.org, offers a 5-year subscription
to its service for $41. This company con-
tacts 20 to 30 direct mail organizations
with instruction to stop sending junk mail
to a given address. It also contributes one-
third of the cost of the subscription to one
a reforestation organization.
Students may like getting a new back-
pack, but how cool is getting a backpack
that is is the hottest on earth? Solar
backpacks harness the energy of the sun
to recharge MP3 players, cameras, even
laptops while on the go. Voltaic Systems
makes the pack, which is available in
Karen Pulfer Focht/The Commercial Appeal files three colors.
There also are many gift options for
A membership to the Memphis Zoo is smaller kids. Remember the Radio Flyer
one gift that keeps on giving all year. red wagons many of us enjoyed as chil-
Memberships to museums and season dren? The company now makes a model
tickets are other great options. made completely out of recycled plastic,
the Radio Flyer Earth Wagon, which is
boards and utensils. Bamboo, which is a available through amazon.com’s toy sec-
type of grass, is a fast-growing plant tion. An Earth Wagon can even provide
that releases 35 percent more oxygen a good opportunity for parents to teach
than trees. children how their plastic drinking bot-
Purchasing carbon offset credits in a tles can be turned into other things.
person’s name, or making a donation to The Center for a New American
charity in their name is another Dream conducted a poll and that 82
thoughtful and environmentally friendly percent more people would rather re-
way to give. ceive a photo album of family and
Several companies offer an unusual, friends than a gift bought in a store. In
but ingenious gift that involves getting these digital days, that’s not surprising.
less. For $20, Green Dimes will stop the A beautiful wooden bird feeder is a
recipient from receiving junk mail. Sub- gift that not only lasts, but brings with
mit the recipient’s name, along with it an array of colorful visitors.