Last year's Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas blog was a big hit, so I'm back with another for 2016!
I love me some holidays. I do. I'll talk about it every year.
But every year I'm also met with the same internal struggle: Love the spirit, hate the consumerism. Gift giving is fun, but also stressful. Spreading cheer is awesome, creating waste is dumb. These feelings have only intensified since becoming a mom.
I started a practice a few years back that has helped me meld my two seemingly contradictory feelings: I buy people health conscious gifts from companies that I want to support. That way, I feel better about spending the money, and I feel good about putting health-supportive products into the hands of loved ones.
So here we go! These are companies and products that I personally LOVE and feel very good about.
(Please note: a few of the links included are affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you purchase anything using the links. That is NOT why I'm recommending these products. I genuinely like, trust, have, or want all of these things. The links are an added bonus. A 'thanks for the tip' if you will.)
I don’t want to be a buzzkill, but fast fashion is dirty business. Forced labor, child labor, hazardous conditions…it's easy to live in a bubble and pretend this stuff isn't going on. But...it's going on.
And cotton? The fabric of our lives? Nasty stuff. Conventional cotton uses a good percentage of the world’s pesticides/insecticides (translation: bad for environment, bad for workers, bad for you).
The following small companies use ethical practices, as well as organic cotton, which uses far less energy and causes far less destruction to the soil.
Organic cotton farming + responsible manufacturing + sustainable and ethical certifications = values-based shopping for you. Their affordable - and extraordinarily soft - line includes undies (I wear these every day), socks, T-shirts & PJs for men and women (this is my favorite T). They also have some baby clothes.
And for all my legging junkies, you'll love these organic cotton goodies.
Sweetskins uses ecologically sound fabrics like eco-fleece, hemp, organic cottons and wool for their low impact processing. Their Women’s line includes clothes, leggings, intimates, and maternity. They even have some baby clothes.
Pansy is an organic cotton underwear company made in California from 100% organic, USA-grown cotton.
I LOVE their bras. I want one in every color - no padding, no underwire. Just cotton & elastic.
Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club
I recently signed up for this because I was looking for olive oil I can TRUST. The majority of EVOO in the United States doesn’t meet the legal standards for EVOO. (Yeah...go ahead and read that last sentence again. I'll wait.)
More often than not, EVOO is adulterated with cheaper, extremely unhealthy, pro-inflammatory industrial seed oils (the oils I tell everyone to avoid!!).
Every single oil from the Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club is independently lab tested to certify it is 100% Extra Virgin. They also work directly with producers, meaning oil goes directly from farm to table. You get fresher, healthier, tastier REAL olive oil.
There is no minimum number of months that you must enroll for, and you can cancel your membership at any time, making it a great gift for the person that has everything!
Who doesn’t love it? I’m always excited to try new kinds of (quality) coffee. Go for organic, locally roasted. Here are a few (local to me) ideas to get you started:
White Heron (they also have superb loose leaf teas and chai)
Every home cook can appreciate a good spice blend. And if they can't, they cray. You can go the whole DIY route for an inexpensive, yet impressive gift. Portsmouth Health Food Center has bulk organic spices, as well as glass jars and containers. Use the ol’ Google to come up with difference spice blends to make yourself and gift out. You can even up the ante and print out recipes using the spice blends to give to the recipient.
OR check out Stock + Spice. The owners of Black Trumpet opened up this spice shop where they use fresh dried herbs and spices to make their own house blends. They toast and grind in-house in small batches to bring out the best quality. If you've ever eaten at the Black Trumpet, you know their flavors are too legit to quit. Shop online or visit their store at 25 Ceres Street, Portsmouth, NH.
Other culinary gift ideas
good quality sea salt, local maple syrup, local honey
This may be a weird one to add to the mix, but it’s what we’re getting for our daughter this year.
Mattresses are gnarly. I won't get into the nitty gritty here, but if you want to read more, this article does a pretty decent job.
We have a top-notch crib mattress for Hattie that was gifted to me by an awesome client, but we'll be switching her over to a twin at some point this year. This is the mattress I plan to buy. It is handmade with local, natural and sustainable ingredients, and came highly recommended by a friend who owns three. The company, My Green Mattress, also sell mattress toppers, sheets and pillows, and offer free shipping.
I also might surprise my husband with a new mattress for us. (Don't worry, he doesn't read my blog.) We’ve been on our poison pad long enough, and it’s been on my hit list of health purchases for a long while. Toxic-free mattresses are extremely expensive. I did come across this brand that is very, very affordable.
One ingredient concerns me somewhat (CertiPUR-US-certified nontoxic polyurethane foam) just because I don’t know enough about it - but it is safer than gels used in traditional memory foam mattresses. I won’t be getting this brand for Hattie, but am entertaining it for myself due to cost.
This diffuser was one of the hits of our family last Christmas. My aunt gifted them out, and everyone has been using and loving theirs, myself included! I had another (more expensive, but less attractive) diffuser than I now use in my daughter's room. Since this is one is pretty cool looking, I have it downstairs in our kitchen/living room. Because of its price point, it would make a great gift. Include a pleasant-smelling essential oil, and you're good to go.
Wool dryer Balls
Say whaaaa? I'll explain. I stopped using fabric softener and dryer sheets well over a decade ago, because I knew how terrible they were for my health + environment. Fabric softeners & dryer sheets contain a LOT of harmful chemicals and fragrances. The chemicals within the fragrances are specifically designed to cling to fabric, so they are very hard to remove. These chemicals can and do enter the body through the skin, directly affecting the nervous and endocrine systems. Definitely NOT something you want for your family!!
BUT. I know people love, love, love their laundry products and without a suitable replacement will be less apt to ditch the toxins. Enter LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls. Wool dryer balls are sustainable, biodegradable and durable. They soften clothes and reduce dry time.
I found out about this Maine-based company about 4 years ago and wanted to support their good work. An environmentally responsible company in rural Maine, they make wool dryer balls using domestic wool from humanely raised sheep and employ all local Mainers manufacturers, supporting the local economy.
This starter set comes packaged in a cute little box and is perfect for a gift.
Better than the Jelly of the Month Club, a house plant is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Plants help to purify the air inside a home, making them natural air filters. They are inexpensive, and won't end up in a landfill in 3 months. If you know your recipient can't keep plants alive, get him/her a succulent.
Are you a crafty DIYer? Order supplies on Etsy and create your own succulent terrariums as gifts!
Fitness & Body
Gift certificates may seem impersonal to some, but I think they are an awesome way to go - what better way to give someone permission to take care of their self?
Give the gift of yoga
Seriously. Do it. Yoga is awesome.
Come to Bikram Yoga Epping on Saturday, November 19th. You can pick up a gift certificate, and pop into our trunk show - I’ll be out with Beautycounter items and Everywear Activewear will be there with fun prints and Thug Yoga apparel.
I swear I only get massages when I have a gift certificate, despite how often I need them! If you're local, contact Rebecca Jenkins Massage Therapy. Becky is AWESOME. She's a Licensed Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher with a practice in Hampton, NH.
This might seem like an odd suggestion, but the way I got started with meditation way back in the day was with a gift certificate from my mom! As a hectic, stressed college student with no money or time, meditation is EXACTLY what I needed, but nothing I wanted to spend money on. Contact Daring Spirits for a gift certificate for one of their recorded meditation series. This is who I first studied with, and the meditation style I continue to use!
A fun way to kick off 2017 is by clearing out old, stubborn, stuck energy. Energy imbalances can contribute to poor health, unhappiness, and many other emotional and physical ailments. If you know someone feeling unhappy, unwell, stuck or confused in their life, think about treating them to an energy healing.
Cheri Keirstead sees local clients in Hampton, NH and distance clients by Skype. She is phenomenal at what she does, and you will leave her office feeling relaxed, renewed, energized and grateful.
Other fun, local companies to support
A fun and fresh indie apparel company started by two East Coast college girls. Know someone who loves the Atlantic? They will appreciate this unisex line of Ts, sweatshirts and hoodies.
My cousin, Boston College lacrosse player Kayla O'Connor, is the kindest and most hard working girl I know. Contact Kayla to view products and place an order. This is a company to support, my friends!
A line of simple, unique jewelry handcrafted in Maine with sustainable ingredients. Her pieces are exquisite. Shop here.
Toxic free skin & beauty
Not everyone understands the importance of safe personal care products. Not everyone is ready to give up their tried-and-true beauty regime. That’s where these gifts come in. I promise those on your list with LOVE these luxurious products - convince them to switch to safer by letting them experience how awesome they are!
Beautycounter gift sets come pre-packaged in beautiful red boxes with gold tags. Not just for makeup wearers! If your loved one has skin or hair, these safe products are for them!
Our Favorites for Your Favorites
For someone looking to clean up their skincare routine, but not really sure where to start, this starter kit is the way to go.
Know someone who’s always traveling? Or an avid swimmer/hot yogi/gym goer who’s always showering outside of the home?
The Jet-Set includes a charcoal cleansing bar, travel sizes of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion in a chic canvas travel bag.
Kiss, Kiss Gift Set
The Kiss, Kiss Gift Set includes our new limited edition Rose Lip Conditioner paired with fresh Peppermint Lip Conditioner. Perfect for lip balm addicts, those who love a natural look & teens.
Shimmer & Shine Gift Set
How about someone that deserves to be pampered?
The Shimmer & Shine Gift Set includes Glow Shimmer Oil, Sugar Body Scrub, Body Butter - three safe & luxurious treats.
Love & Luster Gift Set
For the ladies in your life, the Love & Luster Gift Set is a collection of four glosses, including two NEW festive colors.
Everyone loves a nude lip! The Luminous Nudes Gift Set includes our best-selling, Allure Beaut of Beauty award-winning Lipstick Sheer in Twig + New Lip Gloss in Bare Shimmer
Makeup minimalists and master alike will love these two shades.
Naughty to Nice
Remember when coal used to be a bad thing to get? Not anymore. The Naughty to Nice Gift Set includes our Charcoal Cleansing Bar and Purifying Charcoal Mask - everyone who tries these charcoal products LOVES them.
Great for men, women and teens!
Winter Warmth & Winter Dream Palettes
My favorite…two new makeup palettes! The Winter Warmth Palette and Winter Dream Palette include different shades of eye shadows, a bronzer, a blush and our new highlighter. This is ideal for someone who enjoys makeup and is also into health. Or maybe…for YOU! Treat yourself to one of these gorgeous palettes. I’ve been using mine nonstop!
Welcome Baby Gift Set
Gentle All-Over Wash cleanses body & hair, Soothing Oil is my favorite baby moisturizer (also doubles as a nourishing stretch mark formula for mom), and Daily Protective Balm adds a protective layer for sensitive diaper skin (and is also a phenomenal replacement for Vaseline in a health-conscious home). These are all the products I use on my own babe - all new moms will love this gift set!
If you need some help finding the perfect Beautycounter products for yourself - or a gift for someone else - don't hesitate to contact me! I can help you find the right products for your needs!