by Nina Mon
"Here comes the holidays. Here comes Santa Claus. Riding along acid rain..."
I believe over the many, many years, Santa Claus has noticed the changes in our world. The atmospheric conditions must have affected his travels, the gifts that have been requested have forced the workshop to often handle toxic substances and chemicals, and he certainly can't be happy about losing square footage to his home in the North Pole. I believe in order to save Santa Claus, we need to ask for gifts made from renewable resources, environmental friendly, non-toxic (for the sake of the elves), organic, or made from recycled materials!
Well, another theory I have is that if Santa Claus believes that sustainability is the right thing to do, then this would mean that we have been on his naughty list for a very long time, and hence explains why parents have had to sneak around on Christmas Eve placing "Santa" gifts under the tree! Oh, it's not Santa who needs saving!
In the U.S., The National Retail Federation (NRF), the country's largest retail trade group, estimates holiday sales this year will be about 586 billion. The NRF also states that for the last 10 years, holiday sales have increased an average of 3.5% per year, which could mean more parents have to pretend to be Santa Claus. It is not too late to turn things around. We need to take those billions of dollars and purchase only gifts made from FSC certified woods, renewable resources, recycled materials, organic, and come from socially conscious makers. We would have the power to change the world because manufactures and business would respond by creating more products the right way in order to survive.
Fortunately, re-gifting is not the only strategy. There are already many people who have started businesses out there providing green products. Please help them to help us:
Find an array of up cycled products where you can shop by the materials they were made from. My favorite is the various bike chain products, particularly the business card holder, perfect gift for a cyclist.
"With Every Pair You Purchase, TOMS Will Give a Pair to a Child in Need"
To date, having given two million pairs of new shoes to children in developing countries who otherwise would have grown up barefoot and would not be allowed in schools or who would be contracting diseases, the company is going strong. Just imagine buying a pair of shoes for gifting is literally equivalent to gifting two pairs!
This is a very important one to know for all men out there, (as well as women too) in terms of gifting to your girlfriends and wives...This can be helpful. Aveda was inspired by ancient holistic healing methods of Ayurveda. More than 90% of the essential oils and 89% of raw herbal ingredients used for their products are certified organic. They are the first beauty company manufacturing with 100% certified wind power and use up to 100% post-consumer recycled content in its packaging.
This website is perfect place to find beautiful and creative hand-crafted gifts such as the stylish soda pop-top handbag made by Neide Ambrosio. Novica helps artisans in developing countries by showcasing their work to the rest of the world as well as providing access to microfinance.
Fun, affordable, high quality products made from drink pouches, yogurt cups, chip bags and more. On top of it, the schools and non-profits that help collect the raw materials get paid for doing so. Make sure to get one of those drink pouch stockings!
"Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." I can't say it any better than their mission statement. This is a perfect brand for shopping for outdoor lovers. With Patagonia, you can find organic cotton clothing, product impact tracking tools, recycling programs that take worn-out Patagonia products back to recycle them, down to FSC-certified recycled paper catalogs.
Have fun shopping and I wish you all a Rejoicing, Green Christmas and Holiday Season!
PS. Yes, I am hoping to earn some brownie points by writing this article and eventually get off the naughty list. I will have my organic milk and cookies ready, and of course organic carrots for the reindeer.
Nina Mon is the Director of Sustainability, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional and interior designer at Realm Designs of Warren, NJ. Nina can be reach at