Sunday, December 6, 2009

MY Favorite Things

Eco-Conscious Gifts for $5 and Under

So, you know how every year, Oprah has her "Favorite Things" show, where she talks about great gifts and everyone goes into a screaming frenzy of commercialism? And since she's a kazillionaire, the things tend to be pricey -- like some Williams-Sonoma cupcakes for $59, even though you can, you know make cupcakes for a couple of dollars.

Well, I thought I would put together my own gift guide, but all of these gifts are eco-friendlier and cost $5 or less. Why so little? Because all of us need to have a few things on hand for hosts and hostesses, co-workers, and White Elephant gifts. And because I would like to get any of these things, even though they are cheap.

First up:

Method holiday hand wash - $2.99 at Target
Mrs. Meyer's hand soap - $4.49 at

People I know get a teeny bit obsessed with method's holiday-scented hand wash -- in fact, my friend Amanda uses it year round. The Mrs. Meyer's version ("Iowa pine") is pretty great as well. Both have extremely intense scents. Any hostess would love one of these with a ribbon around it.

Re-usable WWF Shopping Bag - $1.99 at Half-Price Books

This bag, featuring adorable polar bears, would make great gift wrap. It also does good. $1 from the sale of each of these bags goes to the World Wildlife Fund to help polar bears. They have other polar bear merchandise as well, including a calendar and note cards -- all under $5!

Red Heart Eco-ways Yarn, made from 30% recycled plastics, $3.29 at

Lots of knitters are snobby about acrylics, but since I'm allergic to wool, I can't be so choosy. Acrylic yarns are also getting much, softer, like this Eco-Ways yarn. It comes in a variety of colors, and is partially made from recycled plastic.

Various Organic Lip Balms, $1-5 at drug stores and natural groceries

I like to have chapstick everywhere -- in the car, at my desk, in my backpack. Regular chapsticks, however, often contain alcohol, which can actually dry your lips. These yummy brands are made with beeswax, cocoa butter, or other natural ingredients to keep your smile supple.

A song, $.99 to 1.99, at iTunes

When you give the gift of a song, there's no shipping, no packaging, and no CD's filling up landfills. You can also gift TV shows and movies, though those are more expensive.
And those are a few of my favorite things.

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