I am definitely at the age where all my friends and family are getting married and having babies. Which means I go to a lot of wedding and baby showers. Giving gifts is such a fun way to show love and support to those we are close to. It’s a fun way to celebrate new beginnings and share your passion for living green. Over the past few years I’ve been giving greener gifts and it’s been a lot of fun. Next time you have baby shower or a little ones birthday to go to I hope these tips will help you make a more sustainable choice.
1. Thrifting, Craigslist or Ebay Finds: This is by far the most sustainable choice. I’m not a mom, but I am a very proud aunt and have seen that with babies comes a lot of stuff. Sadly a lot of that stuff only gets used for a very small window of time. When I buy a pair of shoes for myself I can get years of use out of them but when it comes to little ones parents are lucky if they get more than a few months of use before they become too small for their kid to fit into. That’s why shopping second hand makes so much sense, the items are typically barely used. Shopping second hand is also a great way to have your money go further. Be sure you gift these treasures to your friends that are also living an eco-lifestyle (keep these friends close because they’re awesome!) Make sure to wash all clothes and clean any toys before gifting them. My mom is a craigslist champion and I swear half of the stuff my baby niece had in her nursery was 2nd hand. I understand that there are things you must buy new like car seats, but leave those for the grandmas to buy and go on a 2nd hand scavenger hunt for your friend. Start their little one off on a path of lessening their impact on the environment, before they even arrive.
2. Organic Cotton or Bamboo Clothing: Why not wrap the new one up in onesies and sheets that are made from organic cotton or bamboo? Conventionally grown cotton is one of the most pesticide ladened crops, buying organic cotton is a great choice so that you’re not supporting that polluting industry. Bamboo is also a great option as it is a rapidly regenerating crop. These fabrics are sustainable options to consider if you want to buy new clothes. Watch out though ’cause these are so incredibly soft you’re going to wish they were for you.
3. DIY a Gift: Do you know how to crochet or knit? How about making a blanket or hat? Are you crafty? What about hand making them a mobile or special photo frame from reused items. Handmade gifts are always memorable.
4. Non-Toxic Bath Products: There are a lot of chemicals and toxins in bath products. These products get used everyday. Babies systems are so fragile and shouldn’t have to deal with the amount of chemicals they are surrounded by. Help be gentle on their new little bodies and give a gift that will make them smell sweet and be safe to use.
5. Books About Nature: Start them young on their journey of falling in love with and respecting nature. Books are such a great gift so there is no harm in picking out ones about nature and green living…The Giving Tree anyone?
6. Cloth Diapers: This should only be given to someone that has decided to use them. Cloth diapers have come a long way since I was a baby, making them much easier to use. Diapers are a big expense for parents plus they add A LOT of waste to our landfills. Shocking fact; in one year the average baby will use 7,500 diapers! If someone is thinking about using cloth diapers encourage them to give it a try by giving them as a gift.
7. Natural Wood Toys: Be sure to do a bit of research, if you want to gift a toy, as there is no standard for using the word “natural” and most pressed woods have formaldehyde in them. Not to fear there are a lot of companies that make the real deal and are happy to share details about their manufacturing and ingredients. These types of toys tend to be focused on education and will not be stereotypical gender specific; which I think is always a good thing.
I love giving eco-friendly gifts because it’s a great opportunity to share a different perspective with the people you care about. I believe it has the power to educate the ones we love in a kind and non-pushy way.