Girl Planting seeds

My Top 10 Gifts For Kids This Holiday Season

Mother_holiday_shutterstock_232321366By Deirdre Imus, November 28, 2016
The daily business of life – especially with kids – is hard. This past year in particular has felt more stressful than most, with many of us worrying about things far beyond our control. Such anxiety demands that, every so often, we stop, breathe, and consider what really matters: above all, always, it is our children.

There’s something intoxicating about showering the little ones you love with things they will hopefully love. It’s an opportunity to teach kids the importance of giving, of being a gracious recipient – and of respecting the planet by choosing eco-friendly, sustainable presents that honor the Earth and human health. During the holiday season and at all other times of the year, be mindful of how things are made, where they are made, and what they are made from.

Here’s a list of my Top 10 Gifts for Kids this holiday season. Some are big, some are small, and some can’t be touched at all. Read on!

1.     For the brand new baby in your family, check out Giggle’s Better Basics line of clothing. There are hats, mittens,Organic_Baby_clothes_shutterstock_261120884 pants, socks, and other snuggly items all made of 100 percent organic cotton that won’t irritate baby’s sensitive skin. Check out the two-pack Organic Cotton Long-Sleeve Baby Bodysuit.

2.     For slightly older babies who love to put everything in their mouths, toys should be made from safe materials: quality wood (pine, ash, birch); Green_car_shutterstock_169820030formaldehyde-free plywood; or even certain plastics. The company Green Toys manufactures its wide range of products in the U.S., from 100 percent recycled milk jugs, and they don’t use any toxic chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA), polyvinyl choloride (PVC), or phthalates. Their Farm Playset is especially cute. 

3.     Indulge your toddler’s need (and maybe your own!) to get his or her hands dirty with Eco-Kids Eco Paint, an shutterstock_171377936environmentally-friendly, powder-based paint that encourages creativity without sacrificing health. Conventional finger paints are comprised of chemicals such as toluene, which is classified as a developmental toxicant, and synthetic dyes containing metals like arsenic, cadmium, or lead. Avoid exposing the entire family to these carcinogens, while simultaneously promoting creativity and expression.

4.     Send your young school-aged kid off each day with a healthy lunch the sustainable way. Forget the brown paper bags of yore; these days, it’s all eco_lunch_boxshutterstock_109889819about the Eco Lunch Box, which is stainless steel. It doesn’t contain any plastic so it’s free of all estrogen-mimicking chemicals, such as bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, and bisphenol-S (BPS). Create less waste, and a healthy, organic lunch for your young’un each day.

5.     As your children get older, they may come to value experiencesmuseum_rock_n_roll_2 over things. Consider purchasing a membership to a local museum so that your little explorer can shore up in his or her preferred area of interest, whether science, history, art, or something else. Check out museumsUSA for a list of museums around the country.



6.     Teenagers are picky – haven’t you heard? And even though nothing their parents do could possibly be considered remotely cool, a reusable water bottle may just be the thing that won’t embarrass them in front of theirStainless_bottle_shutterstock_451767934 friends (while also buying you some much-needed street cred). Klean Kanteen offers a variety of beverage containers of different shapes and sizes, all made of 100 percent recyclable, high-quality, food-grade stainless steel. Aside from being lightweight when empty, they are incredibly durable, and should last your temperamental teen well into adulthood, while teaching them an important lesson on the wastefulness of plastic water bottles.

7.     Any fashion-forward young person would enjoy a gift from Uncommon Goods, an online retailer that minimizes its environmental impact by working with artists who use sustainable or recycled materials, and choosing eco- friendly packing materials. Check out the Sari Bag, which is upcycle_bag_shutterstock_435479944handmade by craftspeople in India from recycled saris, or a chic wallet made from firefighters’ old bunker gear.


8.    Does your child have a green thumb? Encourage this natural inclinationearthday_boy_planting with a pack of seeds to start their own little garden. Home Sweet Home Grown sells mini-greenhouse kits – using Non-GMO seeds, that allows you and the kids to grow a variety of crops– right on the windowsill, or out in the yard. Few things are more sustainable than growing your own food: it lowers your carbon footprint since food does not have to travel any distance to arrive on your table, and also avoids the use of nasty pesticides that pollute the air – and make us sick. 

9.     Sometimes, the best gift you can give is the gift of nothing at all – by which I mean, make a donation to an eco-friendly charity in Child_Piggy_Banksomeone’s name. This draws attention to a worthy cause, while also reducing waste (no wrapping required!). For the animal-loving child in your life, The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) allows you to make gifts in varying amounts that go toward saving endangered elephants, or planting wildflowers that foster bee populations, or protecting polar bears from the perils of global warming.

10.  For children of any age, consider upcycling, which is also sometimes upcycle_newspaper_shutterstock_518881801called creative reuse. It saves you money, while also preserving resources by reusing items that may have otherwise gone in the trash. The website Upcycle That offers suggestions for how to turn an old suitcase into a gorgeous dollhouse, or dinosaur toys into toothbrush holders.


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