The Story Behind 10 Things Thursdays
For most of us there will be some level of gift shopping to do in the coming weeks. On each of the 10 Thursdays from October 21, up until the day before Christmas Eve, it is my goal to present 10 ideas (at least), in 10 different themes, for eco-friendly gifting. Many suggestions will be places I know or products I've purchased or received. One hundred ideas by no means makes a comprehensive list. But it's a start. Suggestions for future lists are most welcome. For stocking-stuffing ideas I have searched my memory bank for winners from the past, and combed store shelves real and virtual for new things wonderful. There should be something for everybody. I offer up LIST 8 and BLOG POST 100!
10 Things to Stuff in a Stocking
- Pass the Pigs. This game has been a hit at my house for decades. In Pass the Pigs, two cute pigs serve as dice, and how they land after you toss them determines your score. It’s your turn until you “bank” your points or you wipe out your score for the round with an unfortunate landing. Try out this hilarious (and free) online version to get an idea of the game’s intricacies. Although the online version is free, it is limited to two players (and doesn’t fit into a stocking). Pass the Pigs is a highly competitive and fast-moving game, and is really a lot of fun at a party. With their compact carrying case, it’s easy to take these pigs on family trips.
- A Pedometer. I’m sure you all the many benefits of walking. You might think you walk a lot (or perhaps that you don’t walk enough). But do you know how many steps you take in a day? Tara Parker-Pope reported in an October column that researchers using pedometers to measure daily movement of over 1,000 adults around the US discovered that Americans are “thousands of steps behind other countries when it comes to daily physical activity.” The results of the 2003 study were published in a recent issue of a sports and exercise journal. According to a researcher quoted in Pope's article, a person is considered sedentary if he or she take less than 5,000 steps a day. The data collected showed that the average American takes 5,117 steps in a day while a person in western Australia takes 9,695. Pedometers are available in many price ranges with a variety of features. This article reviews nine models. A pedometer that just counts your steps should cost less than $10. Just search Amazon until you find your price range.
- A DBA 98 Biodegradable Pen. The DBA Pen, marketed with the tagline, “Think before you write,” is made from a potato-based plastic and is 98% biodegradable. Produced at a wind-powered facility in the United States, it uses ink composed of simple, environmentally responsible ingredients. Watch this video to learn more. DBA currently sells pens and notebooks, but other products are in the works. This idea came by way of my friend's blog: Joan Spear's Authentic Adventure.
- A Preserve Personal Care Product. Preserve (Nothing wasted. Everything gained.™) was launched in 1997 with a toothbrush that you could mail back to the company for recycling into plastic lumber when its life as a toothbrush was over. Preserve products are made from recycled yogurt cups retrieved in the Gimme 5 program: you may have seen the collection boxes in Whole Foods stores. Other products include razors, tongue cleaners, cutting boards and kitchen and tableware. Preserve offers an online toothbrush replacement subscription service. Some Preserve products are available in retail stores including Barnes and Noble, Target, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods.
- All Natural Cosmetics. I have long been a fan of Burt’s Bees products (now owned by Clorox), in particular their line of all-natural lip glosses that can pass for lipstick. But, vegans beware that some of the glosses may contain carmine, which is a red dye made from crushed scale insects. Burt’s Bees products are now widely available in retail stores as well as online. I did some online checking for vegan products. Urban Decay is highly rated and has extensive vegan offerings, noted with a purple paw print. There is a store locator at the site.
- Reflective Pant Clips for the Cyclist. This dual-purpose, low-tech item can be a life-saver. Reflective tape on the metal clips helps a driver discern a cyclist in the darkness. A higher-tech model elastic model with an attached LED light is even better. If you live in CT, I suggest you make a purchase from my friends at Devil's Gear. Night comes early in December (at least in my hemisphere), and I know you love your biker.
- Xylitol Chewing Gum. Since scientists in Finland in the 1970s noticed xylitol’s ability to prevent dental caries, dentists in other countries have been urging their patients to chew this gum after each meal. We have been a little slower to catch on in this country. Xylitol gum is available in some stores, and more affordably in bulk online. Not all gum is created equal: I have found B-FRESH© (kosher, vegan, gluten-free, with xylitol made in the USA) to be a good product. I have received compliments from my dental hygienist, and have gotten fewer cavities since I began chewing the spearmint flavor. I just ordered 4 bottles (and got free shipping).
- Garlic from California. It may surprise you to hear that much of the garlic for sale in US supermarkets is actually grown in China. Gilroy, California promotes itself as “The Garlic Capital of the World,” and celebrates everything garlic with a festival each July. Chinese imports plus the debilitating white rot disease posed major setbacks to the region, but Gilroy is striving to make a come-back. One of the largest growers in Gilroy is Christopher Ranch, which ships over 60 million pounds of fresh California garlic each year. Their organic garlic can be found in retail stores around the country. The online catalog is for large quantities only.
- Dryer Balls. This product lets you dispense with liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets (and their associated chemical additives). Although not as quiet as the sheets, dryer balls will fluff and soften your clothes and speed up the drying time, saving you energy as well as the expense of extra laundry products. For those of you who love fragrance, check out Nellie’s All Natural PVC-free dryer balls with a fragrance option; these balls accommodate scented oil sticks (sold separately.)
- iTunes Gift Cards. Let the ones you love choose the gift(s) they love. The music of the Beatles is now available at the Apple Store—finally! Commemorative Beatles gift cards are currently a choice (but only in $50 and $100 denominations.) Check out the archival footage of the Boys from Liverpool at the iTunes store (free for your viewing pleasure).
- Folding Ear Warmers. This site has more choices than you would have dreamed possible. Baby, it’s cold outside in CT and I’ve got these on my mind. Available in a wide range of colors, they easily fit into a coat pocket or purse. Even a macho guy will appreciate these once the mercury falls low enough. Some models come with built-in stereo headphones.
- Conflict-Free Diamonds. If you are considering this type of purchase, I suggest you shop a reputable jewelry store and that you use yelp to help you find one. This article will provide the information you need to make an ethical choice.