Holiday gift shopping -- specifically green holiday gift shopping -- can often be a big, intimidating pain in the posterior. You have to remember that not everyone will be on the same eco-page as you so give carefully. A handmade journal made from Sri Lankan elephant dung may go over swimmingly with your hemp-wearing cousin Ronnie in Berekely but the sentiment may be lost on Great Aunt Rita from Boca. There’s an art to green gifting involving the balance of personal taste, usefulness, and the recipients’ own green leanings.
Most importantly, don’t be too eager to push your views on others. And don’t expect people to change their ways because of your gift. Case in point: I once gifted my father a tube of high-end natural shaving cream. I thought he might be impressed by the thoughtfulness (he does indeed shave), the masculine (but recycled content) packaging, and the fact that it cost approximately $10 more than the brand he normal uses. When visiting him six months later, I found that tube of shaving cream sitting in his bathroom, untouched, a can of his normal chem-filled aerosol brand sitting in its normal spot next to the sink. I was initially offended but I quickly got over it. I snatched up that tube of natural shaving cream and took it with me. Someone had to use it, right?
The shopping website, Green Home, offers a helpful solution to eco gift-giving: the company’s homepage has an image of a thoughtfully organized house where you can click through to the room that you think your gift recipient inhabits the most. The organization of products by room lets lets you switch focus from the recipient and the environment to the recipient and their environment.
The bathroom wasn’t a great place to associate my father with…perhaps a garage-oriented gift would have seen more action. Below are some picks from each room in Green Home’s model home sure to please your grease monkey grandpa, foodie cousin Flo, work-from-home mom, and fully grown sister who still spends entirely too much time in front of the bathroom mirror.