6 November 2011

Step Down Sunday - Christmas Presents

Step Down Sunday We're running a bit late this year and have only just started our Christmas shopping.  So this week we've been trying to buy eco-friendly presents for our nieces and nephews. We've found it surprisingly difficult to stick to our goal - several times we've been on the verge buying into the high street offers and presents. In the end I think we've done pretty well, finding presents that are better for the environment without feeling sanctimonious.

I immediately noticed that there are virtually no eco-friendly presents for older children. We also have an added difficulty in that we don't want to give presents with a message. It's been our choice to reduce the environmental impact of our lives - not theirs, so we need to find presents that will still appeal to mainstream kids.
The youngest were obviously the easiest, for my two year old nephew we've purchased a wooden train set by BigJigs. Though wooden toys are often lauded as being eco-friendly (and probably are better than plastic), it is quite difficult to determine if they are made from sustainable wood.

For my four year old niece we've ordered a cute monkey made from organic cotton and sustainable rubberwood by I Love My Planet.  We plan to pair this adorable critter with a pair of Curious George books to give him some additional mainstream appeal.

Our next nephew is eight years old an I'm afraid here we've come up rather short.  Though we've not purchased it yet, we think we're going to buy Lego.  Though made from plastic, it's a toy that lasts for years and rarely gets thrown away.  So while not being eco-friendly itself we're going for something that lasts a long time and gets passed on and reused.

Finally my eldest niece is eleven years old and luckily has developed an interest in painting. After days of fruitless searching for eco-friendly craft supplies I found the Bird Cafe Kit by The Little Experience a UK based company. I'm a bit dubious that the kit includes disposable painting trays and such, but it seems highly recommended by several eco-stores.

I think we've done well to resist the easy options so far, but as we move on to the adults I think it will be much harder.

Do you have any eco-friendly present suggestions?

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