Green gift baskets make excellent holiday gifts. I think it’s better to shop early (if you do give gifts) because early shoppers tend to be more savvy about green criteria and price. Anytime people are crunched for time and hit the stores, it seems like they buy more than they mean to. However, sometimes you simply run out of time. That said, day before gift baskets are a really good plan for major procrastinators who still want to give green gifts for the holiday.
- Make sure you take a list when you go to the store AND then only shop from said list.
- Before you go to the store see what you already have. You may have some stuff for a gift basket already that a few extra items will round out.
- Do not plan on a ready-made basket or gift box. Yeah, they’re easy, but I promise it’ll cost less to make up your own plus you can personalize it.
You’ll need a basket: By basket, I mean a recycled container of some sort. Most people have some around the house (old Easter gear and such) or you can pick some up at a thrift store for a song. You don’t have to use a basket either. A nice recycled bowl, well-cleaned paint canister, recycled colander, reusable picnic basket, large tin, recycled Christmas stocking, reusable grocery bag dressed up cardboard box or other container works too. You can paint or decorate your containers as you wish.
You’ll need a store: What’s key is to hit a store that will have everything you need. Driving from place to place sort of defies “day before.” I’d try a local natural food store first. For example, in my town I’d go to New Seasons Market or a co-op. You could also hit Whole Foods or another mainstream grocer with a decent amount of organic and natural products. Trader Joe’s is a possible choice, but still a last ditch store idea in my opinion because they carry few organics and you never know what you’ll find, which has its benefits, but not if you’re trying to save money.
Choose a gift basket theme:
Once you have your basket and store you’ll need a gift theme. Heading to the store without a theme is asking for trouble. You’ll go to the store, browse too long, ponder too much and very likely over-buy. Pick a theme, set a price limit and then make a list. Now it’s time to go to the store.
Here’s how to create a great inexpensive eco-friendly gift basket on the fly:
Following are some theme ideas, along with stuff that’s super easy to find at a decent natural grocery store. Everything on included on the lists below are things I’ve actually seen at my local natural food store. Note – while I included many ideas under each theme, they’re just ideas. You don’t need a basket filled with everything on the list. In my experience a perfectly great gift basket can be made for about $25-$40 depending on theme.
- Healthy theme basket: A nice collection of organic fruit alone can make a great basket. You could also look for healthy green magazines and organic essential oils.
- Relaxation theme basket: Organic washcloth or natural loofa, soy tea-light candles, natural handmade soaps or organic scrub, incense, organic essential oils, organic teas and a CD of nature sounds are items you might want to include in a peaceful relaxation gift basket.
- Baby theme basket: For new parents or a baby look for Earth Mama Angel Baby products or other real organic products made for baby. There’s also BPA-free sippy cups, small organic teethers, organic baby crackers, biodegradable baby wipes or gourmet organic baby food.
- Child-minded theme basket: organic fruit leather , organic animal crackers or other organic munchies, organic and natural candy, organic soaps, nature minded magazine, reusable water bottle, eco-friendly crayons, recycled coloring book or even a small stuff organic toy.
- Food lover theme basket: Grab some organic pasta sauce, whole grain noodles, jarred garlic spread, organic crackers, nuts, jams, cookies or other treats to create a basket of yummy items for a foodie. Throw in a natural food magazine or small cookbook and you’re good to go. This sort of gift basket is especially nice for someone who doesn’t usually buy organic, because it’s a good introduction.
- PB&J theme basket: Start with organic gourmet peanut butter and jam. Add a container of organic honey, some organic bananas and a loaf of very good organic bread or bagels. This is great for kids and adults.
- Green cleaning theme basket: I like making homemade cleaners, but for a newbie, nice green cleaning supplies can be a great introduction to eco-friendly living. Grab some cleaners of your choice, a bottle of natural hand soap, some biodegradable cleaning towels and some natural air freshener or a soy candle. Most stores have Mrs. Meyer’s products, which aren’t, in my opinion extreme green, but they don’t tend to scare off people who are newer to green cleaning – I like the basil scented products best.
- Brush green for kids theme basket: Preserve junior toothbrushes plus some Tom’s of Maine Natural Silly Strawberry toothpaste and natural dental floss. Honestly, I’d also throw in some little treats, since now of course they can brush in style, candy is fine. Try some organic apples and chocolate.
- Fair Trade theme basket: Anything and everything Fair Trade. I suggest a nice mix of items like coffee, chocolate, shea butter, nuts to munch on and so fourth.
- Beauty theme basket: Real organic soaps, essential oils, scrubs, lip gloss and so on, can all be found at a good natural grocers.
- Coffee lover’s theme basket: Fair Trade, organic coffee, a reusable coffee filter, chocolate covered espresso beans, a reusable coffee mug and some biscotte or nice cookies. For an alternative do a Fair Trade tea basket theme.
- Herb garden theme basket: Some little reusable pots, organic herb seeds (or flower seeds), a nice bunch of lavender, some garden gloves, eco-friendly less toxic sunscreen and hand salve.
- Go green theme basket: A reusable water bottle, a reusable grocery bag or two, a CFL bulb or two, reusable produce bags, preserve products plus a green minded book or magazine.
Really, as you can see the sky’s the limit when thinking up themes. You could do a basket for a dog owner, a cheese and wine lover, a hiker, a baker, a basket for crafty people and so on. Just remember, there’s no reason to spend a lot. Don’t go into the store with too grand a plan. Simple is fine.