By JEANINE BEHR GETZ
We are all about giving and receiving gifts that are fun & exciting AND healthier for humans, the planet and made in the USA!
Perhaps you are still looking for a little surprise for that special woman or for the man who has everything or the joyful child who can spend hours playing with (and perhaps chewing on) their favorite toys?
We interviewed three amazing people about what green goodies they are gifting and wishing for this year. Here are a few of their secrets…
Co-founder and partner of Safer Made
New Haven, CT
FCL: In your line of early stage green chemistry investing, what new products are you investing in, gifting, or wishing for this holiday season?
AH: As a partner in Safer Made, a venture fund that invests in products that reduce exposure to harmful chemicals, I often come across cutting edge safer products. One I am particularly excited about is Mother Dirt AO+ Mist, a spray that restores the population of good bacteria on our skin, and promotes skin health. Another product I like is Hairprint, a safe hair treatment that restores the hair’s original color, and does not use harsh chemistry.
FCL: What makes Mother Dirt a stand out gift this season?
AH: Mother Dirt AO+ Mist is a live product and it works. It is pro-biotics for the skin. It restores a population of bacteria on our skin that should naturally be there. It improves oily, dry, and sensitive skin. Clinical trials are ongoing for treating acne and also planned for rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and chronic wounds.
FCL: Where are Mother Dirt products made?
AH: Mother Dirt AO+ Mist is manufactured in Western Massachusetts, in an FDA compliant facility. Their other products are also manufactured in Massachusetts.
FCL: Where can our readers buy these? And are they expensive compared to other products you have used?
AH: Mother Dirt products can be bought online at motherdirt.com. The AO+ Mist costs $50 and lasts for about month.
FCL: And natural non-toxic hair color treatment? Wow! That is an amazing gift, especially for new and pregnant moms. Where are these made?
AH: Yes, Hairprint is a safe hair treatment that restores the hair’s original color. The product was invented by Dr. John Warner, of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry in Massachusetts.
FCL: Are our readers able to use at home, ask for them in salons, or can they bring them with them?
AH: The current product is designed for home use and can be bought online. The company is working on a salon-training program.
FCL: Do you have any other green gift suggestions on your list this year?
AH: I like the men’s shirts made by Tuckerman & Co, I am wearing one right now. They are made of organic cotton and sewn here in New England. I also like the beautifully designed bio based plastic baby toys made by Bioserie. I could go on. I love safer products.
FCL: These are adorable Luke’s Toy Factory trucks JT is playing with, what is so special about them?
LP: They are 30% reclaimed wood fiber, bpa and phthalate free. JT could literally chew on them and I wouldn’t worry. No paint, no glue, and they are created like 3D puzzles with detachable and interchangeable pieces so kids can play with them in many ways. JT can roll it like a truck or challenge himself by taking it apart and matching the colors to put them back together or mix pieces together and make his own new truck.
FCL: Where are they made?
LP: Right here in CT!!
FCL: We applaud innovators investing locally, where can our readers buy these? And are they pricier compared to other toys you have bought?
LP: They are actually sold on mainstream sites like Amazon and at local stores. Some organic things can cost you a little more, but these trucks are actually the same price as your average Tonka truck.
FCL: In these crazy days of toys o’ plenty, what do you look for in kids toys?
LP: I look for toys that are made of simple materials and have multiple uses. We also play a lot of games – board games, chess, cards, and even old fashioned games like Hang Man and Tic Tac Toe. I am also a huge fan of dolls and stuffed animals because I find my kids use them over and over for make-believe.
I would be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t buy plastic non-environmentally friendly stuff too. We have a little bit of everything in our playroom. I think the biggest thing for me is just making sure my kids are conscious of what they have, grateful for it, and thoughtful about recycling and caring for our planet. Baby steps!
FCL: What other fun green baby/kid gifts have you received or gifted and loved?
LP: I love Eco Dough. It’s organic dough that smells “essentially” awesome and is safe for kids to play with (and even nibble on if they must!) and any toys made by the Magic Cabin brand. Their toys are organic, colorful, and so unique. My girls got Blabla Dolls when they were born. They are precious and made of soft cotton. They have lasted for 8 years and we still cuddle them. The company is environmentally conscious, gives back to charity, and is committed to fair trade. Another favorite, Under the Nile is a wonderful line of organic clothes and dolls for children. Super soft and such sweet designs too.
FCL: Do you have any special green decorating or wrapping traditions in your home?
LP: I’m like a little old lady. I unwrap carefully so I can reuse paper. I also save bags, ribbon, and tissue (if it’s not too crinkled) to use when I am putting together gifts for others. I tried to convince my husband we should go the “Santa” route and just pull gifts out of a sack instead of wasting all that paper. His nickname is “Kris Kringle” so he put his foot down on that idea. He needs piles of gifts and kids tearing open packages. We try and compromise. I also save all of my decorations, except for the live garland/wreaths, and reuse them year after year.
FCL: Have any green stocking stuffer gift ideas?
LP: I like when people think outside the box. A jar of local raw honey is such a special thing to tuck into a stocking or bring as a hostess gift. I am wishing for French Girl Organic Lip Tint in my stocking!
FCL: Ooooh, I see you brought some Tata Harper! Are you gifting or wishing for TH this holiday season?
LD: Both! A truly great gift is always something you want for yourself!
FCL: What are some of your favorite TH products?
LD: I love all their serums and oils. I use a roll-on rejuvenating serum that I got at spa out west years before the line became known. It’s the last thing I layer on at night and I keep it in my bedside table for easy access. I also have a small bottle that seems to last forever and I travel with it everywhere.
FCL: What stands out about the Tata Harper products?
LD: The scent – it’s heavenly! I also love that the products are clean and good for you. I will be stuffing a few into my daughter’s stocking this Christmas. I love for her to use all natural products that aren’t harsh or abrasive on that perfect young skin.
FCL: I am crazy about their packaging too! No plastic, 100% recycled paper and environmental inks…win win win!
LD: I love that these products are green but that they really do deliver results. They are manufactured in Vermont and nothing is outsourced – which is so unusual in this market.
FCL: Where can our readers buy these delicious goodies? And are they more expensive compared to other products you have used?
LD: I’ve seen them at Sephora and Space NK in Scarsdale and Neiman Marcus at the Westchester Mall. You can also order them from the Tata Harper website. Honestly, you only need to use such a tiny amount that the expense justifies itself.
FCL: What other green gift ideas on your list this year?
LD: For holiday hostess gifts, I love to give tiny plants in groupings of two or three. I look for beautiful useful containers like teacups or sugar and creamer sets and fill them with small plants or succulent. My favorite go to store for awesome green gifts is Terra in Westport. Lately, I’ve become obsessed with Goe oil. It’s a body balm that you can use all over. It’s made of plants, fruit and flower oils and butters. I order it from Bigelow Apothecary in NYC. I also love Jao Refresher from the same company. For myself, I keep one in every car and make sure every kid has one in his or her locker or backpack. They love it. It’s an aromatherapy antiseptic that uses essential oils like lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus and sage. This product saves me all summer long during long drives or sitting on hot fields. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer.
FCL: Thank you all for sharing your season’s green gift ideas! We love new fun & exciting ideas to give, receive and surprise our loved ones with!
Know more…gift better!