Helping Hand

ecochick gift guide: Gifts that REALLY change the world

Helping HandGifts, gifts, gifts! It’s the holiday season and right now, we’re up to our ears in gift guides – guides for her, for him, for kids, for adults, for everyone. Are you looking to give something a little different – something that gets away from the Culture Of Stuff, and in to the culture of Helping? In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, why not do something that will speak to your recipient’s soul? Use your gift-giving funds towards one of the incredibly worthy causes below in honour of your loved one. Then give them the unforgettable gift of an hour of your time over a cup of coffee too. Warm caffeine and changing the world: Can’t beat that mix. Check out the ecochick picks for your giving dollars below.

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Whole Green Catalog: 1000 Best Things For You And The Earth

Never judge a book by its cover, people.

In the stack of books sent to review from Rodale Publishing was one thick, telephone-book-like book, with a plain, simple cover. Immediately I thought, ugh. Some tradeshow-like publication where it lists green vendor after green vendor in miniscule text and borring.

Mea maxima culpa, people. I was so wrong.

The Whole Green Catalog is a gem among green guides. Within its sustainably managed pages are sections on greening your everyday life in areas like housekeeping, energy, clothing, gardening, electronics, travel, on and on and on. Not just a list of green products or vendors, each section is laid out rather like a magazine, with informative columns, articles, green tips, sources and lots of other great info. There’s ideas on how to green your everyday life, segments comparing green products to one another and the pros and cons of each, and tips on where to find out more green info. There’s also features explaining lots of green fundamentals, such as explaining the confusing “numbers in triangles” system of labelling recycled plastics, a glossary of chemical terms such as “biodegradable” and “phosphate free” and more.

The downside for Canadian ecochicks is that the guide is primarily targeted towards US consumers, and therefore it’s a toss-up as to whether many of the products or initiatives mentioned are available or accessible to the Canadian consumer. However, there is still enough information within the book to make it a great reference text and give you some new and innovative ideas as well.

One criticism of the book is that it doesn’t seem to explain how the products within its pages were selected – did they compare lots of products and only list the ones that came out on top by some criteria, or did they simply select things that they liked? I wanted to see more about their selection criteria and how things ended up in the book. But aside from that, the book is a great resource and would be an excellent gift for the green neophyte or eco-junkie alike.

There’s also an awesome website for more information. The Whole Green Catalog is available at Chapters and other book retailers.

Fashion High’s Green Christmas Market – November 28

Found this gem in my inbox – so great to see more and more of these eco-friendly markets popping up everywhere, making green gift giving easy!

When the season of consumerism comes around it’s easy to get ‘wrapped’ up in all of the shiny holiday festivities and forget about the commitment you have made to the environment. But don’t wallow in holiday shopper’s remorse; balance the scales by picking up some unique and sustainable gifts from the Green Christmas Market!

The fourth annual Green Christmas Market is back with fervor and now organized by local fashion organization Fashion High. Hosted at the Cambrian Hall, Green Christmas boasts a collection of local artists, designers and even chefs who all work within an eco-friendly discipline. Pick up some nibblies by Say See Bon Patisserie, find wearable art at Kulus Designs, and even some for your walls with the Petri Dish, plus many many more!

Make label reading one less thing you have to do this year, all of Green Christmas’ vendors are 100% local and eco-friendly! “Each vendor had to fall under at least one of two categories- Recycled: using pre-existing materials to create something new. Or Sustainable: using a material that is considered natural and low-impact like organic fibres,” explains Kristi Carignan, Board Member of Fashion High and Lead Organizer of Green Christmas.

Fashion High’s Green Christmas Market- a one day celebration of uniquely sustainable gifts: Saturday November 28th at the Cambrian Hall (215 East 17th Ave-just off Main Street) from 11am-5pm. Admission $2 (children 12 and under free)

For full vendor listing please visit The Green Christmas Market Blog.