A guide to ecofriendly gifts
In the words of Rev. Billy, mock evangelist and star of the newly released documentary What Would Jesus Buy?, the dreaded "shopocalypse" is upon us. If he and his Choir of Stop Shopping had their way, we would all be blissfully exchanging simple gestures of peace and love for the holidays rather than heaps of overly packaged plastic stuff.
But if you already know deep in your gut that peace and love just aren't going to cut it for your demanding sweetheart, whining child, or needy pet, procuring green gifts from local Bay Area shops is the next best thing. Consult this well-edited list to help you navigate the buying frenzy, thrill your giftees, and sidestep some of the residual guilt. For extra points, pass on the parking pandemonium and try riding your bike or taking public transit to your shopping destinations.
- Treat your pals or paramour to a rejuvenating treatment at Evo Spa (216 Strawberry Village, Mill Valley; 415-383-3223, www.evo-spa.com ), a green, holistic beauty and wellness haven in Mill Valley. Evo also carries paraben-free and organic skin care products.
- Keep everyone on your list well hydrated with SIGG nontoxic, ecofriendly water bottles (Lombardi Sports, 1600 Jackson, SF; 415-771-0600, www.lombardisports.com ). They’re crack-resistant, reusable, and recyclable, and their lining is 100 percent leach free, ensuring all your giftee will taste is their favorite libation.
- Help those busy parents in your life clean up their act with a visit from Greenway Maid (415-674-3266, www.greewaymaid.com ), a local, worker-owned green cleaning service that uses only ecofriendly cleaning products.
- Get your honeybunch a Gremlin clutch (Eco Citizen, 1488 Vallejo, SF; 415-614-0100, www.ecocitizenonline.com ) to help her tackle those San Francisco hills in style. Made from recycled car upholstery fabric from 1975 AMC Gremlins, this hot-rod handbag will sizzle on your lady's arm.
- Invite your family and friends to hop on the localvore bandwagon with a subscription to Farm Fresh to You (1-800-796-6009, www.farmfreshtoyou.com ). Each box contains seasonal organic produce — grown at small, local, sustainable farms and delivered right to your door.
- Wrap your darling in a Flow Scarf (Branch Home, 245 S. Van Ness, SF; 415-341-1824, www.branchhome.com ) by Hiroko Kurihara, handcrafted in the East Bay from European Union–ecologically certified virgin wool. For each scarf sold, one is donated to help those who are homeless or in transition.
- The Recycled Plastic Radio Flyer Earth Wagon (Green Home, 850 24th Ave., SF; 877-282-6400, www.greenhome.com ) is the ultimate gift for that budding environmentalist in your life. The body of the wagon is made from 100 percent recycled postconsumer high-density polyethylene. More than 230 plastic milk jugs were diverted from landfills to make each Earth Wagon.
- Bundle your baby in Kate Quinn 100 percent certified organic cotton clothing or entertain your favorite tots with Plan Toys (Lavish, 540 Hayes, SF; 415-565-0540, www.shoplavish.com ), made from preservative-free rubber woods and decorated with nontoxic paints.
- Warm the tootsies of your loved ones with Eco-terric 100 percent organic felt wool slippers from Kyrgyzstan (Green Home Center, 1812 Polk, SF; 415-567-3700, www.thegreenhomecenter.net ).
- Reduce, reuse, and rewoof with Planet Dog's RecyleBone and RecycleBall (Bow Wow Meow, 2150 Polk, SF; 415-440-2845, www.bowwowmeow.net ) chew toys, made from 100 percent recycled materials.
- Thrill your kitty with a cat tree by Everyday Studio (Branch Home, 245 S. Van Ness, SF; 415-341-1824, www.branchhome.com ). Made right here in San Francisco, these modern scratching posts offer good-looking design and a nontoxic paint finish.
- Help a friend take care of their dog's dirty business with Business Bags by Spike (Osso & Co., 501 Broderick, SF; 415-447-8543, www.eurocanine.com ). These biodegradable poo bags are fully compostable and biodegrade.
- Reduce your friends' junk mail by up to 90 percent and have 10 trees planted on their behalf! Sign them up at Green Dimes (www.greendimes.com ).
- Wow them with one-of-a-kind wood rings by Natalie Trujillo (Paxton Gate, 824 Valencia, SF; 415-824-1872, www.paxtongate.com ), handcrafted from found wood pieces and garden clippings.
- Give the gift that keeps giving. Jimi Wallets (Branch Home, 245 S. Van Ness, SF; 415-341-1824, www.branchhome.com ) are made from 100 percent recycled plastic, come in a variety of colors, and are priced so you won't burn a hole in yours.
- Send ecofriendly Night Owl Paper Goods holiday cards (Lavish, 540 Hayes, SF; 415-565-0540, www.shoplavish.com ), made from sustainably harvested wood.
- Surprise someone special with a super Kobo soy candle (Spring, 2162 Polk, SF; 415-673-2065, www.astorecalledspring.com ). Each has a burn time of 70 hours and is healthier for indoor air quality than petroleum-based candles.
- For the person who has everything, there's Plant-Me Pets (Branch Home, 245 S. Van Ness, SF; 415-341-1824, www.branchhome.com ). These squeaky toys have seeds for eyes and are made from compostable natural latex rubber. Should they ever outstay their welcome in the home, their owners can simply plant them in soil and watch ’em sprout.
<em>Photo by Jeffery Cross</em>