The feeling when you get someone the perfect gift is pretty priceless. Something they can use, something sentimental, something they mentioned they needed. Yup! You were listening.
We love celebrating birthdays and holidays in our office. Aubrey, our resident herbal scholar, recently had a birthday, so we got her a magic butter machine for making herbal salves and lotions. Not only did she love it, but she came in the next week with a beautiful, absolutely delightful whipped lotion that she shared with everyone. So that worked out well for everyone.
Getting side tracked here, but getting people gifts they love is such a great feeling. Tis the season, right?
If you follow our We Heart column, you know that seeking out awesome companies is a hobby of ours. We look for natural products made with love, quality ingredients, responsible sourcing, and overall ethical business practices. We love connecting with companies who really strive to do things the right way, and we love telling you all about our discoveries.
Today, we’re highlighting some of our favorite things that happen to make great gifts.
(Also look out for our next gift guide, which will talk about which of our products make the best gifts, depending on who you’re giving them to.)
For the Home Maker/Space Creator
Candles seem so natural, right? Soft lighting, no electricity… But a lot of them actually contain harmful chemicals in their fragrance formulas. Fragrance is classified as a trade secret, so companies don’t have to disclose all the ingredients in them. The good thing is, there are natural alternatives out there!
We really love Mountain Rose Herbs and their selection of candles and aroma diffusers. Their candles are made with 100% Oregon beeswax (where their headquarters is located) and they don’t use any petroleum byproducts. You’d think that the quality ingredients would make these candles really pricey, but they’re actually affordable.
If you love spreading scent throughout your space with essential oils, you can find a few really awesome diffusers on their site as well. Two of our favorite options are the simple ceramic diffuser that uses a candle to dissipate scent, and the ultrasonic mist machine (pictured right) that uses water and vibration to create an essential oil mist (oh yea, and it has an optional rainbow light setting!).
For the Chefs and Foodies
Danielle Walker’s book Against All Grain is the culinary result of her journey to heal herself through food. Removing grains, legumes, and lactose from her diet helped Danielle beat an autoimmune disease she was diagnosed with at age 22. Her recipes are just as inspiring as her story! Her book has an amazing array of recipes that are perfect for anyone who is gluten-free, on a paleo diet, or just loves to experiment in the kitchen. Plus, she photographs her food beautifully!
For the vegan with an attitude, we recommend Thug Kitchen. These plant-based recipes are delivered with a healthy dose of sass (and by sass, we mean profanity). Of course, the language isn't for everyone. This book is for someone whose diet is far cleaner than their mouth!
Our team member Courtney says this book is entertaining to read and will make you crave veggies! And the recipes are totally approachable, perfect for someone new to vegan cooking. One of our favorites is their Sriracha Cauliflower Bites with Peanut Dipping Sauce, a healthy but slightly addicting snack or appetizer.
Great gifts often offer the recipient a luxury they might otherwise not indulge in. Well, there’s a high probability that you know a chef out there who uses mediocre salt. Salt is such an important ingredient in cooking, and there’s more to it than just sea salt or mined salt. We found a salt so exceptional that it’s worth wrapping up and putting under the tree. It’s called Aztec Sea Salt, and the first thing we’ll say about it is that the flavor is phenomenal. The second thing being that it is unprocessed, straight from the sea, with no additives. You can learn more details about Aztec Sea Salt in our featured blog post.
For the Chocolate Lover
If you love raw chocolate, you have to check out Righteously Raw. We featured them as our August We Heart because we couldn’t get enough of it. They were kind enough to offer you a coupon for 15% off that’s good through the end of this year! Use this code: AMG15. You can read more about them on our blog here.
To Adorn and Keep Warm
Elizabeth McNear is the artist behind one of our favorite Etsy stores: Honest Alchemy. She uses 100% natural fibers, and dyes her fabrics using the ancient practice of fermented indigo dyeing.
She brews her indigo dyes in her studio in Philadelphia. She has reverence for this traditional technique, and has only slowly begun to add new techniques and colors to her repertoire. She says she's “in this for the rest of her life,” and is clearly devoted to mastering these techniques as she allows her business to grow organically.
Pictured is one of her silk scarves with a chevron tie dye design.
In addition to using fermented dyes, she also does screen printing. For all of you out there who like to follow the phases of the moon, one of the coolest things she does using screen printing is her lunar tides bandanas. These can be worn or hung on a wall. They might even look nice framed! This is a fun gift and also inexpensive.
To Give to the Host
Wine is a common thing to have in tow when going to dinner at a friend’s house. If you have a friend that is always looking to try a good wine, or someone who has been looking for a sustainably produced wine, we have a great recommendation.
Annmarie and Kevin actually visited this winery, located in Napa, California, to learn about their unique, earth-friendly vineyard. Rather than battling nature, Frog’s Leap farm uses smart, sustainable farming techniques to make organic wine. They do a better job of explaining it than we could:
“We know that healthy, vibrant, microbial-dense soil will better absorb the winter rains and provide for the nutritional and water needs of the plant all year long. We’ve learned that if we maintain biodiversity through cover crops and insectary borders that the vine will be able to communicate with other plants and bugs in a meaningful way. We see that when we tend our vineyards respectfully, humbly and with care that our vines are better able to use their canes and leaves to measure the angle of the sun, the length of the day and warmth of the evening air.”
Of course, we wouldn’t recommend this wine if it didn’t taste divine! Click here to check out their wines or read more about them.
For Someone Whose Head You Really Like
Even if you don’t get eight hours of sleep each night, you still spend a lot of time with your head on a pillow. Did you know that foams and fabrics are often treated with flame retardants like polyurethane and other chemicals. that are harmful to your health? And that bedsheets are often bleached and treated with chlorine?
If you want to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals, your pillow is a good place to start. Getting someone you love a natural pillow that also feels amazing to sleep on could really change their life!
We like pillows filled with kapok, a silky fiber from the pods of a Ceiba pentandra tree. It’s often referred to as a humane alternative to down pillows for its softness. For those allergic to down or wool, kapok is a great alternative. It’s naturally water resistant, and repels bacteria and dust mites! There’s a lot of great options out there. One we like is from White Lotus Home, which uses organic cotton cases and never adds perfumes, formaldehyde, or dyes.
Remember to be choosy this holiday season! You can vote with your dollar.
If you're looking to give the gift of organic skin care, check out our quality natural skincare gift sets!
Have any other recommendations for natural gifts? Tell us in the comments below!
by Hope Freije