By Diane Porter
Green Right Now
Really, we shouldn’t think of them as gift baskets. We should think of them as stockings for adults, overflowing with fabulous presents for good girls and boys who have been green all year.
There are plenty of pre-made gift baskets, and sure, that is easier on you. But if you like being one of Santa’s elves, if you like filling the sleigh with cool green gifts that pre-made baskets can only dream of – and being sure of their content and origins – then you are in the right place. (Elves wear green, you know. It’s documented.)
A spa basket fit for Mother Earth
You know exactly who you’d give this to. The woman in your life who makes time for others (but not always for herself); who thinks of the extras (and acts like it’s nothing special); who gives and gives (yet rarely takes). She needs a reason to stop and breathe. Let’s put an assortment of those reasons into an eco-friendly gift basket that will soothe her skin, tickle her senses and tell her you’ve noticed.
The healing properties of a good long bath are nothing new – ancient peoples and modern marketers alike have rhapsodized about it. Bubble bath or bath salts make the water spa-worthy, and these products make it organic as well. Nimli’s In the Raw Bubble Bath ($38, pictured above) is infused with oils in seven scents (mango, lemongrass and sage, lavender and orange, grapefruit and tangerine, creamsicle, coco mango, and ginger and lime). The cork-stoppered bottle holds a generous 18 ounces.
We’re dreaming of these Organic Sea-Therapy Bath Salts ($18), which are made with crystallized kelp from an organic seaweed farm on the Brittany coast of France, and contain more than 60 minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and animo acids that detoxify the body and nourish the skin. In two scents: eucalyptus or lavender. From Eco Choices.
Soap can clean dirt off your skin, or it can wrap you in glycerin and the fragrance of essential oils. The Rainforest Site’s handcrafted Natural Glycerin Soap Cube ($5.50) comes in three scents: citrus zest, herbal whimsy (lavender, rosemary, peppermint and tea tree) or kitchen café (cinnamon, ginger and coffee). The colorful blocks of soap are made by The Enterprising Kitchen, which helps disadvantaged women in Chicago. The Rainforest Site sends some of its profits back into preserving rainforest, so this is one green product that does triple duty, helping women in Chicago gain job skills, supporting reforestation and using natural ingredients.
Or opt for the Handmade Botanical Spa Soap ($9 for one, $22 for three) from EcoChoices, which are made with organic oils (olive, palm and coconut) and organic botanical scents (unscented is available as well).
As in so many things in life, the accessories make all the difference. The Paw Prints Cotton Eye Mask ($10) from the Rainforest Site is made in Vietnam, and while it’s a sleep mask, we think it also helps with daydreaming in the bath. Vashon Organics offers Certified Organic Loofah sponges and gloves made in Paraguay ($3-$7.50), the first loofahs certified to be organically grown. And when she wraps herself in a hand-loomed Organic Cotton Bath Towel ($67, left) from EcoChoices, she’ll be wrapping herself in 100 percent Bergama organic cotton from the Aegean Sea region in Turkey, dyed with vegetable and natural dyes. All of these are fair-trade products, which support artisans and small businesses in developing nations, allowing them to earn a fair and decent wage and encouraging sustainable enterprises.
After the bath, she needs products to help her keep that luscious moisture in. Hollybeths organic Marigold & Basil Shea Butter ($22) sounds good enough to eat, but it’s meant to hydrate the skin and uplift her with citrus or lavender scents, sold by Nimli, a New York City company that buys carbon offsets to cover shipping and arranges direct shipment to customers to minimize environmental travel costs.
Thistle Farms Moisturizing Body Balm ($12) from the Rainforest Site will help soften rough elbows, knees and feet. It’s handmade from olive oil, almond oil, beeswax and essential oils by the women of Thistle Farms, a residential community in Nashville that helps rehabilitate women with histories of prostitution or drug addiction.
And there’s no better time for contemplation than after a soothing bath, when the pressing needs of the world have quieted, just for now. Finish her gift basket with two personal indulgences – a Tibetan Spa Soy Wax Candle ($15) from Fair Trade Online, and a handmade Tibetan Waterbird Journal ($11) from the Rainforest Site. We promise that when she reflects on you, it’ll all be good.