Green Christmas- Mommy of Toddlers Wishlist

by - Saturday, November 12, 2016

This is the newest in a long series of blogs where I implore you through long lists of cute stuff to buy less/better stuff! This Christmas, we will spend a lot of money on gifts. A lot. If we put all that money toward companies that respect their laborers and protect the environment, we can change the world. Every dollar we spend is a vote for the world we want to live in, so every time we buy Made in China junk at a big chain store, we say fast and easy is more important than good. That our selfish wants are more important than other's needs. I don't think that's what anyone really thinks, especially at Christmas, but I think it can feel like we don't have any choice. We do! So here is another shopping list to show that no matter what a person cares about, you can find them awesome, eco-friendly and socially-responsible gifts. We can do it!

toddler mom christmas list

My friend Mindy is an amazing mom to two toddler girls (the picture is old, but it is one of my favorites of her). She is also an amazing lifelong friend, who wrote me a Christmas list last year, which I am only finishing my research on now. Let the universe know, I am the flaky one. Still, I think most of what she asked for would still apply (though she may not be doing as much working out lately). I think her list reminds me that when your house is filled with toddlers, so much of what you want is not stuff. I think her ideas are genuinely some of the best I have seen writing these blogs, so I can't wait to share them with you.

Maid- I think Mindy meant it as a joke (she wrote "can I say that?!?"), but can I say, this is a KICKASS Christmas gift for the mom you know and love. No, I am not suggesting a longterm situation, but one afternoon of deep cleaning by a professional would probably cost around 100 dollars, and it could help keep everyone afloat. One gift card for a cleaning person for that cost (or even part of it) seems like one of the best gift ideas ever.

100 dollars is still steep, but you could get it  for the couple or for the whole family and then it isn't quite as bad. It's the kind of thing that seems to practical/ not fun to gift, but you know what is super fun? Having a clean house and not being exhausted because of it. If you are trying to be eco-friendly, you could look for someone who specializes in that, but the last thing a toddler's mom needs is more stuff to clean up.

Seriously, A+ gift.

Fit Bit Charger- Sadly, this one is not going to be easy to find used and impossible to find American-made, BUT you could still ask your Buy Nothing group, because people are tiring of fit bits, so they may have things to give away by now. A couple have gone up on mine.

babywearing jacket
from babywearing
Babywearing Jacket- Mindy is a genuinely spectacular baby-wearer (that girl has skills). If you are gifting for someone who is more of a novice, I recommend Solly Baby, or check out the list (Mindy helped me write) on the Green and American-Made Baby Registry.

My favorite I saw was this fleece jacket from Babywearing on Etsy, though Mindy is really looking for something both front and back). I want to point to them because they look really cozy and chic, plus they are made in Toronto! Wrap your Baby has a lot of options to find what you like best, as does Fun 2 Be Mum, but they are based out of Poland, so not local to most of us.

As a side note, I also think the babywearing extenders like this one from Extenderher would be great, because it just gives more use to the coat you already have.

french press coffee maker
Tao Industry from Amazon
French Press- Alright, the good news about a french press is that it is already an eco-friendly gift in comparison to Keurig's (please, friends don't buy friends Keurigs. Maybe the reusable cups, but that's it). The bad news is that most are made in China or Taiwan (a pretty long trip) with no good information on the ethics of their labor. But don't despair! I did find one from Tao Industry that is made in America. I also found two glass French Press companies- Bodum and Grosche that are at least partially made in Europe. Not clear.

Workout Clothes- Holy crap, there are TONS of American-made workout clothes! If I actually excercised, I would have gotten this good news long ago! The bad news is you are dealing with synthetic fibers, which is basically wearing plastic, so that makes it all the more important to buy things that will last (or are used- you'd be surprised what you can find). Better to buy one well-made piece than 5 that won't make it to next Christmas. Here is a big long list to start, but there are so many, so look around if you don't see what you want- Nux Active, WOD Gear, Yogasmoga, evolve's Made in USA filter, Beyond Yoga, Greater than Sports, and Fabletics.

Yoga Mat- So many choices, there is no reason to not get something eco-friendly. My yoga experience is all prego-related, when I could get out of Downward Dog judgement-free. I don't know anything about yoga gear, so I am purely looking for good reviews, eco-friendly materials, and domestic manufacturing (to cut down on fossil fuel use). My favorite is Hugger Mugger Yoga Mat. You can also check out Jade Harmony or Manduka, Modcloth is selling a really cute one this year too.

usa pan sauce pan made in america
from USA Pan on Amazon
Cookware Set- A whole set could be very expensive to buy in an ethical or Made in America set, so I might buy a pot, pan, or two (that will last this toddler momma a lot longer than a huge set at the same price) and fill out the collection over a number of years. If you want to get someone a pan that will last them forever (cutting down on waste), look at All-Clad. These pots and pans not cheap, but they are made in America, built to last, and absolutely beloved.

Want something a little more affordable? USA Pan offers a number of great sets of pans or you can gift each thing individually to fill in the blanks in your collection.Check their website- it's cheaper.  American Kitchen also sells each individually on their website. From what I can tell, Calphalon's nonstick pans are made in Toledo, Ohion, but their regular pans are made in China, so just keep them in the nonstick section.  Farberware also has a line of Earth Pans, which seems to be a great idea, but has some execution issues. 360 Cookware also makes saute pans.

Day at the Spa- Another great option if you don't want to add to the mass of stuff in a loved ones house. I have a toddler, and let me tell you, those minimalists have a point. More stuff just means more to clean.

If you are gifting a massage or spa kind of gal, a gift certificate makes an amazing gift. An offer to watch her kid while she goes makes it even better. Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is a break.

A Few More Ideas

I have a few ideas to add to her list that might spark the perfect idea for you while you shop. Might be great!

An Instacart or Meal Gift Card- On the same wavelength as a cleaning lady or day at the spa, a parent with toddlers may be really happy to get a meal delivered every once in a while. A gift card to their favorite pizza place or take out restaurant might be awesome. Also good? Money toward instacart (if they live somewhere with that as an option) because a break from the grocery store might be cool too.

kids jumping on a trampoline

Gift cards for Pictures or Picture Books- Most people take a lot more pictures once they have kids in the house (I think I may take less- my hands are never free!). In the age of cell phones, it can be easy to never use those photos for anything, but I know most of us will wish we could look at pictures of our kiddos once they grow up. One of my friends makes a photobook with all of her instagram posts. You can always do it on Shutterfly, or you can get a gift card for somewhere cooler like Blurb or Artifact Uprising.

toy storage basket
Colonial Mills from Amazon
Toy Storage- Not fun, not glamorous, but certainly helpful. You need to know the momma well enough to know what she needs, but I know I am always looking for storage that is not horrible to look at. You might be able to get them a bookshelf or some other wood shelving at your local consignment store for cheaper than you can buy a dress. I know I have been lusting over baskets to contain the toys, specifically Colonial Mills baskets that are made in America and look beautiful. You could also look into benches or ottomans with storage. But storage is beloved, at least at my house.

If you are still feeling shoppy, check out my big honking list of lists for more shopping ideas!

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