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A Solution for Gift-Giving Angst


photo courtesy of Josh Jakus

A friend called me up the other day, and I immediately detected panic in her voice. “I have so much to do!” she said. “Are you done with your holiday shopping yet? What do you want me to get you? Why don’t YOU sound stressed?”

Yes, ‘tis the season to stress out. I did my best to calm her and offered her some ideas of good gift sources (more on that below). Then I tried to explain my Zen-like state during this holiday season. It’s actually pretty simple: When I started to become more aware of how easy it is to be kind to the environment without having to make lifestyle sacrifices, the holidays became less stressful to me. All I had to do was reduce and refocus.

Reduce: It’s good to give, but it’s better to give less.

Refocus: it’s best to give green gifts.

Eco-friendly gifts have been a big topic of discussion at work, where we’ve been working on the Greenopia gift guide. Then my boss Gay went on The View from the Bay to talk about where to find gifts around the city (see the clip here). While researching the market for good gift ideas, I’ve found more than expected and certainly more than last year. I was especially excited by gifts from local producers, like Mandy Aftel, who creates the most exotic and lovely perfumes and body products, and Josh Jakus, who makes wool wine pockets and coasters made from factory excess. I narrowed down the long list for the complete guide.


photo courtesy of Mandy Aftel

Of course, what inevitably happens is that I want it all for myself. But in the spirit of the season, I will instead bestow these eco-friendly finds upon my loved ones (and I’ll secretly hope that my friend takes the hint and gets me something from the list).