Christmas trees are as naturally suited to the holidays as misltetoe and evergreen wreaths, inspiring indie collaboratives to create gifts for good girls and boys from green-minded materials.
Get baby a soft gift that jingles from Crafty Baby. Their mom made, hand-stitched Clutch Ball comes in 22 different patterns and is divided into four sections for easy gripping, grabbing, gnawing and throwing. Lightweight jingle bells make it festive while machine washability make it functional. Free shipping on all orders $50 and up.
Keep little frozen snack-loving hands from getting cold with Icy
Pop Treat Cozies from Luna Lou. The reusable felt sleeves are
easy-to-use, eco-chic, and way better than using an endless supply
of wadded up paper towels or messy napkins to soak up drips.
Handmade by mom
and PR consultant, Lizzie Sorensen, each cozy is designed to stay
dry and wick away moisture from yogurt tubes, electrolyte pops and
more. Freebie: Luna Lou's
fill-in-the-blank Dear Santa letter.
Mini treehuggers who crave naturally beautiful wooden toys need look no further than Little Sapling Toys for planet-friendly presents. The Boise, Idaho-based mom-and-pop shop creates a collection of solid maple grasping and teething shapes (think maple leaves, animals, teeth, dinosaurs, states, and my personal fave, an ASL-inspired hand sign) the likes of which you won't find anywhere else. Each teether is sanded until smooth and left unfinished, and best of all, a tree is planted for every toy sold.
Everybody needs a chum, and when you're a snuggle-loving little
one, the stuffed variety will do just fine. Blabla, a marvelously offbeat, artsy children's
company, makes its line of handmade Giant Dolls (Classic dolls and
Boogaloos, too) from all natural fibers,
grown and hand-knit by a collective of Peruvian artisans. Though
contemporarily styled, the dolls are made to feel as broken in and
comfy and as old friends. Free ground
shipping within the continental U.S. through December 25. Visit
Blabla's blog from December 1-12 to get 20% off a
Encourage imaginative play with award-winning Adorable Kinders rag dolls from parent-owned Granza, Inc. Each soft, 18-inch doll in the 26-doll collection is multicultural, dressable, named for a letter of the alphabet (Alise to Zachary), and based on an active group of kindergarten friends. Use the included internet key code to join the educational online Adorable Kinders eSchool. Additional accessories like clothes, shoes and furniture are available, too, including paper doll sets.
Let the kids dabble in design with help from mom-run RUVAcards. Their 24 magnet set can be customized to feature your own child's artwork, then packaged in a limited edition (read: distressed, discolored, possibly rusted) upcycled vintage container complete with personalized label. Can't decide on one masterpiece or have more than one child? Scan and send up to four different designs and divide the amount out among the set.
Give the gift of DIY with Child to Cherish. Kick off the holidays with their Grandma's Little Baker suitcase series. Each food-grade, decorative tin suitcase comes with a kid-sized kitchen apron, recipe booklet, rolling pin and three cookie cutters. Or, try their holiday Handprint Ornament to create a one-of-a-kind homemade piece with included non-toxic plaster, instructions on casting your child's hand, and a red ribbon for hanging. The Christmas Plant A Tree kit is pretty cool too, and though the directions are complicated (read: long and involved), green thumbs might find that this is the perfect way to start a new family tradition.
Encourage Congress to amend the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act act (to take effect in February 2010) so we can keep our children safe while protecting handmade toys and clothing like the ones you see in Cosmotot's Jolly Holiday Guide. Get more information from my friends at Cool Mom Picks.
Maria Pilar Clark is a mom times two and Windy City-based writer.
See more of Pilar's stories here.