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Dreaming of a Green Christmas

By November 6, 2019 No Comments

By Lee Williams and Cynthia Wahl
Photo by Ralph Lauer

Be an eco-friendly elf this holiday season and give a gift that is kind to Planet Earth.

Nothing says Christmas like the unruly waste produced by gifts under the tree.

Whether it’s wrapping paper stuffed into trash bags, gobs of plastic toys or gifts that do nothing but take up space until they’re banished to the landfill, this holiday is easily the most eco-unfriendly of them all.

How ironic that green is such a popular color for the season, considering the excess.

We’d all like — well, most of us, anyway — to be kinder to our environment and reduce our wasteful footprint, and we’ve shown progress, from actively recycling to refusing to buy water in bottles and scoffing at plastic straws. Still, it’s annoying to see white plastic grocery bags and other trash loitering next to fences or walls around DFW.

Being more responsible gift givers is the inspiration behind 76092’s holiday and pro-earth gift guide.

We set out to find gifts that are eco-friendly, organic, sustainable — and were slightly surprised at how much is available.

Here are some of our favorite finds.

Kids

Dancing Alligator

Green factor This gator is one of many toys produced by Plan Toys, a California-based company that is sustainable from start to finish, including materials (water-based dyes); manufacturing (solar energy); and community service (reforestation program).
Worth noting The alligator makes a click-clack sound and its head and tail move up and down when being pulled. For ages 12 months and up.
Where The Toy Maven, Shops of Southlake, 1275 E. Southlake Blvd., thetoymaven.com
Price $24.99

Animal Parade A to Z

Green factor A great way for littles to learn the alphabet, this colorful Begin Again puzzle is made of plantation-grown and sustainable rubber wood.
Worth noting Each letter represents an animal; and our favorite is U, for unicorn.
Where The Toy Maven, Shops of Southlake, 1275 E. Southlake Blvd., thetoymaven.com
Price $39.99

Recycling Truck and Elmo’s Wagon

Green factor Besides the Recycling Truck’s name and color, this toy is made of 100 percent recycled plastic and is nontoxic. Elmo’s Wagon also is made of recycled plastic and its package is printed with eco-friendly ink.
Worth noting Both toys are made by Green Toys, a California-based company that prides itself on safe and earth-friendly products for children. Elmo’s Wagon is part of Green Toys’ Sesame Street collection.
Where The Toy Maven, Shops of Southlake, 1275 E. Southlake Blvd., thetoymaven.com
Prices Recycling Truck $27.99; Elmo’s Wagon $24.99

Wear

Mare Able phone wallet

Green factor Able is a lifestyle brand focused on ending poverty through providing opportunities for women. There are factories in Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru and Nashville. This wallet is named after Mare, one of the women with whom Able works. Mare has worked at the factory in Ethiopia for a little over a year. There, she prepares and stitches the leather. When she’s not working, Mare attends accounting school. Because of her work, she is able to support her family and send her niece to school.
Worth noting The phone wallet is the perfect size for carrying your cards and your phone, and the wristlet band makes it easy to carry.
Where Sugarboo & Co., Southlake Town Square, 1418 Main St., sugarbooandco.com
Price $78

Bamboo Silky Weave Infinity Scarf

Green factor We love this easy-to-wear scarf, which is made of 100 percent organic bamboo and is hand dyed and woven by members of a women’s co-op in the highlands of Guatemala.
Worth noting Altiplano is based in Vermont and Guatemala and works with co-ops and small family businesses to produce products that support indigenous communities and the environment.
Where Orvis, Park Village, 1101 E. Southlake Blvd., orvis.com
Price $89

Patagonia Brodeo Beanie

Green factor This handy little hat is made of recycled nylon and recycled wool,
which reduces waste in both product arenas.
Worth noting Patagonia has a variety of products, such as sweaters and shirts, made from the same eco-friendly materials.
Where Tyler’s, Southlake Town Square, 1420 Civic Place, tylerstx.com
Price $35

Smartwool Women’s Fireside Cable Cabin Trio

Green factor These warm and comfortable socks are made of ethically sourced merino wool from a variety of countries, including New Zealand and South Africa.
Worth noting Smartwool also manufactures shirts, sweaters, dresses, skirts, jackets and underwear.
Where Orvis, Park Village, 1101 E. Southlake Blvd., orvis.com
Price $59

Men’s Farm to Feet socks

Green factor The farm-to-table concept takes a detour with these perfect-fitting socks that are made in the U.S. and produced by sustainable practices, from materials (merino wool) to manufacturing to animal welfare.
Worth noting In 2018, Farm to Feet reduced the average weight of sock packaging by 21 percent by using Forest Stewardship Council certified paper products.
Where Orvis, Park Village, 1101 E. Southlake Blvd., orvis.com
Price $21

Home

Casper mattress

Green factor All foam used in Casper memory foam mattresses is free of ozone-depleting chemicals and is low in VOC emissions. Also, Casper mattresses don’t contain fire retardant chemicals; instead, they have a woven silica sock just under the mattress cover. In the event of a fire, the sock melts and suffocates the oxygen needed for the fire to burn.
Worth noting Your mattress arrives in a box. Once you carry the box into your bedroom (you’ll need a little help), you open it and release the tightly folded mattress, which expands like a fast-blooming flower.
Where Casper, Southlake Town Square, 1435 Main St., casper.com
Price The Casper (the original mattress) starts at $595 on up to $1,195

Photo courtesy of Casper

Soft Surroundings bamboo sheets

Green factor Luxurious bamboo sheets are made from renewable sources and will change the way you feel about linens. The bamboo is harvested and transformed into rayon, which provides silky soft sheets that are moisture-wicking and can adapt to your body temperature, which is especially nice during the summer months.
Worth noting Sheets come in solid colors or paisley. Make sure to read the wash instructions; cold water, no bleach and low dry.
Where Soft Surroundings, Southlake Town Square, 150 State St., softsurroundings.com
Price $198.95 for a queen set

Photo courtesy of Soft Surroundings

Moon Rivers Naturals soaps

Green factor This soap is vegan and cruelty free with no synthetic additives or preservatives. The soaps are handmade, hand cut and hand packaged.
Worth noting Made in Hawkins, Texas, the Chai Spice soap features chai tea, clove essential oil and cinnamon, while the Clay Detox is a mix of bentonite clay and peppermint essential oil.
Where American Threads, Southlake Town Square, 263 Grand Ave., shopamericanthreads.com
Price $7 for approximately 4.5-ounce bar


Lafco candles

Green factor Lafco New York candles are soy based and 100 percent biodegradable and have a cotton wick that provides a clean, nontoxic burn. Less soot and longer burn, baby!
Worth noting There’s a special holiday collection, which includes White Snowdrop (citrus blend of bergamot, lemon and orange with a soft bouquet of heliotrope and tonka bean) and Crimson Berry (scents of lemon and orange, cranberry, raspberry, eucalyptus and vanilla). Both are housed in handblown glass.
Where Sample House, 1275 E. Southlake Blvd., samplehouse.com
Price Votive, $17.50; Classic 6.5 ounce, $45; Signature 15.5 ounce, $65 (not shown)

Lush’s Little Green Bag

Green factor The colorful bag is filled with healthy soaps and oils, including The Olive Branch Naked Shower Gel that is a blend of citrus and fair trade olive oil. The bag is reusable and can be turned into a scarf or headband.
Worth noting The bags come prepackaged, but there’s plenty of room to add more soap and such.
Where Lush, Southlake Town Square, 1431 Main St., lushusa.com
Price $39.95

Friends

Wild Woolies felt birdhouse

Green factor Skilled artisans working in a fair-trade production center make these hand-felted natural wool birdhouses. The wool dries quickly after a rain, if placed outside.
Worth noting The 1.25-inch hole only allows in small birds, such as chickadees, wrens and downy woodpeckers. There’s an opening at the bottom that makes it easy to clean out old nesting.
Where Sugarboo & Co., Southlake Town Square, 1418 Main St., sugarbooandco.com
Price $36

Pet toy, wash and shampoo

Green factor The Monsters, Inc. themed toy is stuffed with eco-friendly filling, thus when it is ultimately torn apart and ingested by your pup, at least it’s all natural. The Aroma Paws face, coat and paw wash, and repellent shampoo and conditioner are organic.
Worth noting Dogs’ skin is three times thinner than that of humans, so it’s much more susceptible to toxins.
Where Three Dog Bakery, Shops of Southlake, 1251 E. Southlake Blvd., threedogdfw.com (The Southlake store is closing at the end of the year and relocating to Flower Mound.)
Price Toy, $13.99; wash, $12.99; shampoo, $13.99

Useful

JadeYoga Harmony mat

Green factor Eco-friendly is what Jade is all about. Its yoga mats are made of natural rubber from trees, and for every mat sold, Jade plants a tree (through Oct. 30, the number of trees planted was 1,753,052). The mats are made in the United States.
Worth noting Jade sells a variety of yoga mats, as well as organic cotton rugs and other green products.
Where REI, Park Village, 100 E. Southlake Blvd., rei.com
Price The mat shown here, the Harmony, starts at $79.95

Photo courtesy of JadeYoga

Caus cup, water bottle and tumbler

Green factor Each of these beverage holders benefits a different cause, from providing clean drinking water and pet rescue and adoption, to fighting women’s cancers.
Worth noting With the purchase of a This Is My Caus product, 25 percent of the profit is donated to charity partners worldwide, including Kay Yow Cancer Fund, World Help, Samaritan’s Purse, Polaris and Red Rover.
Where Altar’d State, Southlake Town Square, 1450 Main St., altardstate.com
Price Large tumbler, $34; water bottle, $34; coffee tumbler, $26

Warby Parker sunglasses

Green factor Warby Parker is one of the only carbon-neutral eyewear brands in the world.
Worth noting The company partners with VisionSpring to donate a pair of glasses to anyone in need for every pair of sunglasses sold. Prices are kept low because WP cuts out the middleman by designing and producing its own eyewear.
Where Warby Parker, Southlake Town Square, 215 Grand Ave., warbyparker.com
Price $95 and up

Entertaining

Eco marble cutting board

Green factor These sturdy cutting boards are made from 100 percent recycled food-grade polypropylene.
Worth noting Dishwasher-safe, it is nice enough for use as a cheese tray, buffet server or charcuterie board.
Where The Container Store, Southlake Town Square, 1200 Main St., containerstore.com
Price $19.99

Umani Ronchi CaSal di Serra

Green factor An Italian dry white wine, this easy-to-drink verdicchio is made with organically farmed grapes.
Worth noting This fruit-forward wine is rich and fresh and has a distinctively dry finish. It carries a 91-point rating from Wine Enthusiast. There are other organic wines available.
Where Central Market,  Shops of Southlake, 1425 E. Southlake Blvd.
Price $18.95

Dr. Sue’s Texas Mendiants

Green factor We love Dr. Sue’s Chocolate and these dark chocolate wafers (made on-site) that exude antioxidants. These gluten-free products have no preservatives or artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, and are organic, when possible. This treat is topped with pecans, smoked sea salt and coriander — and a candied jalapeno for bite.
Worth noting Dr. Sue, a practicing internist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas donates a significant portion of proceeds to local outreaches that foster health in our community.
Where Dr. Sue’s Chocolate, 417 S. Main St., Grapevine, drsueschocolate.com
Price $18

Note: Prices are for retail stores; all items may not be available on websites.

Just Because

Tesla Model X SUV

Green factor This roomy SUV runs on electricity and can go up to 325 miles before needing to be recharged. The Model X is remarkably quiet, especially when compared with its gas-guzzling peers. The Performance model goes from 0 to 60 in 2.7 seconds.
Worth noting One of our favorite features is the built-in holiday music and light show set to Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Wizards in Winter, complete with synchronized flashing lights, turn signals and rising back doors.
Where Tesla Showroom, Southlake Town Square, 257 Grand Ave., tesla.com
Price $85,000 to $135,000

Photo courtesy of Tesla