It gets harder and harder each year to think of something original to give to family and friends, and I have to admit, the commercialism of Christmas, and the unnecessary buying, and the waste that goes along with the holidays can kind of put a damper on what it’s all about for me. Last year, I decided to “go green” with my gifts, and give things that I knew people would use and appreciate, things that were easy on the environment, and that would save my loved ones a little bit of cash-o-la in the months that follow.
I started by making a 5 gallon batch of my homemade laundry detergent, and everyone got a nice big jug or two of this awesome, natural, low-sudsing stuff. Save your juice/milk and laundry detergent jugs now, if you’re planning to give this away. (A SUPER easy way to remove the labels from your jugs is to blast them with the heat from your blow-dryer, while slowly peeling them off).
The recipe for my laundry soap is super-simple, and can be found here. You can whip up a batch his in less time than it takes to run out and buy some, and a 5 gallon batch can be made for pennies. Think of how long 5 gallons of laundry soap will last for! I love this detergent for so many reasons. A: it’s easy on the environment, B: it’s excellent for people with allergies and skin sensitivities, C: you’ll never run out of laundry detergent again, and D: you’ll be saving a TON of money.
I’m a huge fan of cleaning my home with environmentally friendly and natural products. They not only are they easy on the earth, eliminating chemicals in the home means better air quality, and over-all better safety and health for humans and pets. The cost-savings is a huge bonus as well. So along with the laundry detergent, I gave a shaker filled with Baking Soda (for scrubbing sinks, tubs, toilets and even grass/laundry stains when spritzed with a bit of vinegar).
A spray bottle filled with vinegar and water is excellent for cleaning kitchen surfaces, windows and glass. I’m sure you’ve heard about the many uses of vinegar. If not, this is a great article to start with. Vinegar is my go to cleaning product for everything: windows, glass, sinks, counters, floors etc. I even use it as a rinse agent in my dishwasher and as fabric softener in my washing machine. It. is. magic.
I LOVE my swiffer, but I didn’t love the expense and waste associated with commercial swiffer cloths, so I found an easy to knit pattern and made a bunch knitted swiffer cloths, and tucked one or two in with each “green gift”. You can just give them a shake outside, when they get dusty, or when necessary, toss them into the laundry to give them a good cleaning.
Each green gift also included a package of CFL bulbs and a power-bar. Power bars are great for plugging the t.v. and its components into, or the computer and its components, but if you make it a power-bar with a timer, and your recipient won’t even have to worry about turning the bar off at night. It will take care of itself.
Lastly, I tucked in a couple of bars of natural soaps from a health food shop, and a bottle of Martha Stewart’s eco-friendly Dish and Hand soap, which I picked up when it was on sale.
Package these items all together in a pretty basket or a cloth bag, and you have a really thoughtful, earth-friendly Christmas gift, that doesn’t break the bank. I had a ton of fun putting these together last year, and felt a real sense of satisfaction knowing that I was giving something that would be appreciated and put to good use.
I hope this inspires you to give a little “green” this Christmas! I’d love to hear about it, if it has. Get creative! And free to share your ideas and pictures on my facebook page anytime! Or to include your links in a comment here on my blog.
Merry Christmas!! :)