Every holiday season, I have such good intentions about using gift wrap and cards made from recycled paper, and trying to be ecologically-minded.

And after checking it out, I realized it’s not hard – or necessarily expensive – to enjoy an environmental Christmas. Here are some things for your holiday season.

Whole Earth Provision Co., 5400 E. Mockingbird, stocks recycled-paper gift wrap, and Earthnotes and Sierra Club holiday cards. Choose from Bandolier recycled-paper journals, note cards and stationery sets.

For the kids, Whole Earth has plenty of choices. There are environmentally themed rubber stamps, paper-making kits, Audubon Society puzzles, and World Wildlife Fund stuffed animals.

For the older child, take a look at the Smithsonian-developed “Environmental Test Kit”. (Among other things, the kit tests rain water for acid and determines biodegradability.)

Whole Earth offers the Organically Grown clothing line, which uses vegetable dyes and hand block-printed designs. The store also stock Patagonia, a company known for its quality outerwear, which offers a variety of cotton clothing and donates a percentage of its sales to preserving the natural environment.

Danforth Pewterers offers an assortment of nature-inspired earrings, tie tacks, pins, key rings, bookmarks, and buttons (not button covers, but actual buttons), and gives part of its proceeds to environmental causes.

Whole Foods Market, 2218 Greenville, offers recycled-paper gift wrap and cards; vegetable dye, tie-dyed T-shirts; and rain forest and endangered species floor puzzles. For the kids, “Re-Play” provides various odds and ends (springs, screws, PVC pipe, etc.) to create whatever their imagination inspires.

Whole Foods also offers kits from Friends of the Forest (you can buy 100 square feet of the Costa Rican rain forest) and Friends of the Ocean (adopt a humpback whale). Both cost $19.99 and include certificates, posters, registration cards, and updates on your acquisition. The staff at Whole Foods is dedicated to buying from companies that support environmental causes.

For your Epicurean friends, choose Ruta Maya coffee, available at both Whole Earth and Whole Foods. This 100 percent Arabica bean coffee is grown in Chiapas, Mexico. A percentage of the sales support cultural and educational studies of the Mayas, and another percentage aides reforestation projects.

Another gourmet gift is Rain Forest Crunch, available at various environmentally conscious shops. By purchasing this fruit and nut snack, you are helping preserve the rain forest.

Nature Company, NorthPark Center, is another one-stop environmental store, whose primary beneficiary is The Nature Conservancy (a membership to this organization would make a great gift). All wrapping paper and cards and sold here are made from recycled paper.

Bird feeders, bird baths, outdoor chimes, and sculptures made from recycled materials also are available. You also can select earrings made from used watch and compass pieces.

For the kids, Nature Company has much to offer. Teach your children environmental awareness with the Earth Lab, or let them monitor energy consumption with the Ecology Kit. And for $25, you can Adopt-an-Acre of rain forest in Belize. Venture to Citi in Deep Ellum, and stop by New Tee Sandra Garrett for a total ecological shopping experience. The floors and counters are made from recycled materials, and twig hangers are used.

Green cotton (not treated with formaldehyde or other chemicals) and water-based inks are used to create dresses, skirts, and unisex shirts, turtlenecks, and pants.

Choose from belts and purses made from recycled rubber tires. Also available are dried-fruit jewelry and natural potpourri.

If you’re concerned about our environment, I hope these ideas help you during this holiday season. For those of you who always have your shopping done by Thanksgiving – there’s always next year!


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