Green Gift-Giving

Keeping it Green This Holiday is a series of posts about minimizing your environmental footprint in a season that can easily be excessive.   A beautiful holiday can be had by making things from scratch, spending time at home and outdoors, and less time worrying about to-do lists and ‘getting it done’.   Check out the rest of the series on, and have a happy and green holiday!


Gift-giving is a central part of the holiday season. Giving is always best when the gift makes the giver and the receiver feel great during the exchange, and after.  Here are some tips on how to use your purchasing power with your environmental footprint in mind, as well as some ideas on how to be creative with gifts and decorations this holiday season.

One way to cut down on consumption this holiday is to have a secret Santa (where everyone picks names from a hat), rather than everyone giving gifts to one another individually.  It means one special person to focus on, and one great gift to source.


Things you love, things you love to do, and how to find them in the greater St. John’s area. Sometimes it’s made right here – other times it’s made by you!  Supporting local goes a long way.  Check it out!

Purchasing Power


Vintage: Quality vintage clothes last forever and it’s not hard to find something unique. If you have someone in your family with a penchant for retro, a gift certificate to Model Citizens wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Charlottestreet Fashion: Handmade clothing from recycled sweaters, right here in St. John’s.

Johnny Ruth/Living Planet: sourced ethically and they have an amazing selection.  Friendly staff – a very fun place to shop.

Knitted goods   

Check out Nonia, or the Craft Council shop for all your knitted goods needs. Craft fairs in St. John’s or around the bay are also great places to find hand-knitted goods. It’s also great to support local knitters, who work so hard at their craft.



 Locally made cutting boards, spoons and walking sticks, make beautiful and functional gifts.  Check out the Craft Council shop for some wooden wonders.

Food & Drink

If you’re visiting someone on the Mainland, a taste of your home is always appreciated. Newfoundland Chocolate Company is a great place to start, with delicious chocolates filled with local berries. Local wines are another option, Auk Island Winery makes a variety of berry wines, including “Funky Puffin.” If wine and chocolate aren’t your thing, how about some bottled moose or bakeappel jam?

Made By Me –


Nobody can turn down a tin of cookies or squares. Just be sure to be conscious of allergies/dietary restrictions!

Hot chocolate spoons look pretty and would be fun for a snowy evening.

Homemade pickles, chutney, jam. This can be a fairly inexpensive gift idea. Especially if you make your  jam from berries you’ve picked yourself. Also, you get to hone your canning skills (if you’re new to preserving, it’s always a good idea to try this with an experienced friend).

Check out this link, for more edible gifts that can be put in mason jars.

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KnittingRavelry is the mecca of free, inexpensive, and beautiful knitting/crocheting patterns.

Sewing: Make something crafty-clothing, quilt, bag, potholder and learn a new skill at the same time. Craftster is a great way to find cool projects with tutorials.

Mix Tape/CD

It’s always nice to receive a playlist mix tape/CD, a personalized playlist of music, selected just for you.  Always respect the artist – buy the music!

Eco-Friendly Cleaner

Here’s a super practical gift…and a new option for those looking to avoid chemical cleaning products, but don’t know where to start. Check out this page for some recipe ideas

Gift Certificates

Gift Certificates, though sometimes considered an impersonal choice, are nice in terms of environmental footprint. Instead of buying a whole bunch of trinkets that may be thrown away, your recipient can carefully choose a gift that they will be sure to use and enjoy. A gift certificate for what? Restaurants! Bookstores! Music stores! Electronics! Movie tickets! A game of golf! Anything with options…

Time Well Spent

Instead of another material thing, a very nice thing is to give the gift of time spent together. Take your loved one(s) to a concert, play, horseback ride, or on a trip!

The Gift of Giving

Giving someone ‘the gift of giving’ is an idea well within the holiday spirit… Donating to a local charity in their name is one way to do this (spending the same amount you would have spent on their gift). Another great way to give this gift, is via a Global Giving gift card. You can put as much money as you want on the card, and your recipient gets to choose from a multitude of charities around the world.

30 days day 10.

20131024_13042012:10 lunch flow with mel – very nice way to middle up the day.

observation:  at the start, i figured 10 days would be a bit of a milestone, and anticipated that it would start getting onerous.  while it’s becoming more challenging to keep space for the class in the day, it’s not onerous.  feeling good, feeling flexible in mind and body, and feeling inspired makes it sustainable.

the yoga door is open.

think small – Small Business Saturday

it’s Small Business Saturday, and Canada is on about shopping small! 

shopping small means business in your community – extra points for the planet (and you!) if you shop local and small.

from the bakery to the farmer’s market to the ice cream shop, to the chocolatier to neat cool stuff that other people in other places can’t get because they don’t make it there.  buy that stuff.   and meet the people who bring it to you.  Top Stop – St. John’s Farmers Market 9-2, Lions Club Chalet behind the ReMax Centre, Bonaventure Avenue!

Canada's Small Business Saturday

what’s that buzzzzz? all balm and honey at paradise bee farm

during the summer of 2011 green team visited paradise bee farm and met beekeeper aubrey goulding.   very cool guy and kind of a bee-whisperer.  the team says it was fascinating ~ and according to the way mike is looking at the bees, it was all that and more!

the bees do good things and good business, and it ain’t all about the honey.   paradise farms bee natural products help take care of important things like hands and lips and babies.

aubrey is all about the bees, and paradise farms offers workshops that teach others how to keep the bees.   there will be another workshop later in the spring.  call  (709) 782-1435 or email get on the list! 

check it out, and check out the paradise farms site –

the future of green – children say

no green to be seen today – st. john’s is white with snow, but these kids show that there is green in the future!   in the summer of 2011, Green Team chatted with the 12 and under set to learn what they see as sustainable practice.  check out what they have to say!

the cheese course – Five Brothers Artisan Cheese

newfoundland camembert?  yes!    chevre?  yes!

there is good, really good handmade artisan cheese out there byes.

when Green Team heard about Five Brothers last summer, they got excited and caught up with owner and cheesemaker adam blanchard.

Five Brothers products are available at Food For Thought and Nourish Bakery.  and keep an eye out for more places in 2012 – fb Five Brothers.  ( facebook ‘likes’ ’em)

Five Brothers Artisan Cheese

where did that come from? sourcing ethically

downtown st. john’s is the place to buy wonderful stuff, and Green Team put some serious thought into just how does that stuff gets wonderful.  they found out that businesspeople – like kim winsor of rocket, johnny ruth, and living planet – put a lot of thought into where what they sell comes from.

this video is now of the vintage variety with its great shots of the old johnny ruth from summer 11.  in mid-December the fashion superette – an integration of Johnny Ruth and Living Planet opened downtown, and all the good practices just keep on going!

my favourite things

the top three things that happened to me in the past seven days:

1.  today garbage day.  this is a disgrace because im a green wanna be.

2.  the perfect coffee.    after numerous, too numerous failures with the moka pot, after the gaggia pure gave up, i made a perfect cup.  made my day.  made my week.

3.  when they eat what i cook.  six people:  71-year old who eats bologna.  46 year old who does not want meat or anything white.  12 year old who likes white.  9 year old who likes white.  seven year old who likes not much.  but they all ate the  macaroni & cheese!