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2011 gift guide: eco finds under $100

by Ashley

I adore the holiday season. From candlelit nights and spiked eggnog to evergreen boughs on the mantel and solstice soirees, the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve is one of my most-beloved times of the year. I can’t get enough of sitting beside the wood stove in my flannel PJs, mug of hot cocoa in hand. I clamor for nights on the couch nestled under a blanket and watching Love Actually (I finally broke down and bought a copy after years of renting it, and still, after more viewings than I care to share, I weep with happiness when Jamie proposes to Aurelia). I eagerly anticipate checking out the incredible annual offerings at the nearby Grove Park Inn’s National Gingerbread House Competition (everything on these intricate, highly creative houses must be edible; some of them truly boggle the mind in their inventiveness). In short, if it’s holiday minded, more often than not, I’m a fan.

While I often make many of the items I give, I’m always on the prowl for gifts that are as nice to behold (and bestow) as they are beneficial to the environment. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite ecologically minded treasures for holiday gifting. There’s something for every budget, and nothing over $100 (so you can save some green while going green). I’ve got things for growing, eating, reading and wearing and for helping you tread more lightly on this verdant planet in the process. Here’s wishing you and yours a joyous, healthy, happy holiday season! — Ashley English

Image above: 1. The Green Beauty Guide, $16.95; 2. Recycled Stainless-Steel Origami Pendant, $39.95; 3. “Etcetera” Boogaloo Toy, $34.00; 4. Paper Seed Potter, $15.49; 5. Cherrywood Honey Stick, $10.00; 6. Honeybee Habitat Scatter Garden, $17.00; 7. Wooden Clothes Drying Rack, $89.00

*This post was brought to you by Home Depot.

Image above: 1. Edible Flower Seed Bomb, $7.00; 2. Tron Birch Earrings, $46.00; 3. Dark Chocolate Salted Caramels, $11.75: 4. Shiitake Mushroom Kit, $19.95; 5. Pomegranate Tote, $44.00; 6. Countertop Bag Dryer, $20.00; 7. High-Top Sneakers, $56.00; 8. Beechwood Diblett, $7.00

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  • I’m so disappointed! The paper seed potter link (#4) is broken. I searched the site but couldn’t find the item. I hope it’s not sold out already!

  • I too noted that the link for the paper seed potter is broken… it looks like a fabulous gift in itself – or you could make those sweet little pots as gifts throughout the year – maybe giving them away at Easter! Super cute – I will keep searching for one of these. Looks like something that Lee Valley (up here in Canada) might carry.

    • Hi guys –
      I’m checking in with Ashley on the link and will report back as soon as I hear from her.

  • Re: the Green Beauty Link: I was wondering if Design Sponge would consider linking to IndieBound rather than Amazon when promoting books. Amazon is intentionally harming small businesses, as evidenced by their recent offer of up to $15 dollars in discounts to anyone who walks into a store, scans the item on an iphone app, leaves the store, and then purchases the item off of Amazon instead. You can read about this tactic here:
    and here:

    Thanks for taking a look. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    • Minna

      I just heard about this amazon issue and will definitely be changing the links to Indie Bound from now on. I’m hoping that’s a policy they change.


  • My husband and I bought 4 boxes of those mushrooms last year for Holiday gifts – so disappointing! NONE of them worked. We wrote the company and they only sent us one replacement… and even that one didn’t work!! They just festered with a green slimy mold in the top. Sad to say after writing them for the second time – no response.

  • sorry about the wonky link on the paper seed potter! i’ve fixed it now!

    minna-yes, indie bound from here on out it is. like grace, i also only just learned about the amazon issue.

    sarah-oh no! that’s awful! i had no idea. sincere regrets. i’ve seen them around asheville and as a serious mushroom lover, thought they’d make a fantastic gift. good to know, though. guess it’s time to start that shiitake mushroom log i’ve been intending to get going now!

  • nice list.

    small correction: back to the roots mushroom kit grows oyster mushrooms, not shitake.

  • Grace,
    I’m so glad! It’s a great way to use your voice for this important issue. Your stance is even more meaningful because you’re an author. Thanks for your continued support of local economies and independent retailers.