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Christmas Products Review

Christmas Products Review
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Several Christmas items were reviewed by Lynn Colwell, co-author of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and co-founder of the nationwide non-profit initiative, Green Halloween®. Lynn notes a variety of ways to reuse products such as a felt goodie bag, discusses eco-friendly gift wrapping options, and highlights Christmas themed seed packet favors.

DIY is my middle name, but I know there are large numbers of green leaning folks who prefer buying to making.

Obviously, we’re not going to shop our way to sustainability, but purchasing items that will be kept for years, that are recyclable or compostable, is so much better for the environment than spending on things with a brief life span that end up in the landfill.

About a year ago, we were contacted by Monica Garg Singhal, who had launched an online green party shop. Like many entrepreneurs, especially women, her vision emerged when she couldn’t find what she wanted. In this case that was eco-friendlier party supplies all in one place. Thus was born Eco Party Time.

Monica is committed to bringing her customers the best in eco-quality goods. But, she shared with me the challenges this presents. “Few suppliers are fully ‘green,’” she said.  “If the product is sustainably made, maybe they aren’t yet there with the packaging. Or they offer Fair Trade items made by people whose income depends on their skills, but what goes into the item isn’t necessarily eco-friendly.”

It’s a conundrum many well-meaning store owners (as well as buyers) face and there is no one good answer.

Monica has made the best choices she can under the circumstances. She will soon be seeking Green America’s Business Seal of Approval which will be helpful in choosing suppliers who provide the most sustainable options.

In the meantime, items at Eco Party Time cover the green spectrum from those that are not necessarily made from eco-friendly materials, and/or come from overseas, to those that are recycled and/or can be recycled and are handmade in the U.S.

Goods that are not eco-friendly in themselves, are meant to be re-used many times and may become family heirlooms or can be passed from one person to the next. It’s up to you to check out items you like to see where on the green scale they fit so that you can purchase based on your own needs and values.

Below I highlight the Christmas items Monica sent us to check out and review.

Put the meaning in the greening

Leaving milk and cookies for Santa is a part of many families’ Christmas ritual, so I can see the well-made felt placemat below becoming something the kids look forward to unpacking and using for many years, then passing on to their own children. (All the felt items at Eco Party Time are made by artisans in China, whom Monica knows are treated and paid fairly.)

Another in the line of felt items I like is this party bag which is  nicely designed, and comes with a snowflake ornament. I think it would be fun for a child to use a bag like this in place of a stocking or to reuse by designating it as the bag to hold her annual gift for mom. Of course we encourage you to come up with your own traditions around reusing these items–ways to, as we say, “put the meaning in the greening.”

Green gift wrapping options

Monica’s store also carries some great wrapping options including  100% recycled gift bags,  manila hemp twine ribbon and  mulberry blend gift wrap.

I especially want to mention the  sinamay mesh that can be used as ribbon on packaging or as decor. You might not be familiar with this eco-friendly material woven from the fibers of a type of banana tree found mainly in the Philippines. I like to use it as a better-for-the-planet choice than wired ribbon as it holds its shape beautifully, but is light weight.

Lastly, we love, love, love the idea of giving seeds for table gifts or stocking stuffers and Eco Party Time offers  seed packets decorated for the holidays. They can be personalized, and unfortunately, because of this, the minimum order is 24, but if you’re holding a big family event, they make a good choice. What would make them better? One hundred percent PCW paper for the envelopes and printing with soy based or other non-toxic inks.

This post addresses only the Christmas items at Eco Party Time, but the shop is filled with a nice variety of items for birthdays, weddings and other special events.

Reviewed By:

Lynn Colwell

CelebrateGreen.net



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