Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Green Christmas: A One Year Old's Christmas List

The Bub just had his first birthday, and according to the updates on my phone, this makes him a toddler. I am not sure what counts as toddling, but he is on the move. This might be a helpful list for anyone giving to  someone celebrating their second Christmas. He or she are too old for the infant gifts, but not quite old enough to straight up tell you what they want yet.

 Even if he can't say it out loud, our Bub makes it clear that he wants two things: garbage and food (and sometimes he counts those as one).

We can suggest garbage over and over as a gift (really, just decorate your biggest box and he'll be a happy boy), but I know I would want to buy a more substantial gift, so this is a list to inspire you. You can find tons of neat stuff for toddlers that are still green: eco-friendly, recycled/ used, or Made in America!

Cooking Toys
Toys on Wheels
Stuff to Eat and Drink With
Simple Clothes

Books- You can never go wrong with books. Most board books are made in China, so I would start looking at consignment shops for those (not to mention book sales, where you can find great stuff!), but many regular children's books are manufactured in the US! And you can never have too many. And if you get doubles, you can always donate them. This is one on my list for The Bub. Yay books!

Cooking Toys- The Bub loves his pots and pans, and he loves being in the kitchen while his dad cooks. I think by 2 (so somewhere in your little toddler's year), he would love to fiddle in a play kitchen or with his own pots and pans (not the ones he steals from the kitchen and hides in his box).

First of all (and no one take this personally because we have kept and loved your gifts), can I just say I kind of hate Melissa and Doug toys? Those jerks are shisters, and one of their items comes up in any "Made in America" search. I don't know which person in marketing did that, but they deserve a raise. Their toys are so cute and nostalgic, they look handmade, perfect toy right?

No! Those toys are all made in China, and I suspect based on their products that they lift legitimate American toymakers' designs and then schlep the work off to people being treated badly so they can sell it cheaper and run out Actual American /businesses. Boo! Even worse, their toys are damn cute, but you can find other cute stuff too! You don't need them!

First, I see play kitchens pretty often in consignment stores, so buying one and giving it a good clean would make for a great gift- kids this size don't know the difference! If you can't find one used, you can also buy really beautiful ones on Etsy. Willow Toys makes my absolute favorites, they look traditional and a little bit modern at the same time. A Toymaker's Daughter also makes a wood play kitchen that looks cute and sturdy.

Green Toys, who loyal readers know I love, sells adorable kitchen accessory sets like this one. If you want a new toy kitchen, try this one from Little Tikes, which starts low and can be moved around once the Bub grows! It's always good to stretch out the life of these toys. Plus, I love the hood! How cute.

You can also find all sorts of kitchen toys. Vintage ones like this set from Vintage Prarie Home, as well as handmade ones. This toaster from Forever Afters is my favorite thing that has ever existed. If you don't want to munch on that wood toast, you are crazy. You can avoid that infuriating Melissa and Doug (liarpants!) by buying your play food Made in America from stores like Little Green Market, Hopewell Creek, and Greer TW,  all of which make soft felt food of all sorts of varieties that are lipsmacking adorable. Bring Your Own Imagination makes wood play food that would be great for an older toddler.

Simple Clothes- For whatever reason, we are often short on pants over tops (and now with crawling, the pants are having tougher runs), so this could make a great gift, especially if they are pretty simple and would go with lots of things. I think used clothes are a perfectly awesome gift for little kids, so if you can find used jeans or pants at a consignment store, that still counts as a find!

I like these soft pants from City Threads or these sweats from American Apparel- both are made in America and still affordable! Pact also makes soft cuffed pants perfect for basics, and we don't have any, but based on my other experience with this company, I feel confident they are soft and cozy!

Socks- Oy, we finally sorted out our socks and are donating all the socks for 0-9 months (so like 80% of them). It is also getting cold, so going out barefoot counts as bad parenting (and gets you dirty looks from other mommies- mind your beeswax people, he threw them). Socks are also a tough one to get used by the 12-18/18-24 phase, because I doubt many pairs make it the whole way through together. Hanes makes large sets of baby socks that are simple, affordable, and made in America! We recently bought organic, fair trade socks from Pact, and they may sound like nonsense, but they are the best baby socks we have found. They actually stay on!
from amazon

Stuff for Eating- After the one year mark, a lot of our old feeding tricks aren't working anymore, and we are suddenly on the lookout for bowls, sippy cups, and tiny people silverware. I like these very simple cups from Re-Play; often the least fussy option proves to be the best. I also love Green Eats silverware and snack bowls. Most importantly, we use our reusable snack storage a TON (hello Cheerio's), and there are great options for that too from Re-Play Snack Stacks (in all sorts of colors, Made in the USA, recycled plastic, win) or glass options like the Wean Green snack cubes.

Re-usable pouches are one of my most comforting finds from doing all this research. No judgement if you use them, because you have to go with what works at times, but those one time use food pouches are like water bottles or plastic straws- jacked up price, used once, and on to a landfill. To put it in perspective, the pile of pouches you throw away now will still be in a landfill or the water when your baby is walking with a cane and chasing darn kids off their lawn. The plastic waste we make "for them" will be what they inherit from us. We can do better!
from amazon
 You can take food or smoothies you make yourself (or even buy in larger servings), and put them in a reusable pouch, basically cutting those eco-monsters out of your life. Awesome gift for anyone with an early eater. Sqooshi Designs makes pouches with animals on them, that your child might like even more! Nature's Little Squeeze and Little Green Pouch are also affordable options that can be recycled! So, nothing in a landfill. That's a pretty awesome gift to give (for less than 20 bucks).

Toys on Wheels (or with Hammers)- Ugh, boy stuff. Tiny masculinity seems to be rearing its head in our house. Someone has discovered the joy of pushing things around. I generally can't bear the thought of our house being taken over by cars (especially brand new Hot Wheels- at least get used ones), but I do have a soft spot for Little Tikes cars. We have one at my Nana's that has lasted forever, Little Tikes keeps most (but not all) of their manufacturing in the States, they spell "little" correctly, and the baby looks like a Flinstone. A lot of pros.

from Ozark Rustic Wood
I also love pull toys like this line of ducks from Ozark Rustic Wood- super sweet design and it feels a little nostalgic in a good way. You could also do a train like this one from Green Toys (and they have one in more "girly" colors too, if you want to encourage your girly girl to diversify). The Bub got their Elephant roller for his birthday, and he loves it so far.

He also loves to bang on things. To truly understand something, you better whack at it for a while. We have noticed he really likes his friends toys that come with little hammers, but he doesn't have anything like that. This Holgate work bench, made in America, might do the trick perfectly. I also found a couple of used ones on Etsy (and we have had great luck finding wood toys in a similar vein at Goodwill. If you want the fanciest thing ever built purely to be toddler abused, these workbenches from a Summer Afternoon are beautiful.

Other Ideas

Ok, these are just a few other ideas I think could be great for someone in this age range, if not necessarily for The Bub.It's really harder to do this for tiny people, especially when catalogs and cardboard boxes are all they want anyway.

from Amazon

Blocks- Mondo Bloxx are super affordable and Made in the USA. Win. Uncle Goose are our house's favorite blocks so far, come in all kinds of cool themes (Japanese characters, Nursery rhymes, you name it). Another win! I have solved your pressing block problems, right?

from Woulfs Creation
Felt Christmas Tree- For the curious and handsy, these felt Christmas Trees make something for them to play with. You could probably even make it yourself for a fun homemade gift, but if that seems daunting, Woulfs Creations makes a super cute felt tree that I know I would be picking up from all the time. Cake in the Morn also sells an adorable version.

from Domestic Blueprin
Growth Charts- Just as baby starts to really walk and stand, this is a perfect time to start that growth chart. And if you are shopping for a family like ours, they may want one they can bring with them, because they may not use that doorway forever. I love these. I love them so much I can't buy one for my son because I would know it was really just for me. I love the idea of having all of our kids' growth marked on something like this. I especially think this one from Domestic Blueprint is so pretty and well done. By not making it as childish, you could really put it anywhere in your house. Grace Words by Melanie makes one that has a more distressed vintage look that I would want for my house.  I like the rustic feel of these charts from Alba OrganicsPaola Brown Shop makes a chalkboard one if that is more your style. Mixt Studio makes a growing tree themed one if you are looking for something for your bub's room.

Hats- Not sure what to buy that tiny person? Buy them a cute hat. When parents say "it goes so fast," they are really bemoaning that the time for cute hats has passed. So help them enjoy these days now, and add to the hat supply. You can start by looking at consignment shops, which always have a good collection of warm hats. But really, for cutesy hats, Etsy is where it's at. We got this yoda hat from Unforgettable Stitches for 10 dollars, and it has spiced up many a cold day. Think of a theme that the parents would love and write "spaceship baby hat" or "pizza baby hat" or "angry magician baby hat" into Etsy and see what you find. You might be surprised, and it's a slam dunk as gifts go.

from Land of Nod
Her/His Own Seat- I can remember around this age, my niece loved to lounge and sleep on her brother's low car chair, which folded out to a long cushion. I feel like part of the box appeal for my son now, is that it is essentially his own space. I like the idea of continuing that by getting a seat just for the toddler, even if you know they won't stay there long. Land of Nod sells an adorable miniature armchair for kids this size, and the chair is made in the US (the covers aren't).  A Whitfield Design sells adorable whale rocking chairs that might work for the future Ishmael on your hands.

from magszilla
Nursery Storage- We had this vision where we would be totally finished with The Bub's room before he came. A year later, and we still fine tune his space, especially adding more storage and space-saving ideas. I think cool wall hooks like these from Magzilla might be a loved gift (at least by the parents, but they're the ones who will remember). I also have a newfound love of big baskets like these ones from

Travel Help- I like these carriers that turn a car seat into a stroller for airports. Not as nice as just not bringing a car seat, but it might be the perfect option for someone. Not perfect, but better than buying another massive travel carseat.

We made it through another one! I hope this helps you find some green inspiration for shopping for the little one in your life- it can be done! If you want more shopping inspiration, check out my List of Shopping Lists!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Green Christmas: A Giving and Outdoorsy Christmas List

This is the newest in a long series of blogs where I implore you through long lists of cute stuff to buy less/better stuff! This Christmas, we will spend a lot of money on gifts. A lot. If we put all that money toward companies that respect their laborers and protect the environment, we can change the world. Every dollar we spend is a vote for the world we want to live in, so every time we buy Made in China junk at a big chain store, we say fast and easy is more important than good. That our selfish wants are more important than other's needs. I don't think that's what anyone really thinks, especially at Christmas, but I think it can feel like we don't have any choice. We do! So here is another shopping list to show that no matter what a person cares about, you can find them awesome, eco-friendly and socially-responsible gifts. We can do it!

Melissa and I have been friends since the 8th grade, when she was the only one who showed up to help me paint my bedroom. This friendship was solidified forever when we chased a cute red head boy around on a Spanish Cruise (in Pittsburgh). I just think she is a kind and wonderful person, and her new church and home in Colorado suits her perfectly. We care about a lot of the same things, and we love talking about issues, but there is one area where we clearly differ- outdoorsiness. Melissa and her hubby Alan go hiking, they do adventurey sports, and they wake up at dawn to see beautiful sunrises on their trips (we, on the other hand, sleep in, eat a lot, and hopefully look at old stuff). Because of this, she has all sorts of wisdom to share about what to buy the hiker you love, but even better, she has some great insight about what really matters this season:

"When B first tasked me with me creating a Christmas Wish list, I didn’t know what to list. A and I had already talked that we didn’t really want much for Christmas, and we’d simply save our money for retirement and emergency savings. (Remember, it’s never too early to save for retirement, but that’s not the subject of this post.)

That being said, when I began to think about a possible list, I quickly came up with lots of new things that I simply had to have. But the reality is, most of us have everything (and more) than what we need.
With that in mind, I first want to encourage you to look outside of yourself and see how you can give to those that need it the most. "

One of my absolute favorite things about doing these wishlists this year is that almost everyone who has written to me has their own things that matter more to them than the gifts. We all have things we "need," but we also all have things we care about deeply. I feel like this is really important, and one of the best parts about it is that to effectively donate in someone's honor, you need to know what they care about. You have to get to know them that much better, which is just another way I am positive that shifting our paradigm has a super positive ripple effect. Take it away, Melissa:

"Here are two organizations that my partner and I support and love:

1: Project Education South Sudan. This organization started because of an amazing woman in my church in Denver, Colorado. She and her husband were mentors to the “Lost Boys of Sudan”. That commitment birthed PESS. Now celebrating 10 years, PESS has helped thousands by partnering with South Sudanese communities in building schools and supporting young women. Daniel Majok Gai, one of the “Lost Boys”, is now the Executive Director of PESS. He is an incredible, inspiring human being. Under his new leadership, PESS is continuing to start new initiatives like making feminine hygiene products for young women. This not only creates jobs and economic growth for communities, but also provides young welcome the chance to continue to go to school during menstruation. When we grow up in our context, it’s hard to imagine not going to school because of menstruation; but millions of young girls can’t go to school because they don’t have the resources. I have met Daniel and a number of members of their board- they are extraordinary, and so is this mission and work. Go to their website for more info: http://projecteducationsouthsudan.org/ .

2: Episcopal Relief and Development. When you support Episcopal Relief and Development, you help millions of people across the world by fighting poverty, eradicating hunger, and eliminating disease. Go to this link: http://www.episcopalrelief.org/what-you-can-do/gifts-for-life to purchase a “Gift for Life”. ERD also has a very high rating as a non-profit, 85% of the money collected goes to the product and services it says it delivers. Remember, check the charity’s rating before you donate, so that your money goes to services and not overhead and corporate."

Now, Melissa's Christmas Wish List:

1. A Microwave Safe Egg Bowl: "I’ve been cooking eggs in the microwave every morning for the past couple of months. It saves time, calories, and it’s still debatable whether non-stick pans can potentially release a dangerous gas that is both hazardous to humans and birds alike."
from amazon
My Ideas- Alright, this one is pretty simple. One good option- Nordicware sells a microwave breakfast pan. It's microwave-safe, made in America, and actually cheaper than some of the less ethical options. Simple, easy, done!

2. Hiking undergarments- "Because Christmas is the season you get socks and underwear; I am always on the lookout for ethically made socks, underwear, and sport bras."

from REI- Darn Tough Socks

My Ideas- Alright, I started at REI for this, because I figure that is where outdoorsy people shop (truly, I do not know much about that kind of stuff). Also, they are closing for Black Friday! How cool is that! Lucky for me, there are lots of stores that specialize just in these things! Darn Tough socks are super cute, made in the US, and come in a variety of designs and thicknesses. Smart Wool sells socks for cold sports (mostly skiing?) and they look pretty intense for those hikes up in the snow-covered Rockies (here's a hiking-specific pair). Brooks Essentials sells socks specifically designed to keep your feet dry. Hanz sells waterproof socks as well.

REI sells lots of Made in the US socks for camping, hiking, and biking (also, riding on planes and recovering from surgery). They even have their own co-op socks, which are made in the US and come in at a measly 10 dollars. These socks are hardcore, but most don't come cheap. Is it weird to buy someone a single pair of socks for Christmas? Maybe, but if the socks last longer than 4 pairs of junky ones, I think you might be on to something!

REI also sells a good collection of long underwear made in the States from Polarmax (these are even on sale). Ibex Energy Free Tights claim to keep you warm all day, but the name makes me wonder if they somehow Dementor suck the energy out of your legs.

3. Stretchy bracelets- "I love these! You can mix and match and stack as many as you’d like."  

from hecho a mano
My Ideas- Oh, you know Etsy has tons of these, so I only picked a couple I like, but if you want to go that route, check Etsy first (and order in the next week or two). Feel like it's too many options? Put in a city near you or the giftee in the location box on the left side towards the bottom, it should narrow it down, and you are supporting something local! In Melissa's case, you can find 1000 (I am not kidding) options if you put in "bracelet" and "Boulder, CO." Hecho a Mano make my favorite ones that I saw, super fun and bright.

from tuchela
Tuchela sells big stacks of them (for 7 dollars!) that come in all sorts of color combinations. I thought this set was pretty, but I think you could get these as awesome stocking stuffers. Moon Lab Jewelry sells multiple bracelets that i think look really subtle and sophisticated.

4. A Paracord Survival Bracelet- "This could very well go into number three, but its uses are more for outdoor survival than fashion. See various uses here: http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/2013/04/paracord-bracelets-10-practical-uses-other-fashion"

from Amazon
Just to Add- Wow! First of all, I didn't know these existed. That girl is so much earthier than I am. But you can find lots of them! And a good number are made here in the States! Survival Straps come in lots of pretty and bright color combinations, as well as more practical earthy ones. Tactical Wilderness ones look great, and they have a compass in them! That's helpful if you get lost a lot (though, as someone else who is often lost, let me recommend not going on long confusing walks in the woods). Mountaineer sells a nice looking one in the color "Olive drab" Seriously, why would anyone buy clothing with drab in the title?!?

If you have lots of outdoorswo/men in your life, you can buy a large kit from Paracord Ninja and make them as gifts! How cool!

from Topo Designs
5. A ski back pack- "In the outdoor world, folks are always creating new product for niche uses. I have my day hiking pack, my back packing pack, my rock climbing pack, well you get the idea. Since I ski twice a week on average, tt’d be nice to have one specifically designed for skiing." 
Just to Add- Ok, I didn't find much US-made for ski backpack (I did find quite a few snowshoes though). I did find airbag ski bags, which I am not convinced are the same thing (I also found carriers for your skis and your boots made in America). Like I said, not super impressive, but maybe one of these would work for skiing?

I did find some just regular backpacks that might be great for someone you love. My pick for Melissa would be Topo designs, who are based out of Colorado, just like her! These backpacks have really cool but functional designs, and they partner with other great American brands.like Woolrich. This one is my favorite for her.

My other top pick would be from Green Guru Gear, which is made out of all sorts of recycled materials (part of their company mission is providing a recycling source for adventure sports). Their backpacks seem to primarily be made for biking, but I think they could be awesome for lots of purposes. Plus, they are made in the USA and all-recycled, so you know I love them. New favorite. If only I enjoyed adventure sports!

Tough Traveler makes a wide variety of durable backpacks that might be great for skiing! We bought a suitcase from them as a gift, and I can vouch for their greatness. Clinton at North Street Bags makes backpacks that look tough, but are in pretty colors! Equinox, who I also love, makes backpacks and backpack covers (in case she could repurpose another bag). Utility Canvas makes really simple backpacks as well.

As a side note, Melissa and Alan are also big photographers, and I found some very tough, but good-looking camera bags. If you have a landscape photographer/ adventurer in your life, I might stop first at Domke. These are serious bags, so this only works if the giftee REALLY takes their photography seriously.

6. This quote “Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air” printed on something- "As we know, and with the help of this blog, what we surround ourselves with, and what we use, matter. I love this quote and want to put it up on my desk to always encourage me to adventure into the unknown and experience God’s love for us in creation."
Just to Add- Gah, I love this one! As Melissa could tell you, I love buying she and Alan art, frames and decorations. Our style is so different- I am a colorful mismatched quilt that doesn't make much sense, she is a crisp but warm comforter in a single color with a clean repeating organic pattern embroidered on. I have a whole folder of things I see that are Melissa things, because it's fun to play in her aesthetic.

from words and page
Apparently, Melissa has tons of company admiring this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. I found lots of pretty options! This one might be my absolute favorite, words and page does beautiful calligraphy (and it's on recycled paper). It's simple and clean, but it still reminds me of the outside. There are lots of pretty calligraphic options, which feel really special even if they are simple.

This ceramic sign is refreshingly simple in comparison to the content of the quote- maybe too much? I can't decide, but it does remind me of a book page. This embroidery hoop is clean and feminine, so it might look perfect in an office. If you want to get something like that as a gift but you don't have much money, you could also get a downloadable one like this one and print it out! The last option I really like on Etsy is this wall decal which I think looks really sophisticated and might be perfect in an office.

If you have someone in your life milling over this idea, I would recommend making them an art print with the quote, but use their own photograph! This would especially work for Mel and Alan, because they take spectacular landscape photographs together.
from Western Mountaineering
7. The Big Gift- "Growing up, Santa always brought one big gift whether it be a bike or a Barbie Dream House. My two big gift wishes would be a winter sleeping bag and a new digital piano. I know, opposite ends of the spectrum, but it is what it is. A and I went winter camping 10 years ago in college. I froze to death and still have never gotten over it. We stayed together, but my bitterness remains. For the piano, I started taking lessons with Miss Darlene in Longmont this August. While I have a keyboard, we have progressed quickly and I need the functions (like 88 keys and a pedal) faster than I expected."

Just to Add- First of all, I know the kind of sleeping bag she is talking about (because she told me, to be clear) and they are for really really cold nights (and not just cold like her bitterness, cold like I am not even going outside), and I am not sure what I found hits that level of winter-ness. My pick would be Western Mountaineering, which is only sold in stores, so you have to put your zipcode in and go. They have tons of choices, all organized by horrifying temperatures (I cannot empathize with the desire to sleep in -25 degree weather). They also don't have prices, which makes me feel like I can't afford them because I had to ask. Wiggy's also sells Made in America sleeping bags. Butler Bags makes an all-seasons bag which might not be hardcore enough for Melissa, but it might be perfect for who you are shopping for!

Second, Keyboards. These are tough! Yamaha does have six factories in the US, and from what I can tell, they are the only major brand that does (avoid Casio, boo Casio). Still, I can't seem to find any straightforward answers about which of the keyboards are made domestically and what are made internationally. If you can find that info, send it my way and i will update this!

A Few More Ideas

A Cozy Blanket- Faribault and Woolrich sell blankets that look tough enough for a camping trip and cozy enough for a living room. These aren't cheap either, but I feel like it's a special gift that will last a very long time, even if they have a tough ride out in the woods. Faribault also has a special place in my heart, because they are doing a buy one/ give one program this winter, so for every blanket or scarf you buy from them, they will donate a blanket to help Minnesota's homeless population. That's awesome, and it might be the perfect combination of Melissa's wishlists!

National Park's Monopoly- I love this board game so much for Melissa and Alan, because I feel like they explore national parks more than any other family I know, and like I have said before, travelers love dreaming of future travels. This might be a cool way to do it! Maybe they could play it while hosting?

from REI

Boots- I am not talking cutesy riding boots here, I am talking hiking boots. But they can still be cute! I especially like these ones from Keen, for those wintery hikes up in the mountains.

Camera Bags and Straps- As a side note, Melissa and Alan are also big photographers, and I found some very tough, but good-looking camera bags. If you have a landscape photographer/ adventurer in your life, I might stop first at Domke. These are serious bags, so this only works if the giftee REALLY takes their photography seriously.

You could also get your hardcore photographer one of these cool Luma Loop straps, which might be particularly helpful for someone who has to move around a lot to get their shot.

Water Bottles- You can read about my beloved reusable water bottles elsewhere, but Liberty Bottle now takes the cake. I love this so much, and I will probably buy it for Melissa. Spoiler Alert. Also reading Liberty Bottle's website, I am very encouraged by their priorities as a company, making more jobs and creating less waste.

But outdoorsy people need water bottles. Everyone needs a reusable water bottle- let 2016 be the year we stop using those horrible plastic one time use monsters.

Tents- If you have an aspiring outdoorperson on your list (or have been thinking about a tent yourself) you have good options! Beckel Canvas Tents look like the kind Ron Swanson would like (if he couldn't make his own lean to). Springbar also has lots of great options, so you can get out there and camp it up (maybe in the spring? Unless you have a winter sleeping bag and a will of steel).

Alright, I hope this list gave you inspiration for the outdoorsy person you love! Remember to look at the thrift and vintage stores nearby too, because you might find something on your list for a better price and a more eco-friendly option!

If you are still feeling shoppy, check out my big honking list of lists for more shopping ideas!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

50 Green Stocking Stuffers for Adults All Under 15 Dollars

Stockings are treated like a footnote for Christmas, but an awesome stocking can be a highlight of the holiday! Kids gifts can be great, and you can find their stocking stuffer list here, but often, we adults get the bum end of the deal, because Santa is on to our misbehavior or something, but I think we can turn up the fun (and usefulness!) of the stockings.Even better, we can do this by making gifts or buying Eco-Friendly Used, Recycled, or Made in America gifts! 

We can fall into the idea that we don't have many good options, but we have tons! I listed 50 here, so you can pick a handful you like to replace something else you would have put in a stocking. Also, these are up early, because Etsy doesn't come with prime shipping, so things move slowly. You want to order some of this fun stuff soon! 

The Inner Child

from Bean Works Crochet
1. Cacti (USA)- Because if you haven't got one of Akron's famous crocheted cacti, you are missing out. Seriously though, these are so cute! Who doesn't want a Christmas cactus?

2. Cards (USA)- These playing cards are made in America, and nothing says holiday cheer like a good game of poker.

3. Puzzles (GU, USA)- You could get puzzles at basically any level and then put them in the stocking broken up (maybe not great for those 1000 piece puzzles).This is one you can definitely find in consignment stores Springbok Puzzles is one of the oldest puzzle companies in the US! Tavern Puzzles makes the cool metal puzzles you have to jimmy with to get things apart.

from The Marmalade Forest
4. Stuffed Toy (USA)- Oh, you are too mature to want stuffed animals? It must really suck to be you! Maturity be damned, you can buy all sorts of cute little someones to stuff into a stocking. I mean, come on with this little Narwahl.

from Tattoos by Frenzy Flare
5. Temporary Tattoos (USA)- This must be on trend, because you can find any style of temporary tattoo. Is it mature to wear these? Absolutely not, so it makes for a fun Christmas day! Who doesn't want a Christmas face tattoo?  One year, I got a henna set for Christmas, and it was super fun until it exploded on my poor cousin Paige's hand. These henna tattoos from Tattoos by Frenzy Flare are ridiculously pretty and would probably work better. Tattly Temporary Tattoos make some of my favorites like these nautical ones and the vegetables (finally fulfilling my eggplant tattoo dreams). I also love this anemone tattoo from Oanabefort.

Treat Yo Loved Ones

6. Backscratcher (USA)- You know you're a grown-up when your back hurts. A back scratcher can stick right in a stocking, and you can even get one shaped like a moose! Merry Christmas indeed!

from Juxtapositions SC
7. Bottle Opener (USA)- Simple addition that people sometimes need? I got The Boy a pirate one a year ago, and it has gotten a lot of use (yes, parenthood has led to way more beer drinking in this house, but only because we have had lots of people over). You could buy a set on Teals Prarie and give everybody matching ones. Juxtapositionsc sells every type of bottle opener you would ever want to buy, but I like the wall mounted ones best (because who doesn't want a little cast iron on Christmas?).

8. Bracelets (R, FT)- My dad usually gives a piece or two of really fun jewelry, and I love these bright and colorful bracelets made from recycled flip flops. You could split the group between stockings too. Super cute and great for the environment!

from sleepy mountain
9. Fun Jewelry (USA)- It's very important to understand that no stocking jewelry should be fancy or expensive. Fun. Playful. My dad usually puts some jewelry in my stocking every year, and some of it is very cute and some is a little more silly, but (as far as I know), stocking jewelry does not cause an arm and a leg. Lucky for all of us, Etsy sellers are geniuses of fun jewelry, so you are bound to find something perfectly awesome for your loved ones. Sleepy Mountain sells the best studs I have ever seen- Ron Swanson, Steve Buscemi, David Bowie (see how that works on two levels?). If Santa is reading this, I would basically love anything from this store (someone loves Parks and Rec as much as I do).

I love this "Treat yo self" necklace, but if you want to be classy (booo), you could also get a bracelet with an initial on it. You can also buy minimalist jewelry like these earrings from Madera Lane. Art Altered brings the dorky at an epic level. You could get bangle bracelets made of recycled champagne bottles- so fancy! Obsessories also sells hilarious stud earrings (you can even get custom ones of your dog) . Do you see there is an endless supply of options here? You can find the perfect piece of kooky jewelry this year.

10. Hair Ties (USA)- Pumpkin Bowtique has lots of choices of hair ties, in any color you can think of. I love these ribbon ones, which are adorable and come in lots of patterns. It's a nice alternative to the elastic ones with the little metal piece.

11. iPad Case (USA)- Maybe a little big for a stocking, but you could potentially roll it around the top to pile things higher, like my dad does with magazines (seems a little symbolic, right? Replacing magazines with an iPad cover?) 8th Day Encore has lots of pretty combinations of fabric, and I would probably pick them for that. Wooden 45 sells covers and pouches out of Michigan. These Mario and Luigi ones make me smile, though I don't know how a crocheted case works long term. If you are a sewer, and you just want to make a good one yourself, you can get the instant download PDF here for 4 dollars.
from Off Chutes
12.  Luggage Tags (R, USA)- RSVP Handcrafted makes some of the best leather goods on Etsy, and their luggage tags can be personalized and probably used forever. My favorites are these recycled parachute tags from Off Chutes- I like when they are bright and eye catching, because it helps when you are at Baggage Claim. A good luggage tag can be a lifesaver, and it is just the sort of small detail that can freshen up an older piece of luggage.

13, Nail Polish (USA)- There are lots of great beauty articles out there about eco-friendly and vegan nail polishes. I love Essie polish, which doesn't have the nasty chemicals and is made in the US, but as far as I know isn't vegan. Ginger and Liz does, and their polish is 12 dollars a pop. Butter and Priti NYC are made in the US 5-free, and they go for 15 dollars a bottle (these aren't cheap, but isn't it better to have 1 healthy nail polish you use all the time than 3 much less responsible ones you use once in a blue moon?). Suncoat and Earthly Delights are both non-toxic/ vegan as well, and they are more at the Essie price.

You could also get someone a cute set of nail stickers, like this set from Southern Country Nails.
from Trendy Earth

14. Phone Covers (EF, C)- It may be mighty challenging to buy a cell phone made in America, but finding a case made in the US is easy as pie (and it can make that phone last so much longer). I like the simplicity of these Trendy Earth covers, and it might discourage the user from having it out at all times. But if you know that won't work, plenty of other options exist.

 Pela makes phone covers out of bioplastic (mostly for iphones), which is hard and durable, but also biodegradable. You can find recycled wood phone covers too! Neo makes bamboo cases. I love that so many options exist, because you give this eco-friendly gift that fits the style of the person you are gifting it to! If you are into cutesiness, Happy Kosmos has Kawaii covers like this red panda. This one is insane, and I love it. If the people you love exercise, they might love these arm band cases from imst, which are perfect for runs.

15. Pocket Mirrors (USA)- I love these pocket mirrors which use recycled book pages.- what a cool way to give an old mangled children's book some new life! I think these pocket mirrors from Boy Girl Party would make a great stocking stuffer, because it could easily stay in a purse for emergency moments. And they are only 6 bucks and made in the US! Win!

from The Little Soap Shop
16. Soap (EF, USA)- I am now fully convinced that everyone should buy their soaps locally. You can find MULTIPLE options to buy soap from in your area, not to mention your country! So why do we keep buying soap wrapped in tons of packaging that has traveled such a long way? You can also find about a million hilarious and fun soap options to put in a stocking. I love these doughnut soaps from The Little Soap Shop. How cute is that! Also awesome, this trout on a rope soap from Dope on a Rope Soap (less keen on the marajuana soap, because pot smells awful, but embrace the stinkiness if that's you). These lump of coal soaps are cheeky and fun too. Or, if you are nervous about buying something you like, I would recommend a small set of leftovers/ samples, like Lippincott Soap Co sells. What a good idea, and your loved one could test soaps and find the ones they like best.  Everyone, buy some fun soap for stocking stuffers this year- another EASY and fun switch!
from Pact
17. Socks (USA, R)- Only fun socks, because just regular socks is just not a treat at all. Solmate Socks makes adorable mismatched socks in bright, fun colors. We bought them for the Bub, and they have stood up to lots of wear. We also love Pact socks for men and women, which are fair trade. Woolrich sells made in America socks too!

18. Underwear (FT)- You stop believing in Santa, you get underwear for Christmas. This is adulthood, and it is kind of the worst. On the other hand, you can get super cute and soft underwear from Pact in both men's and women's!

Kitchen Stuff

19. BBQ Rubs or Spices (USA)- Giving new spice rubs to experiment with might be the perfect gift for a foodie or barbeque lover. Gusto sells cute little 4 packs of hot wing rubs for 9 bucks, among their pretty wide variety of barbeque spice rubs.
from Kline Honey Bee Farm
20. Honeys and Jams (USA, EF)- My mom brings us jam from her garden sometimes when she visits, and other than one jar, we  have eaten through them all. I feel like this could be the perfect Christmas treat! And you could introduce someone to a new favorite! I love these Kline Honey Bee Farm packs, which has 6 different tasters, so people can find their favorites. Boondock Enterprises sells small jars of a wide variety of jam so they will fit in a stocking.

from Comfortably Lovely
21. Magnets (USA)- You can find TONS of magnets on Etsy, and they make for a fun addition to any stocking. These Pantone magnets from Comfortably Lovely look like so much fun. Think of all the color combinations you could make instead of cooking!  I literally love this Recall Knope? DON'T! magnet.

22. Measuring Cups and Spoons (R, USA)- They don't all fit under the 15 dollar cutoff, but these cups from Preserve and spoons from Architec do. They might come in handy if the ones in your kitchen are worn down past usefulness.

23. Popcorn (USA)- If you don't go the route of the giant popcorn tins, you could get gourmet (??) popcorn kernels and fun original popcorn toppings from Dell Cove Spices. In general, I think I would be incredulous about something like this, but they have great reviews and it sounds pretty delicious. It would also be a fun bottom level for a stocking if you love someone with no sweet tooth.

24. Sink Brush (USA)- Nothing says a good time like a sink brush. Still, you need them, and this one looks great.
from amazon

25. Spatulas (USA)- These Fletcher's Mill Spatulas come in pretty colors. I like having a few in different sizes, so I can scrape out different vessels and so forth. Because no one should make the tragic mistake of wasting cookie batter.

26. Spoons and Turners(EF)- Stuff one of those into a stocking instead of one of those Hershey Kiss tubes? I know ours look a little rough, and you can't cook with those candy tubes. These ones, from Architec, are made of bamboo, and they come in pretty colors. My beloved Epicurean also makes spoons and turners.  Lipper International sells bamboo sets as well.

from Amitea Organics
27. Teas and Coffees- Ok, I don't drink hot liquids (why do they all taste like dirty water?), so I am not an expert on these, but you can find all kinds of cool tea and coffee sets. They might make a really great treat for Christmas. Amitea Organics sells sets of multiple teas that looks pretty and festive. Apropos Roasters sells similar packs of coffee, and they seem to be pretty beloved. Why? I don't know. People are crazy and love hot water dirt.

28. Whisk (USA)- Last year, Santa brought both the Boy and I whisks in our stockings, because our whisk (a hand me down from my mom) fell apart. This useful gift will be the whisk that set off a thousand whisks (ok, maybe not, but you know what I mean). Even a stocking can be an opportunity to gift things that are needed with all of the fun stuff. If you also want to throw in a whisk, you have some great options that are made in the US by Best Manufacturers.

Let's Get Creative

29. Colored Pencils (R)- Coloring for adults is all the rage, for good reason- it's fun! If you want to color, you can use these recycled colored pencils, which are so cool. They are made of recycled newspaper instead of bringing down more trees.

30. Markers (US, R)- Crayola makes markers here in the US, and you can even send them back to be recycled once they dry out.  Sharpies are still made in the US too!

from Obvious State
31. Little Notebooks (USA, R)- Is there anything with more possibility than a fresh new notebook? My new favorites are from Obvious State, who make modernist notebooks and posters with literary figures and quotes on them. Awesome.  I love these little ones that would make perfect stocking stuffers. This robot one from Happy Dappy Bits looks like a winner.
from My Posh Desiigns
32. Washi Tape (USA)- I feel like I would have loved these as a kid, and its another gift you could use to spruce up anything! These chevron ones are adorable. My Posh Designs also does a wide variety of adorable washi tape.

Practicals and Usefuls

33. Candles (EF, USA)- We used to impulse buy candles at Target, but they are filled with nasty chemicals, and they are meant to fill your house with them! Blech. Now, I can see a ton of other options as long as I am willing to poke around. You can make small ones yourself for an awesome gift, or you can buy all kinds of American- made and Eco-friendly ones! Right now, we are burning a Our Own Candle Company candle and an Eco candle, and they both smell amazing.

from Etta Arlene
I am currently really excited about Etta Arlene candles, which are made in Pittsburgh- yay Western PA! They have lots of hilarious and awesome scents, including Boss Bitch, Unicorn Tears, and Treat Yo Self (and if you buy 2, you get 20% off). Also, one of the listed materials is love. Mark this as one of my new favorite stores!

 Moss and Oak sells soy candles in scents you don't always see, and they have really great reviews, so this could be a homerun. I love these cactus ones- you could have a theme going!

34. Car Escape Tool (USA)- Ok, maybe practical is the wrong word, but if you are trapped in a car, this keychain sure would be useful. If Leeza Gibbons was Santa Clause, this would be in everyone's stocking. Because holiday cheer means kidnapping preparedness.

35. Hats and Scarves (USA, R)- We just bought the Bub Gypsy and Lolo mittens, and we loved them so much, we bought him a second pair! They are made of recycled material and they are just so cute. They also sell gloves, hats, and scarves for adults, and though a lot of them are just out of that 15 dollar limit, but check out the sale section! Almost everything from there works. I also really like these slouchy beanies from Lot 415.
from Crave by CRV
36. Key Chain (USA)- Not the most original idea, but you can find some gorgeous and fun options. I love these tassel charms, which are very on trend this year. Perfect if you want to be Hip Santa.

37. Nail Clippers (USA)- My mother-in-law puts nail clippers in everyone's stockings every year. Genius. Because nail clippers go missing all the time. I don't know where her son takes them. But they disappear. So replenishing the supply helps and these ones are made in America.

38. Pencils (R, EF, USA)- Did you know about Sprout Pencils? I didn't! They are pencils you can plant in the ground to grow herbs after you are finished with them! How freaking cool is that!?!? Totally biodegradable and genuinely doing good. I just love this. I love that someone thought of this. What a wonderful world.

You can also get regular pencils out of recycled newspaper, so absolutely no trees came down for these pencils. I hate pencils, but if someone in your life doesn't, these are an awesome option.

from amazon
39. Pens (USA, R)- Pens work perfectly, and these pens (made from recycled plastic bottles) are the bomb. A dozen cost 11 dollars. Never buy fresh plastic pens again! That's nonsense! If you want to spice up your new all-recycled pens, try this 3-D printed pen holder!

40. Pocket Monkey (USA)- It works as a multitool and as a cute little monkey! Ok, I may not totally understand why someone would want this, but the tool fits in a wallet, so it would fit in a stocking!

41. Toothbrushes (USA, R, EF)- Ok, this whole Practical subcategory isn't exactly festive, but Christmas might work as a perfect transition from those sad fresh plastic toothbrushes that your loved ones may still use! Boo hiss! Instead, you could get biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes (lots of choices!) or Preserve recycled toothbrushes (we use these and they work exactly the same- no teeth have fallen out). So again, probably don't do an all-toothbrush stocking, but one never hurt anyone!

42. Tweezers (USA)- The same basic principle as nail clippers- they disappear, and Christmas stockings can help replenish your tweezer supply. Plus, you can find them made in the US!

Odds and Ends

from Caramels for Karson

43. Caramels (USA, EF)- These caramels are made by a grandma to raise money for her grandsons with heart defects, so this is candy you can feel good about buying. They also have 849 5 star reviews, so if you don't have a huge soft spot for kids with heart issues, you may just like the caramels. I love this one. What a beautiful world we live in that she does this for them.

44. Christmas Ornaments (USA)- It would be kind of a cool tradition to put an ornament in their stocking each year that has to do with their year, then they can hang it on the tree. If you are looking to gift for a lot of people, I like this snowflake set from Nestled Pine Works. I love this little hedgehog one, but you can find so many Made in the USA ornaments on Etsy. This striped tree looks very special and natural.

from Flytrap
45. Date Ideas (USA)- Flytrap sells fun date ideas and other card sets to put in a significant other's stockings. My favorite are the "Bad Parking Notes" which you can leave on bad parkers' cars. Perfect for the Curmudgeon behind the wheel in your life.

46. Golf Balls (R)- Did you know you can buy recycled golf balls? I didn't! It makes perfect sense though. This makes for the perfect stocking stuffer for somebody!

47. Guitar Strap (R, USA)- These guitar straps are made out of recycled seatbelts. Until this moment, I never thought about how many seatbelts never get a second life as a musical accessory. Truly tragic. Perfect for the guitar player.

48. Lighters (USA)- Smokers always seem to be looking for their lighters. Zippo's are made in the US!

49. Note Pads (USA)- Ok, I am slightly nervous about this one and whether they are actually manufactured in the USA (they use dodgey language), but Knock Knock sells all sorts of super fun note pads that can help you stay organized or make jokes. You can probably find a good one for someone you love!
from amazon
50. Sandwich Bags (USA, EF)- Planetwise sells reusable sandwich bags that could be used as a pouch, or they can perfectly set someone up for bringing their lunch to work!

Alright, did you make it? I hope you found an idea in all of this you can put to use (I think I am buying 4 or 5 for The Boy's stocking, and a bunch of Seattle Chocolates and calling it a day). If you want to look at the list for kids again, check here.

If you are feeling inspired and want to do even more Green Shopping (Eco-friendly, recycled, used, or Made in the USA), check out the Big List of Shopping Lists!