The Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah 2011 is quickly approaching next week on September 28, and for many Jewish people this is a time of gift-giving in the new Jewish calendar year 5772. Gift giving is hard enough – it is difficult to find that perfect gift to show someone that you love them and understand their tastes. But it can be even more difficult when you’re faced with the task of giving a gift or gift box to someone who is eco-conscious (and who, therefore, may be against commercial gifts that use up various resources).
So here’s a helpful gift guide for some different types of greenies: the Compulsive DIY-er (or DIY Appreciator), the Foodie, the Interior Design Junkie, and the Eco Fashionista. Read on!!!
There are those in our lives, especially of the green persuasion, who just aren’t into regular store-bought items. They would much rather receive something that is handmade, homemade, or touched solely by human hands (and not a machine). These people can be a little trickier to shop for since, well, they don’t like shops.
It is a little easier now with the advent of the online handmade shopping site Etsy, which serves as a platform for crafters and artisans to easily sell their handmade goods. With Etsy you can either shop local, supporting nearby artists and reducing the carbon emissions associated with transporting goods, or from anywhere around the world. We’ve been eying these very comfy-looking handmade slippers made out of upcycled fabric scraps by Israeli designer Neta Amir (check out her Etsy shop netamir).
If you’re bent on giving something homemade, though, and not just handmade then an edible gift might be a good place to start. Homemade delicacies are usually very well received, and in the spirit of wishing your loved ones a sweet new year it may be a good idea to give them something sweet. Like homemade jam. Try out Green Prophet’s own recipes for strawberry jam or baked apricot jam.
Speaking of edible gifts, you may have some foodie friends out there that you want to give delicious yet sustainable presents to for the new year. For the ambitious foodies out there, you may consider gifting a cookbook, such as Plenty by Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi which is filled cover to cover with delicious vegetarian recipes such as the mushroom, garlic and shallots with lemon ricotta seen above. Another cookbook to consider, for foodies more interested in traditional Jewish foods during the holiday season, is Mama Nazima’s Jewish-Iraqi Cuisine by Rivka Golman.
If you want to give the gift of actual food, thankfully there are several companies offering gourmet organic food baskets these days. For those living in Israel there is Nagaya (the company that assembled the delicious looking basket on the left) – a company that tracks down that organic pomegranate syrup, organic goat’s milk pecorino cheese with anise seed and organic onion jam for you. For those living in the US there is Negev Nectars, a project that supports farms in the Negev by having US customers commit to receiving three shipments a year of organic olive oils, honey, date syrup, preserves and more. Giving your foodie friend an annual subscription to Negev Nectars would actually be like giving your friend three gifts this year!
Interior Design Junkie
The new year is a time when we like to feel like we’re getting a fresh start, and some people like to achieve this feeling by giving their homes a new look. Eco-friendly people who feel this way like to give their homes a new look… with objects that aren’t entirely new. Vintage items, repurposed furnishings, and upcycled designs all have their place in the green interior design junkie’s home.
Recycled and easily recyclable cardboard furniture is all the rage in the eco-friendly interior design world, with many designers participating in the trend. One Middle Eastern example is the Krooom faux-wood cardboard trunk above, which your loved one can easily recycle come next year if he or she needs a change. (For a slightly more whimsical cardboard gift, consider gifting a cardboard mounted deer head that is popular among designers these days.)
If you’d like to give something with a slightly more nostalgic look, consider a vintage or upcycled item. More and more eco interior design studios keep popping up, some of them with some really fun designs. Check out the upcycled window shade shares above from Tel Aviv’s Junktion Studio. Or if your friend is a combination Interior Design Junkie/DIY-er, check out your local upcycling studios for ideas (such as modular wooden boxes) and try making something yourself.
Fashion is something that keeps on changing, so you may think that it is inherently not sustainable. Not true. Fashion designers all over the world, from Lebanese designer Ziad Ghanem to Egyptian designer Nadia Nour and even DIY fashionistas such as the “New Dress a Day” blogger are finding ways to green their wardrobes. Sustainable fashion is taking a variety shapes – with either sustainable materials used (such as the EcoGir suits above made out of recycled plastic PET bottles) or modular items that can be used in a multitude of ways (thus eliminating the need for multiple items using multiple resources). Our favorite modular design item this year has been the Shell 256 shoes that can be worn 256 different ways, but there are many other such designs out there.
If shoes or suits are too personal a gift, though, (and there’s nothing worse that miscalculating someone’s size when giving the gift of clothing) then maybe a fashion accessory is a better route to go for your eco fashionista loved one. The glasses above are a hot item this year, and belong within an eyewear line made out of human hair (and called, appropriately, Hair Glasses). Designed by Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves in the UK, this line explores uses for one of the most replenishable and sustainable of materials – hair.
Whatever gift you give this year – whether it is to your favorite DIY-er, Foodie, Interior Design Junkie or Eco Fashionista – make sure it is given with love. Wishing you all a happy, healthy and sustainable new year ahead.
Read more about Green Rosh Hashanah:
Start the Year Right with a Sustainable Rosh Hashanah
Have a Sweet and Green Rosh Hashanah
Recipes for Simanim (Signs): Rosh Hashanah’s Symbolic Foods
Image of gift box via: procsilas