Your Christmas Buying Guide

Let's give gifts to our loved ones despite COVID-19 restrictions and care for creation at the same time!

This post is a Christmas shopping list. And boy, that is far beyond the usual post for me. But... I believe it is very important that we consider caring for the world around us in as many ways as possible. Not only does that mean maintaining social distancing, it can include buying coffee, hand-soap, craft supplies, and more. So, when my wife put this list together, I asked her if I could share with you. This is the result.


You're likely to be searching for gifts this season, and you're probably hunting for ones that don't require you to frequent stores. So, here you have it; this list serves both. Shop away. Give a gift that keeps on giving.


In case you are interested, none of these organizations asked for my endorsement. None of them paid me (or my wife) to recommend them.


I've marked several of these with 🤠. That means that I have or do use them. (Remember me, I'm the guy with the cowboy hat.)


I've divided the list into two parts:


Remote — These items are available online. Shop anywhere.



















Local — These items are available in the Nashville area. View these with an eye toward where you might find something similar near you.



















Remote — These items are available online. Shop anywhere.




















Caring for Food

If you are recognizing that plastic is not our friend, you’ll have a new friend in etee (Everything Touches Everything Else). And if you have people you love who eat food and have to clean up—at least occasionally, you’ll love shopping for them at etee.org, where you’ll find lots of great product choices that are plastic free from a company that values organic and creative and helping the planet. Check out the beeswax-plus food wraps and scrubbing loofahs. Visit shopetee.com.

Cell Phone Cases and More 🤠

Like Earth, cell phones need protection. A Pela phone case is attractive, effective, and 100% compostable! When done with the case, don’t toss it—you can compost it or better yet send it back to Pela to recycle into new products. Plus, with a wide range of colors and styles, the case is a great conversation starter. Pela also donates 1% to ocean care and is certified climate neutral. Even better, if you sign up, you can receive free their “Every Day Eco,” a two-minute read with tips to avoid plastic and with inspiring stories about difference-makers. Be sure to watch the video when you visit pela.earth.

Home & Kitchen, Bath & Beauty

Those areas are the specialty of Eco Roots, but they could also note sustainability, practicality, and helpfulness. Not only are their products beneficial in reducing waste, especially single-use plastics, but Eco Roots also donates 1% of their sales to the Ocean Conservancy to fight plastic pollution there, which helps all of us on Earth. Check out the shampoo bars, produce bags, and their very helpful blogs. Visit ecoroots.us.

Clean Hands, Clean Dishes, Clean Laundry 🤠

These days everyone is washing their hands more frequently. Blueland’s hand soap comes with an attractive “Forever” bottle of stay-put-on-the-sink glass plus a tablet. You supply the water, drop the tablet in, and get several months of foaming hand soap. When you run out, just add water and another $2 tablet, which comes in recyclable packaging. It’s a gift that keeps giving! Blueland’s mission is to help eliminate plastics, especially from cleaning supplies. Visit blueland.com. Another option is cleancult.com.

Ocean Jewelry and Other Stuff

Oceans are one of God’s natural forces that help the whole planet. However, crazy amounts of plastic damage the eco-systems, endanger marine life, and sabotage the effectiveness of the good that these amazing bodies of water do. Several companies raise funds for clean-up and conservation efforts through the sale of jewelry crafted from recycled plastic pulled from the sea and other ocean-themed items. Purchasing a bracelet, for example, and telling your gift recipient about the environmental issues straining our oceans and marine life, gives the wearer something to talk about to their friends too. Shop these sites: 4ocean.com, oceanblueproject.org, passportocean.com, and puravidabracelets.com.


Outdoor Gear

Likely the young adults on your gift list value experiences more than stuff and want a good story. A gift from Cotopaxi, Gear for Good does both. The company rescues remnants of material not used by other big-name outdoor gear manufacturers and then makes one-of-a-kind fanny packs, backpacks, jackets, hoodies, and more, while providing men and women in the Philippines fair, sustainable working conditions—and keeping the scraps out of the landfills. “Do Good” is their motto—and practice. Visit cotopaxi.com.

For Gardeners

A packet of seeds or a gift certificate—the perfect stocking stuffer for any level of gardener comes from Seed Savers Exchange. They also have plants, books, tools, and more. But their specialty is heirloom seeds and plants. The mission of this nonprofit is to collect, grow, preserve, and share America’s diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage. Perhaps more than what you wrap to give, introducing your gardener to this website will be the real gift. Visit seedsavers.org.

From Their Family to Yours—Great Coffee 🤠

Sustainable farming practices done in harmony with the land contribute to the health of the planet. The Velasquez family has 50 acres in the cloud forest of Honduras. Only 25 are planted in coffee; the other 25 are deliberately left as forest, which protects water sources, provides a refuge for birds and animals, and maintains the environment of the community. Family members handpick the shade-grown, organic beans and send them to their Minnesota family for roasting and sale. “Fair trade” means a commitment to see that the farmers and other laborers are well compensated. Velasquez Family Coffee does so out of love. Everyone is family. Meet the family, tour the farm, and find the right blend of flavor for you to enjoy or to enjoy giving: vfamilycoffee.com.

Fresh, Organic Food Delivered

In the top five causes of climate change is food waste. The culprit is not just veggie peelings or leftovers that hid in the back of the fridge; the big contributor is the commercial buying system that rejects 40% of what is grown because it doesn’t look “perfect.” Misfits Market is helping farms find a point of sale for all that they grow, getting fresh, organic fruits and veggies to consumers at a reduced price, and ultimately keeping good food out of landfills. For anyone who likes to eat and eat well, but especially for people who are stuck at home, having the gift of “ugly” produce is really beautiful! Find out more at misfitsmarket.com. Check to make sure they can deliver in your area.


For the Bathroom 🤠

If your gift recipient has a sense of humor, check out bamboo toilet paper or recycled toilet paper. Trees take 30 years of growth to harvest; and when cut down to make toilet paper, they are not taking in carbon dioxide or giving out oxygen to help all of us breathe easier. You can use an alternative like bamboo or cut reduce new tree use by using recycled paper. Also, if you want to do something that helps people and planet—at no extra cost to you, this carbon neutral toilet paper company, Who Gives a Crap, donates 50% of their profits globally to nonprofit WASH projects (Water and Sanitation, Hygiene).Visit whogivesacrap.org. Or browse the internet for bamboo or sustainable toilet tissue.



Local — These items are available in the Nashville area. View these with an eye toward where you might find something similar near you.

















Throw Away Wasteful Thinking

The mission of The Good Fill is to “throw away wasteful thinking by providing alternatives to the disposable items we use every day.” Their sustainable alternatives include the fact that customers can bring their own bottles, jars, and even reusable plastic to the store and have them filled and refilled with liquids that they would ordinarily purchase for use in the laundry, kitchen, or bath and then have to throw away the plastic container. In addition, The Good Fill also has other items that help people cut down—way down—on waste that would otherwise go into the landfill. Check out their Swedish dish towel as a great gift. Also, whatever you spend, a portion of the sale goes to support One Tree Planted. Visit thegoodfill.co or their store here in Nashville.


Arts & Crafts

If you enjoy arts and crafts or have kids or grands who share your interest, explore this Nashville store, Turnip Green Creative Reuse, for odds and ends that beg for the new life you can give them through your creativity and whimsy. Either shop for fun items to give or present an IOU for a trip together to the treasure trove. Enjoy the challenge, create something new, share the experience—and reuse something that otherwise was bound for the landfill. Visit the website for a virtual tour of the store and to check the hours. Go to turnipgreencreativereuse.org.


Composting Helps

Composting turns food scraps into nutritious food-producing soil rather than into a source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, that landfills emit. For someone who wants to care for the earth but who has limited space, a gift certificate to Compost Nashville’s weekly pick-up service may be just right. Go to compostnashville.org. Or give a Bokashi composting starter kit. At westendumc.org/creation-care-education Ty Finch has a 2.5-minute video showing how he uses the Bokashi method. Browse the internet for kits.


A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours.


Ed Zinkiewicz

...the retired guy


p.s. If you like this list, I can set you up with my wife's Creation Care tips. Get 10 tips a month that you can post on Facebook and other social media, newsletters, as part of your email signature, and more. They're each a little shorter than the ones here and offer a variety of ideas about recycling and much much more. Drop me an email and ask for a sample or to be put on the list. These are free. Write: edz@retirementkickstart.com.


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Copyright © 2020,21 by Edward J. Zinkiewicz

How you can make purpose, find friends, and keep active in your retirement.

This website is a combination of retiretovolunteering.com, retire-to.com, and retirementkickstart.com.