Just like the dreaded birthday party loot bag, the Christmas stocking can be stuffed with a whole bunch of useless doodads that ultimately wind up in the trash.
I get it: Christmas is expensive, and the dollar store is full of inexpensive fluff with which to stuff those Christmas stockings. But, ultimately, can we as global citizens really afford to just keep on buying and tossing plastic junk?
I’m as guilty as the next person … there are Beanie Boos lined up for the Christmas stockings this year (and considering what happened to my own Beanie Babies of yore, it’s not like they’re the most enduring gift), as are individually wrapped candies. But I’m also trying to prioritize a few more durable and waste-reducing gifts, and this list will help you do so too!
Bath time fun can be totally eco-friendly with the simple, natural ingredients found in Bubble Whoosh bubble bath and Bath Squigglers bath bombs from Vancouver’s Loot Toys.
Bath Squigglers colour the bath water with a fizz and have a little spongy character hidden inside. Bubble Whoosh makes a ton of bubbles and comes in different scents. There’s even a gentle, unscented version for those with sensitive skin.
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Santa likes to buy candies in bulk to cut down on packaging, and his elves can wrap these candies a bag that kids can reuse for snacking on the go!
Öko snack bags open wide and stand up like a bowl for easy snacking. Cinch them shut with the drawstring. The inside is lined with food-grade PUL and the outside is organic cotton.
Öko’s sandwich wraps are also perfect for wrapping up smaller gifts within the stocking or under the tree. After Christmas, use them in school lunches!
Kids love bath toys that squirt water. Parents hate how bath toys that squirt water grow mould and wind up getting tossed.
Marcus & Marcus bath toys were a Christmas gift to my kids two years ago, and they’re still regular bath time companions because they come in two pieces, so they dry out thoroughly between baths—there’s no mould growth, just tons of fun!
Kids love temporary tattoos. PiCo tattoos have the cutest designs, all printed with FDA-certified mineral ink and soy-based vegetable oils. These tattoos are designed in Canada and manufactured in the US.
Non-toxic nail polish is a must for the environment and for kids who can’t keep their fingers out of their mouths (ahem, Miss Cub!). We love Piggy Paint because it goes on easily, dries quickly, doesn’t stink and doesn’t contain ingredients like formaldehyde and acetone.
There are a lot of bamboo toothbrushes on the market, and we don’t have a particular favourite. This year Santa’s bringing Treefinity brushes. The handles are biodegradable, so I usually get my husband to snap off the tip of the brush and toss the handle in our compost. Even if you don’t have a compost program, these brushes are lower impact than their plastic equivalents, especially with their biodegradable packaging!
Bath crayons with 100% natural ingredients will keep the budding sudsy artist entertained while they get clean.
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Not only is the AppleCheeks MiniMini the perfect size for school snacks or as a little wallet, it’s also perfect for giving a gift card, cash or even homemade treats in this year’s stocking! The variety of prints means there’s something to please every kid (or grown up), and the seasonal Santa Paws print is purrfect.
Got a little bug who loves bugs? Skip the insect cages made of cheap plastic and turn an ordinary (and thoroughly reusable) mason jar into a bug exploration kit!
Smoothies and milkshakes—or just plain water—are more delicious from a straw! And reusable straws in your bag or in your utensil drawer will make a dent in your single-use plastic footprint.
Cut the tangles and the plastic with these eco-friendly combs that also come in plastic-free packaging!
A cute storage pouch and bamboo cutlery make To Go Ware’s Kids Utensil Set perfect for the lunch kit or diaper bag! And whether for at home or on the go, colourful RePlay utensils and dishes are made from recycled milk cartons.
This is the only reusable food pouch you need! It’s a no-spill solution to feeding smoothies, yogurt and purees on the go. Whether it’s for a baby just starting solids or a school-aged kid, this is my go-to pouch for serving liquid lunches. (The kind made of fruit and yogurt … not margaritas … although they’d totally work for margaritas.)
Whether it’s for a teething tot or for a preschooler’s farm, a wooden toy will last longer than its plastic friends and have a lighter eco footprint from a manufacturing standpoint. Naturally, I’m hoping Santa brings us some Holtzinger wolves!
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The toy section of most thrift shops is FULL of toys in great shape and at bargain-basement prices. I’ve found some of our stocking stuffers and gifts on my local Facebook swap & shop. There’s no shame in giving a second-hand toy … you’re likely to find one that looks brand new. Kids don’t care about the packaging, so just let them know that the elves took it off in advance!