Stocking stuffers can sometimes contribute to the arguably unfestive aspects of the holiday season. Oftentimes stockings are stuffed with unhealthy and unsustainable stuff like candy loaded with high fructose corn syrup, silly little plastic toys that immediately get lost among mountains of wrapping paper heading for landfill* or small gifts that people frankly don’t want or need but were jammed into stockings to fill them up.
This year, rather than focusing on the size of the stocking, consider focusing on the content. Stuffing a loved one’s stocking with tokens that were produced sustainably, locally or are guaranteed to have a long and useful life can make for a merrier Christmas for your loved ones, your neighbors and the planet.
Here are a few ideas to help you stuff a stocking that makes a difference:
A gift card to a downtown restaurant or another locally owned business. This supports Boulder’s local economy and gives its recipient an opportunity to have a great meal or purchase something that they need or want.
For taking care
For the ladies, the men who love personal care products and those who are gluten-free, consider stuffing their stockings with Lovely Lady Products, a Fort Collins-based business that was recently awarded 2012 Innovator and Entrepreneur of the Year by the Center for ReSource Conservation. Lovely Lady offers a range of facial, skin, hair and bath care products that are all 100 percent gluten-free.
A new pet no one has to walk
A certificate of adoption for an endangered animal like a manatee, which costs $25 and comes with an adoption certificate and a biography, is a great option for kids who love animals. This is an environmentally proactive gift and can also be used as an educational tool.
Also for kids, Safees are a great stuffer. These reflectors worn by pedestrians come in a variety of designs and colors, cost under $5 and have been proven to reduce pedestrian-related traffic accidents in the U.K. by 59 percent, according to the U.K. Department of Transit.
For cyclists or beer enthusiasts, a recycled bike chain bottle opener, made by Resource Revival, is a practical and useful gift and costs just $8.
The foodies on your list would likely appreciate food. Businesses around the county, like MM Local, Lucky’s Market and Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place, are now offering canned food like pears and beets, all sourced from local farmers.
Assorted sundries to stuff the toe
To round out the stocking with gifts that are not too expensive and still carry value, consider adding handmade soaps, which can be found at retailers around the city, reusable travel mugs or sandwich bags, a deck of cards made from recycled paper or arts and crafts made from eco-friendly and recycled materials for kids or your crafty friends and family members.
A sweet finish
Finally, a stocking would not be complete without something sweet — and something sweet, for most people, means chocolate. When selecting your chocolate, consider where and how it was made. Chocolove, which is based here in Boulder, offers 23 different varieties of chocolate bars, from creamy milk chocolate to super dark. And, each bar comes with a sweet love poem to accompany the chocolate-love you’re gifting the special somebodies in your life.
*Eco-Cycle accepts wrapping paper from December 26-January 31.