You recycle everything. On Buy Nothing Day (Nov. 24), you actually buy nothing. Compost, vermiculture, charcoal water filters and a home efficiency audit are your everyday mode. You’re not just green, you’re deep green (many props to you!). So, how do you give in a way that doesn’t contribute to the holiday-industrial complex? How do you give the people in your life something special (or chip in to the annual white elephant at the office) without loading the planet down with more stuff? Here are Grid’s suggestions for thoughtful, creative gifts with minimal environmental impact.
Upcycled Cashmere Gloves from Sardine Clothing
This is guilt-free luxury: Maryanne Petrus Gilbert takes vintage cashmere sweaters and gives them new life as cute-but-practical fingerless gloves. Each pair is individually made, often with quirky stitching or appliqués. Pick up a pair at her boutique in Manayunk or swing by Sardine Clothing’s Etsy store to find the perfect pair.
Teas & Tinctures from Hunter Moon Herbs
Make a gift basket of a bottle of Fire Cider (an apple-cider-vinegar-based tonic meant to ward off colds), a bag of Relaxing Tea and one of the other carefully blended products from Philly-based Harvest Moon Herbs. Owner Lindsay Duggan, a trained herbalist, harvests all of the ingredients from her garden in South Philly, or forages them locally.
Love Letter Mural Train Tour From the Mural Arts Program
Almost every weekend, Mural Arts offers a train tour on the El of Steve Powers’ “A Love Letter for You,” a series of 50 murals painted on West Philly buildings in 2010. The 90-minute tour departs from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at 128 N. Broad St. and is led by tour guides who illuminate these tender works at various stops.
$22 per person, includes SEPTA token
Vegan Cork Wallet
The totes and wallets from local artist Tim Eads are beautiful, functional and low impact. They are screenprinted and handsewn right here in Philadelphia and come in cool, abstract prints that will stand out while you’re digging in your bag to pay for your meal at Blackbird Pizzeria. You can also find unbleached canvas totes and other great items in his extensive online shop.
A ‘Group Ride’ Commitment with the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia
All throughout the year, the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia offers a wide variety of group rides, ranging from entry-level to epic, for enthusiastic cyclists all over the region. Search its website to find a ride in 2018 that suits you and a pal, and sign up! It’ll give you something to look forward to after the indulgence of the holidays.
Free; membership is $20–$30 (optional)
Growler Fill from Your Local Brewery
Without packaging or fuel for shipping (and while supporting the micro-economy of your neighborhood), buying straight from the tap at your local brewery is by far the greenest way to procure beer. Glass growlers are reusable and recyclable—and they’re often stamped with the brewery’s logo, so you can rep your neighborhood, too.
Various prices, usually between $15–$25
Yes, summer gardens have withered, but there’s still plenty of color, texture and fragrance to be found in the flora outside your front door. Take a walk through the neighborhood, or find a trail to hike, and gather interesting leaves, sticks, berries, pine cones and anything else that catches your eye. Arrange these into a bouquet in a mason jar.