Okay, so you've got a day, maybe two until you have to show up at someone's house with gifts - and you, unfortunately, have squat. Let's face it, there's no way in hell you'll be making anything from scratch at this point, but here are a few last-minute eco-friendly, consciousness-raising, ethically made goodies perfect for everyone on your list. (No mall purchases required.)
All's fair... on your holiday gift list
Get a please-anyone-on-your-list fair-trade frame hand-carved out of mango wood (now $13.20 at Blue Moon's temporary location beside the Big Carrot on Danforth) or a fair-trade ceramic vase (only $8.70 at Blue Moon). Ten Thousand Villages on Danforth has all kinds of funky ethical jewellery, including this necklace rolled out of Filipino newspapers ($5). iPod junkies with an eco edge will love this hand-woven jute iPod holder ($29.99 at Grassroots on Danforth or Bloor). Give a cooped-up gardener an adorable window box ready to grow heirloom herbs, edible flowers, catnip or even green tea (from $14.99 at Grassroots). And the sage-coloured dragonfly pot is not only cute, it's co-op- made by Balinese artisans ($26 at Ten Thousand Villages).
Body and soap
This gorgeous soap holder made of recycled glass makes a great gift, especially if you drop a bar of local organic soap into the mix (holder $14.49 at Grassroots, soap $4). Natural beauty care connoisseurs will go gaga for Dr. Hauschka's Daily Face Care Kit (from $22.95 at Essence of Life on Kensington, Big Carrot and Noah's locations). And the sampler of six biodynamic cleansers, creams and toners comes in a slick reusable tin. Bring out the herban cowboy in your man with an old-fashioned mug ($15.99 at Big Carrot), a handmade wooden shaving brush with natural unbleached boar bristles ($7.99) and a bar of Hempen Stuff's Hair Raiser shaving soap ($3.49). Maybe you can even turn him into a morning person with revitalizing Tired Old Ass splash aftershave made with witch hazel and eucalyptus ($9.99 at Big Carrot; Tired Old Ass bath soak also available).
What kind of uncle would you be if you handed your niece a toy moulded out of smog-inducing PVC and harmful plastic-softening phthalates? All Plan Toys, like this balancing monkey set, are made of wood from rubber trees that have stopped producing latex, and are coated with non-toxic finishes ($24.50 at the Toy Space, on Bathurst near King; Plan pull toys and more also available at Treasure Island on Danforth). HaPe's balancing panda dice game is made of renewable bamboo ($14.50 at the Toy Space), and this fairly traded doll was handcrafted in Kenya ($28 at Ten Thousand Villages; traditional Masai outfit sold separately).
So many non-governmental organizations have all sorts of wonderful adopt-a-this and plant-a-that gift suggestions. Too bad all you last-minuters missed the boat on having them shipped directly to your loved ones. But betchya didn't know you could still drop by your favourite org's office and pick up some merch in person - like WWF's adopt-an-elephant, panda or coral reef kit ($40, Eglinton office open till 6 pm Thursday, 2 pm Friday). War Child Ts, tanks and hoodies are available at War Child Canada's office on Richmond West until 5 pm Thursday and Friday. You can also give out good tunes and feel good knowing the money goes to hurricane relief. (CDs include Higher Ground, a jazz benefit concert, and Come Together Now, a mix of songs by Coldplay, Wyclef Jean and more and classics by New Orleans natives.)
The booze that keeps on givin'
Everyone gives wine as a hostess gift. Why not take the opportunity to introduce friends and family to some of the more enjoyable fruits of organic agriculture? Many LCBO locations carry a small assortment of labels, including Tommolo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($13.95) and Bonterra Chardonnay ($16.95). Introduce beer fans to this pretty bottle of St. Peter's Organic English Ale ($3.25) or Toronto's own Mill Street Organic Lager ($9.75/six). Serious gin mummies will love Juniper Green Organic London Dry Gin made with organic coriander, savory and angelica root ($27.95).
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