Gifts inspired by nature

By Paula Felps 

Create a shopping list with some help from Mother Nature this holiday season, and give simple yet thoughtful natural gifts that can be used over and over again — all the way down to the wrapping.

“Nature is constantly providing gifts to those who pause to appreciate them,” says Vicky Dorvee of It’s Only Natural Gifts in Niwot, Colo. “Every day, nature provides us with gifts far more meaningful and powerful than a man-made or store-bought item.”

While some of nature’s gifts — such as a breathtaking sunrise or the changing color of leaves in the fall — are impossible to wrap, others are perfect for sharing with friends and family. Finding natural-themed gifts provides a personalized alternative to today’s high-tech, whiz-bang gadgets.

Shopping naturally

Today’s organic and all-natural movements have gained a substantial foothold, which makes finding back-to-nature gifts easier than ever. Whether it’s an organic washcloth and all-natural soaps in an attractive wicker basket, or natural bath salts in a simple glass jar, these gifts reflect a personalization that gets lost in the shroud of hermetically sealed plastic of pre-packaged gifts.

“Sending wholesome and delicious food, body care products made from essential oils, cozy, all-natural baby items, and uniquely created household gifts sends a message of caring and appreciation for the recipient that [off-the-shelf] gifts cannot convey,” Dorvee says.

An added benefit is that natural products often come in natural packaging, which means it can be recycled or will decompose instead of sitting for decades in a landfill. “So the giver is giving more than just directly to the recipient,” Dorvee explains. “It’s good for Mother Earth.”

These simpler gifts also allow plenty of room for creativity. Buy an assortment of soaps, organic lip balm, and other natural care items and create several small gift baskets for co-workers or party guests. Another great option is to give natural foods — Dorvee’s personal favorites are organic toffee by Madison & Marcela and organic fair-trade truffles by Seth Ellis. Natural jams and jellies are always popular, too, she adds.

Natural selection

Of course, as with most gift giving, the biggest challenge is deciding on the right gift. Here are some ways to make that easier:

  • Give with your heart. What does the recipient enjoy? By paying attention to clues like what they do for others or where they like to shop, you can get ideas of what gifts they’ll appreciate. “The best gifts are ones that demonstrate you paid attention … and tailored a gift to address their unique interests,” Dorvee says.
  • Plan ahead. Be on the lookout well in advance for small, nature-inspired items that can be put aside for gifts. You won’t just be prepared; you’ll also have a better chance of finding these items on sale!
  • Watch the wrapping! Show your concern and respect for the environment with the gift wrapping, not just the gift. Look for recyclable paper, or even a stylish canvas bag that can be used over and over again.
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