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#MomLife: Sustainable stocking stuffers

With the big day only a few weeks away, there are a few spots in Fort St. John where you can pick up some of these stocking-sized gifts
AMCullen-Santa2021
A.M. Cullen: "I've been thinking a lot recently on how to make my family's Christmas a "green" one. We've committed to gifting only used, handmade, or local things for our daughter this year." (Illustration by A.M. Cullen)

Dear Santa,

I've been thinking a lot recently on how to make my family's Christmas a "green" one. We've committed to gifting only used, handmade, or local things for our daughter this year. And though my partner can't quite sacrifice for a vegan Christmas dinner yet, we have been trying to incorporate more protein-heavy veggie options into our regular meal rotations.

Because I assume you're also concerned with the climate crisis (I imagine the property value of the North Pole will go down drastically if it melts away), I figured I'd offer some sustainable stocking stuffer ideas for you and your elves.

Stocking Stuffer #1: Reusable Tea Infuser & Bulk Tea

How it Helps the Planet: The carbon footprint of bagged tea is 10 times higher than loose leaf tea! And the primary reason reasons is because of all the extra packaging. Plus, all those fancy teas with nylon bags actually leech microplastics.

Stocking Stuffer #2: Bamboo Toothbrush & Sustainable Dental Floss

How it Helps the Planet: Most toothbrushes on the market are made of polypropylene plastics and nylon bristles – both are directly derived from fossil fuels. Bamboo is not only natural, but is incredible fast growing (ready to harvest in three to five years!). The best part is, when they're used up, remove the bristles and toss into the compost! There are also eco-friendly and biodegradable dental floss and toothpaste options out there too.

Stocking Stuffer #3: Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies

How it Helps the Planet: Two of the environmental impacts of our usual cleaning products are their heavy reliance on plastic packaging and emissions from international shipping. Liquid cleaners are made up of mostly water, so why are we shipping water all over the planet? There are a lot of different pint-sized products that would make a fun stocking stuffer including laundry strips, refillable soaps, concentrated cleaners, dryer balls, shampoo bars, and wooden scrub brushes (you can toss those into the compost too!).

Stocking Stuffer #4: Local & Beeswax Candles

How it Helps the Planet: Candles generally tend to fall into three categories: paraffin wax (which comes from petroleum), soy wax (but unfortunately is usually comes from genetically modified plants and sprayed with heavy pesticides), and beeswax. Beeswax is not only natural and clean-burning, but it's always best to see if your source is ethical and locally made – bees are having a hard time these days. There are also more North American companies producing non-GMO soy wax candles to keep an eye out for too!

Stocking Stuffer #5: Sourdough Starter

How it Helps the Planet: For those that didn't jump on the pandemic sourdough trend (or those who did and killed their sourdough baby), this is a fun and tasty hobby to try out in the new year. Sourdough starter is the wild yeast resulting from fermenting flour and water. It's sustainable compared to its over-engineered quick-rising counterpart because it requires minimal packaging, only uses two ingredients, and (if cared for) can last a long time! One baker in the UK uses a starter that's been living for 65 years! Even dormant, which is how you'll buy it, it can last forever. Back in 2019, scientists revived 4500-year-old yeast microbes from ancient Egypt! Forget sea monkeys this Christmas, practice some pet-ready responsibility by keeping starter alive!

Stocking Stuffer #6: Glass/Metal Straws

How it Helps the Planet: Scientists estimate there are approximately 8.3 billion plastic straws washed up on coastlines around the world making up about 1% of the waste in the sea. These days, many restaurants have made the switch to the slightly-less-wasteful paper straw, but switching to a reusable metal or glass straw is an easy way to reduce your waste.

Check Out Local

If you're in a bit of time crunch with the big day only a few weeks away, there are a few spots in Fort St. John where you can pick up some of these stocking-sized gifts under $20. Swing by NEAT Fireweed Market, The Artisan Farmhouse, or Homesteader Heath Foods, where their own Christmas helpers are happy to point you in the right direction.

Have a merry Christmas season and happy holiday prepping, Santa!

Sincerely,

A.M. Cullen

(P.S. Sorry for being a little cheeky this year; "good" seems to fall in more of a grey-area when you're a grown-up! :) )


A.M. Cullen lives and writes in Fort St. John. Are you parenting in the Peace? Send in your questions, topics, or suggestions for #MomLife to cover at momlife.ahnfsj@gmail.com.