Econundrum: 10 Greener Gift Ideas

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[We interrupt our Copenhagen coverage for this week’s Econundrum:]

This year, my Christmas shopping goal was simple: No gadgets. But I’m beginning to think an electronics-free Christmas might be harder to achieve than I thought: According to Amazon’s weekly list of top-selling Christmas gifts, grown-ups are going crazy for Kindles, while kids are clamoring for something called Chuck My Talking Truck (“Not only does Chuck have over 40 spoken phrases and sounds, he also drives to you when called and shakes his bumper and dump bed while chatting and ‘working.’”) Creepy.

Doubting my ability to resist booty-shaking dump trucks, I decided to prevail upon the MoJo hive brain. Courtesy of our smart, thrifty, and eco-minded staff, here are ten greener alternatives to Amazon’s top ten gifts. (If the idea of buying more stuff doesn’t appeal, sit tight till next week: DIY gift ideas are on their way.)

1. Instead of: Baby Einstein Takealong Tunes
Try: Animal Dolls are huggable plush toys based on kids’ drawings. Made of organic materials, 100 percent compostable. Completely free of “high quality and enjoyable classical melodies.” ($24.99 at animaldolls.com)

2. Instead of: Hoover Vacuum Cleaner
Try: A National Parks Pass. No lint in the great outdoors! ($80 at nps.gov/fees_passes)

3. Instead of: Bakugan 7 in 1 Maxus Dragonoid Figurines
Try: Anyu, the organic cotton ice pixie who hails from a polar ice cap. And you know what evil forces are at work up there. Just imagine the dramatic play possibilities. ($22.46 at greenfeet.com)

4. Instead of: Givenchy PLAY Eau de Toilette
Try: A pretty Japanese Furoshiki. Wear it, giftwrap with it, or carry your lunch in it. ($9-$34 at furoshiki.com)

5. Instead of: Amazon Kindle
Try: Something retro: A used book. Bonus points for a childhood favorite, or a cool one that’s gone out of print. (prices vary; try your local bookstore or powells.com)

6. Instead of: Lego Ultimate Building Set
Try: BPA-free tea set made from recycled milk jugs. ($25 at potterybarnkids.com)

7. Instead of: Bare Escentuals Make-up
Try: Something frivolous: Mercy Corp’s Women’s Leadership kits. “Give women the resources to turn their ideas and energy into successful small businesses.” ($50 at mercycorps.org/mercykits)

8. Instead of: Levi’s Jeans
Try: Recycled shirt from Stella Neptune. I like this one, which features a jaunty skull wearing a slightly askew crown. ($68 at stellaneptune.com)

9. Instead of: Crocs
Try: Acorn Eco-Wrap Slippers, made of earth friendly fibers, including hemp, wool and yak. ($25.74 at sierratradingpost.com)

10. Instead of: Playskool’s Chuck My Talking Truck
Try:  Recycling truck from Green Toys, Inc. Made in the USA from recycled milk jugs; shipped responsibly. Never too early to learn proper sorting. ($21.95 at greenfeet.com)
 

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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