For many, the idea of giving gifts around the holidays has become an obligatory gesture. Just look around at the increase in stress levels, the mall parking lot chaos, the increase in road rage just to name a few. Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t make gift giving seem like it is bringing out the best in us, quite the contrary.
Hence we should always remember that the holidays are NOT just about the gifts (if at all) and therefore we should not feel like this is something that we must do. In fact it would be great, especially in these harsher economic times for some and the increasing new age of awareness, to start setting some new traditions where materialism does not rule our life or the world.
If however you are going to be giving or exchanging gifts with people, hopefully the one thing that you do, is make the gift healthy and meaningful. I would also say practical, but I do not want to scare too many people off.
Hence over the next few days, I will be covering some healthy and meaningful gift ideas that can suit almost anyone, especially that hard to shop for person, are quite thrifty if money is a concern and most importantly are healthy! Today we begin with personal care products.
Personal Care Products
This is probably one of the most popularly given gifts around the holidays, one can easily tell as almost every company comes out with personal care gift sets around this time. This includes things like lotions, soaps, perfumes, etc. These have now for a long time, been accepted as not only the “safe” gifts to give (i.e. that can suit almost anyone and can always be used), but also the well-liked, favorable gifts to receive.
The big problem with most of these however is how TOXIC they are to our health. If you have not heard me say this before, most of the personal products out there today, are your health’s worst disaster. There are just too many chemical combinations in them and too many chemicals that either have not been fully tested, if at all or have been already proven to cause various ill effects. (Please don’t expect the FDA to step in and take them off the market…you can imagine what would happen to the economy then.)
Now all is not lost and you do not have to think that you can never give personal care products as gifts again, you just have to choose wisely from the healthy or healthier kinds. So here are some do’s and don’ts in terms of gift ideas, when buying personal care products as gifts.
PERSONAL CARE GIFT DO’S
If buying personal basic need items, like shampoos and soaps do consider ones from less toxic and as natural as possible sources. Your local health food store would be a good place to start to look for some of these products.
Make your own gift basket with items from the Green Beaver Company (probably one of the best companies out there where as natural as possible toothpaste, facial products, deodorants and hair care products are concerned)
For amazing soaps and lip balm, made from pure and organic Manuka Honey (with no harsh chemicals), consider Wedderspoon.
Consider trusted, natural soap makers in your area. Many of them make beautiful looking and great working natural soaps, like Sherri from Birch Bark Soap. These are a memorable personal touch, as well as a very useful gift.
For that person with a particular taste for the finer things in life, consider Giovanni Organic hair care products(pre-packed or make your own gift basket).
For an excellent assortment of organic, non-toxic and more natural makeup and other personal care products, consider FutureNatural, where you can find many excellent brands with their ingredients all listed.
Do buy as little in personal care products as possible. Focus and attention should be given to basic necessities, not the more the merrier idea. The less we give our bodies to absorb, the healthier we will be in the long run.
If in doubt, check out the item you are interested in buying on Skin Deep Cosmetic Database to get a general idea of its toxicity and health implications
PERSONAL CARE GIFT DON’TS
Do not be fooled by fancy packaging and colorful lotions and potions, these are some of the most toxic products for our health and bodies out there.
Specifically avoid those “cheap” pre-made boxes or baskets that contain many nice looking no-name items (lotions, soaps, bath gels, makeup, etc.). You know the ones that I am talking about, they come in lovely colors and packaging and spring up in stores like there is no tomorrow around the holidays.
Avoid any products that are very colorful (i.e. bubble baths, shower gels, glycerin soaps, etc.)
Avoid products with shimmers and sparkles. As pretty as they are, these are very toxic, especially if in lip products.
Never buy children any makeup. This includes lip glosses, nail polishes, etc. Why start ruining their health early?
Never buy children any fancy smelling and colored bubble baths, shampoos or lotions. These also are highly toxic, and can cause many allergic reactions, especially to the younger ones skin and respiratory systems.
Start saying no to perfume – for you or for others. For years, we have been conditioned to think of it as a luxury, but today perfume is known to trigger many headaches, including migraines, allergic reactions, asthma reactions as well as other breathing difficulties and even organ damage.
Stay away from large, mainstream companies. They use numerous chemicals despite fancy claims with words like “natural”, “organic” or “herbal”.
Avoid products from places that seem natural, but really aren’t, like The Body Shop and Lush, just to name a few.
Avoid products with SPF or sun protection in them. They use too many chemicals and for the most part are extremely unnecessary to be in your daily products.
Avoid highly fragranced items. You can smell these right away, but to double check their safety check the ingredient list for the ingredient fragrance or parfum. Aside from setting off chemical sensitivity and other allergic reactions, they have been proven to be very unhealthy for our bodies.
Alongside your gift, consider books like:
What’s In This Stuff?: The Hidden Toxins in Everyday Products – and What You Can Do About Them (Paperback) by Patricia Thomas
How Everyday Products Make People Sick: Toxins at Home and in the Workplace (Paperback) by MD Paul D. Blanc MD
The Hundred-Year Lie: How to Protect Yourself from the Chemicals That Are Destroying Your Health (Paperback) by Randall Fitzgerald
Ultimately, when it comes to buying and giving gifts, remember you probably love these people, or at least care about them in some way, hence it does not make sense to buy them something that can potentially be harmful to them whether it is in the short or long term. This is especially critical when it comes to children, teenagers and pregnant women’s health.
Also, for most meaningful gifts avoid last minute shopping. This will usually put you in a tight spot with little if any healthy or meaningful items to consider or choose from. Hence plan ahead!
Most importantly, whether you are buying gifts or not, enjoy yourself and do not add increased stress to your life because of materialism. Your health and overall well-being will thank you for this greatly.