Naughty or nice? That's not the criteria we're using to choose gifts this year - we want our holidays to be green. We've looked around the Granite State and selected a few gifts that we thought would be good for people on your list who either think green or those that will give the green gift giver some peace of mind. We wanted presents that were good for the environment, good for your health, ones that were made locally or were purchased using fair trade practices. We chose a few items from stores and websites around the state - all of which have plenty to offer for the socially conscious and environmentally aware gift giver.
What could be more green than a retro bike rebuilt for comfort by Paul Keegan and sold at his 1 World Trading shop at 76 Congress St., Portsmouth. Re-Cycles Bicycles Unlimited (1worldtradingco.shoprw.com) strips old Raleighs, Schwinns and Columbias and outfits them with swooped-back handlebars, cushy spring saddles, fenders and racks and turns them into functioning one-speeds for cruising about town. The bikes retail for about $200. And if your teen is biking in cool weather, you might want to pick up a handmade alpaca mountain chullo hat made by knitting cooperatives in Bolivia at either the Portsmouth or Nashua store at 204A Main St.
You can't get more green or teen than vintage vinyl and Odyssey and Oracle on Fleet Street in Portsmouth. The shop has a wide selection of retro recordings ranging in price from $4 for Flock of Seagulls to $150 for an early album by The Cramps. The shop also has a wide selection of vintage punk rock regalia including Ramones T-shirts for $25.
If you have a teen, chances are you have someone addicted to Chapstick in your house. Instead of trying to get them to kick the habit, why not try to turn them on to something more natural and local? Seriously Big Lip Balm ($7) by Karma Balm of Bethlehem is made with sunflower, olive and rose hip oil and is about three times larger than that other brand. Available online at www.karmabalm.org and at WREN in Bethlehem.
With its graceful swirls and earthy colors inspired by nature, Cornish Hill Pottery is made and sold by Gogi Millner in her shop at 39 N. Main St. in Wolfeboro. Watch Millner as she crafts her plates, bowls, lamps and other home décor at the shop. For something really special, you can have your pottery personalized Also available on her website, www.cornishhillpottery.com. Prices start at $18.
Kathi Rienstra of Concord is a magician of sorts - turning plastic grocery bags into amazing purses, baskets and totes which look like woven straw ($12-$35). By the way, it was her grandma who taught her how to crochet with plastic bags. To buy go to www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyKathi or visit the Just Be Boutique, 60 North Main St., Concord.
Treat the women on your list to a sweet night out - sometimes there's nothing better - at a Champagne and Chocolate tasting, featuring local vintners and chocolatiers at the Concord Cooperative Market, 24 South Main St., December 9, from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for co-op members and $20 for non-members. Stop by the store or call (603) 225-6840 to purchase tickets. www.concordfoodcoop.com
At the Hannah Grimes Marketplace, 42 Main St., Keene, the mission is to educate and encourage local entrepreneurs. There will be plenty of things here you'll want for the woman in your life. We like the handmade American hardwood cheese board ($36) from Knot-Again and the smashing hand-knitted and felted hand bags ($55) from Grimes Handbags in Greenfield. www.hannahgrimes.com.
It may be a small shop, but everywhere you look at JM Princewell on the Oval, 127 Union Sq., Milford, there are recycled and fair trade gifts with a fashion-forward twist, including Haitian sculptures made from recycled steel drums, sweaters made from recycled textile ends and our favorite - Beads for Learning Bracelets ($12.95) from the Leakey Collection, which can be worn by adults and children. The stretchy, multi-colored bracelets are made in Kenya from native grasses by Massai artisans. All of the money the Leakey family makes from the sale of the bracelets goes to educating Kenyan children. Five bracelets pay for a teachers' salary for a day.
Why tour the Queen City in an exhaust-belching motorcar when you can see Manchester behind the handles of a Segway, the one-person green people-mover invented by Granite State's Dean Kamen. The tours are preceded by instruction on the use of the high-tech vehicles at the tour group's headquarters on 42 Hanover St. The vehicles are easy to use and you will soon be gliding through the city like George Jetson. Gift certificates are available for the two hour ($69) and three hour tours ($99) and include a free pass to the Millyard Museum (segwayofmanchester.com).
We have chosen to save the world one mow at a time with our beloved hand-push lawn mower that allows us to avoid driving a an exhaust-belching behemoth and get a little exercise. We got ours for $10 bucks at a yard sale, but Sears.com, which calls them green machines, sells push mowers for $92.95. Cleanairgardening.com has several ranging in price from $109-$259.99.
Don't have a cow, man, donate one through the Heifer Project. The nonprofit organization is out to feed the world by donating livestock to farmers in Africa, Asia, South America and the South Pacific and is the perfect gift for the man who has everything and a big heart. You can make a donation in the name of a friend or relative. One heifer costs $500 or $50 for a share; a llama is $150 or $29 a share; and a flock of geese is $20. You can also donate a tree for $60 or honeybees for $30. Contact Heifer.org or (800) 422-0474.
Forget those salty rubber salamis sets that are sold in malls during the holiday season. Think and eat local. At the North Country Smokehouse in Claremont, third-generation butcher Mike Satzow prepares smoked meats and cheeses using Old World techniques. A 16-lb. bone-in smoked ham is $79.50; four applewood-smoked pork chops with onion-cider glaze are $21.95; smoked chicken sausage with cilantro and chipotle go for $24.95. The smokehouse is part of the Free Farmed program, which assures proper care and handling of livestock. You can find them on the Internet at ncsmokehouse.com.
For the handyman on your list, check out Admac Salvage, www.admacsalvage.com, in Littleton for vintage door knobs, bath fixtures and ornate radiators, just to name a few.
Help your man feed his family well. Community Supported Agriculture is the wave for the future for many family farms that need a boost and a little insulation from the vagaries of the market. Participants buy a share in the produce grown on the farm and in return get ultra fresh vegetables when they become available and develop a relationship with a local farmer. The Holland Farm in Milford has been in the family since the 1770s. They grow arugula, cauliflower, lettuce and more than two dozen other vegetables. The also sell goat cheese and chicken eggs at their farmstand. Shares for the 2011 season are $325 for a half share, $500 for a full share. Visit Hollandfarmcsa.com for information. For a listing of other Granite State CSAs, visit www.localharvestnh.com.
Find fair trade and natural products (and consignment clothes) for moms, kids and moms-to-be at Mother & Child, Greystone Plaza, 650 Amherst St., Nashua. We love the Organic Tie Dye Toddler Socks ($8.99) made with low-impact dyes and the colorful, funky recycled bibs made from fused recycled bags ($5.99). mothersays.shoprw.com
If you're visiting the little town of Bethlehem, you can find come great gifts and do good at the same time at WREN, the Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network, which is devoted to creating and supporting markets for local artists, artisans and rural entrepreneurs. Shop at their Local Works Marketplace, 2013 Main St., where you'll find presents for the whole family and some real cunning stuff for kids like hand-made, kid-sized wooden Adirondacks and rocking chairs from a Littleton craftsman ($20), "Locally Made" WREN organic children's t-shirts ($15) and CDs by Bramble Jam ($12.99), a group of New Hampshire parents and musicians who produce children's albums "with no lessons or messages - just fun music for families." www.wrencommunity.org
Is your little one into rock? No, not the music, real rocks. At Santerre's Stones 'n Stuff at 42 Water St. in Exeter, you can purchase a prehistoric fish fossil preserved in sandstone millions of years ago or a meteorite that crashed to earth. Proprietor Neil Santerre is a loquacious guide to the boxes filled with exotic rocks as well as jewelry he fashions himself. Santerre is also a wildlife photographer who also sells his prints of polar bears and wolves. www.santerresstones.com
These are not your parents' Wham-O hula hoops. At the Veggie Art Girl Boutique, Rtes. 175 & 3 in Holderness, owner and designer Stacey Lucas will help you make your own colorful hoop for $15 during one of her Hula Hoop workshops, or you can buy one already made. The hoops are also sold at WREN in Bethlehem ($28). www.veggieartgirl.com
Be the hero of anonymous giving with an orange peel box ($9) from Fa La Lo (which stands for fair labor or local), 51A Ceres St., Portsmouth, where everything is local and fair trade. The box is made in Bolivia from actual orange peels with a painted purple or orange flower on top. This is a little gift that is not only delicate and beautiful, but also smells like fresh citrus when you open it. www.falalo.com
Let's face it, shoving a grocery bag in a really nice wastebasket is an eyesore and still involves throwing plastic in a landfill. Buy a Think Green Basket Liner ($6) instead. These washable cloth liners are functional and adorable in everything from holiday patterns to designer prints. They're handmade by Carol Ann Sawyer who sells them at New Hampshire crafts fairs and on line at www.thinkgreenbasketliners.com.
If Santa's feeling particularly generous, he could buy a bottle of local vino from Walpole Mountain View Winery - perhaps the Barnett Hill Blush to go with the holiday roast? Available at the winery at 115 Barnett Hill Rd., Walpole, or at area stores including Hannah Grimes Marketplace and Ingenuity Country Store, Keene, and Burdick's Walpole Grocery. www.bhvineyard.com
Hey, pets like to eat local, too. Barkin' Biscuits in Bedford makes natural healthy snacks for your dog. How about a half-pound Yogurt Bone made with whole wheat and peanut butter and coated in yogurt or a Carob Bone for $5? And for that pooch that's getting up there in years, there are carrot and molasses treats made with flax seed and cinnamon ($7) that are said to be good for arthritis. Visit barkinbiscuit.com for a listing of retailers or to buy online.
First there was doga, now there is Calm Canine Mist (4 oz. for $9) at Bella Oils on 111 Main St. in Nashua. This mixture of essential oils is meant to calm anxious pets. Just squirt the mist in the air and watch Fido chill. The shop also makes aromatherapy oils and perfume for your human friends, too. www.bella-oils.com.
OK, technically this is not a gift for dogs, although if you were Paris Hilton it might be fun to carry your pooch around in totes made from recycled dog food bags ($9) made by a Berlin crafter and sold at WREN in Bethlehem.
Pretty Green Gift Ideas from Made in NH MembersAll member products are by definition locally produced and hence pretty green, but here are a few suggestions for products that are truly green at heart.
Recycled glass custom-pressed suncatcher ornaments
Old Hancock Glassworks
Heirloom teddy bears from loved, but no longer worn, fur coats and stoles
(603) 569-0039, Wolfeboro
Historic Barn Candles made with Soy-based wax and glass ball Mason jars found in barns in New Hampshire
Canterbury Barn Candles
Go Green Go
Composting Worms that turn kitchen scraps into rich, healthy compost
Joan's Famous Composting Worms
Vintage tea cup birdfeeders
Antique sleigh bells hand-stitched on a top-quality natural leather strap provide a distinctive sound of the past.
Made by Diane Louise Paul
Listen, you can buy green all you want, but if you're left with a pile of shining wrapping paper and glittery ribbon that can't be recycled, what's the point? We're not suggesting your stunning Christmas tree tableau be spoiled by a mass of old newspapers wrapped in duct tape. How about putting your gift in a reusable, cloth grocery bag? Or better yet, why not make the wrapping another gift - think a bright kerchief, cloth napkin or colorful dish towel with twine, scrunchies or a headband instead of ribbon? And if you cave and give or receive traditional wrapping paper, run it through the paper shredder and use as gift box filler or shipping material.
Regifting isn't an insult, it's an art form. We like to think of it as spreading the joy and the ultimate in recycling. We're not alone. According to studies by Consumer Reports and Money Management, 36 percent of adults said they would recycle a gift and more than 50 percent of consumers do not think regifting is rude. But there are some rules. According to Barbara Bitela, the author of "The Art of Regifting," the present has to be unused (though an exception may be made for antiques and collectibles) and you should take extra care to avoid regifting a present to the person who gave it to you.