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Keira is going to love getting this on December 25th.

Little Girl is going to love getting this on December 25th.

I’m posting this late today. My kids slept until 9:10 a.m. We were woken up by my friend Lori. Every year she wakes up at 3:30 a.m. to go brave the Black Friday sales. I texted her last night, asking if she could pick up something from Kohl’s for me. A Barbie cruise ship that was selling for $29.99 down from $80. And so she was calling at 9 to report in on her buys, and to break bad news. By the time she made it to the toy department (at 4:20 a.m.), all the allotted cruise ships had sailed. They were all gone, she said. “Everyone had them in their carts. It was crazy,” she explained.

I don’t feel so bad, though. This year, especially, when so many people are hurting, I don’t want to go too crazy with my kids. They have so much, and Little Girl, especially, is too young to care. Chris, my husband, said we should wrap up some of the old toys we have put away from Big Girl. Little Girl wouldn’t know the difference. I also feel, as someone who is out here on a daily basis talking about reducing carbon footprints, and saving the planet that I should be buying more environmentally-friendly gifts. Avoiding plastic and things with excessive packaging. So while most of you are already all shopped out for the day, here are some good sites to find eco-conscious kids’ toys and gifts.

  • This, That, Other Things Want to know what I am buying from this site? Organic play-doh. Little Girl loves using all the tools and molds we have, but I am always given a pause when I see the bright colors and slightly chemical-y smell of traditional molding dough. This stuff isn’t as bright as the day-glo colors kids might be used to, but I have a feeling the smell will make up for it. LOVE smelly dough! (It’s out of stock right now, but I will keep checking in on it. And yes, I know I can make my own, but I want something that looks professional under the Christmas tree.) See something you like? The company just sent me some coupon codes! BLACK15 for 15% off purchases over $50 and BLACK 20 for 20% off purchases over $150!
  • Franklin Goose. I love when I find a true gem while Web browsing. This site, which pledges to stockĀ  products that are “natural, organic, or made of recycled materials. Paint will be lead free. We will carry no electronic or synthetic toys,” is a breath of fresh air. Plus, it’s got a huge selection! Furniture, diapers, feeding items, clothing, bath & potty, books and DVDs. I was instantly impressed. And now I’m about to go buy a few natural training pants, soy crayon rocks, and the Plan musical band.
  • Amazon.com I stumbled upon this list of more than 1,100 organic and natural toys. I figured the folks at Amazon are not dummies. If the rest of the world is selling environmentally-friendly items, why shouldn’t one of the biggest online retailers? I loved that I could search by age, price, or interest. The Idbid organic stuffed raindrop looks so cute! I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the company is less wasteful this year than it has been in years past. (Tiny game in huge box ring any bells?)
  • Fat Brain Toys. Even before I was an organic convert, I loved this site. They have toys that are more educational. That let kids use their imaginations. So I was really happy when I saw the company had added a Green category to its site.
  • Your Local Shop. Of course, the best way to buy something is locally. Less packing materials, fewer cars, trains, and planes delivering it. More support of local vendors. That’s why I love the Breaking the Chains Buying Guide assembled by the Organic Consumers Association. Enter your Zip code, and find local merchants for all your gift-buying needs.

Know a site I’ve missed? Please let me know. And happy shopping! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Check back over the weekend when I’ll be updating my Crunchy and Green section (look at the tabs at the top of the page) with all the green and eco-related news of the week.

6 Responses to “Favorite Things Friday: Environmental Shopping”

  1. Okay, now tell me what I should buy my grandbaby. She’ll be 11 months old when Christmas rolls around. I have no idea. The family also likes organic–and they generally buy from second-hand stores. But I’m grammy; I’m buying brand new! I want to get cute clothes and fun toys, but they have a very small space. Do share your advice! Please.

  2. Jen Haupt says:

    What a great post for black friday! Something positive instead of just shop till you drop. And Jackie, I truly can’t believe you are a granny! Did you give birth when you were, what, 12?

  3. kb says:


    I have so many suggestions for you! I would suggest a tea set and a baby doll. Keira LOVES playing tea with her baby, making the baby “drink” from the cup. There are some nice eco-friendly ones out there. Want me to send you some specific ideas?

    And I agree with Jen! Jackie, you are too young to be a grandma!


  4. Ulrike says:

    Gosh, how I miss buying toys. Mine is now a teenager and apart from electronic ‘toys’ (such as a pink Apple laptop – dream on girl!!) there are clothes vouchers and make-up on the wish list. Gone are the days of the dreamy Barbie Jeep…
    Enjoy while you can.

  5. Alexandra says:

    Another eco-conscious Grandma checking in to say thank you for this list. I run a green B&B and want to steer my son’s family toward toys that are good for kids and the environment.

  6. sheri says:

    Thanks for the mention on your blog! I am so thrilled you like our site! We are working diligently to build a “safe” shopping site where grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents etc. can come and buy gifts, necessities, and treasures!
    Have a great holiday season!

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