Green Christmas: Natural Kids Toys and Gifts for Guys

Green Christmas: Natural Kids Toys and Gifts for Guys

greenchristmas 1take 2

This is the last of the 3-day Green Christmas event, and today I want to share with you some options for children and the men in your life (because goodness, aren’t they always the hardest ones to buy for?)…

wooden tea set

Oompa– Toys, Gear, Furniture

When I first began learning about the toxins in plastic toys and possible lead contamination in items made in China was a lady on a mission to find toys that I felt comfortable allowing my children to play with (suck on, bite into, slobber over, sleep with).

One of the stores that I discovered in my over-zealous searching was I fell in love with their motto, “NO BATTERIES. NO BLINKING LIGHTS. NO CARTOON-THEMED TOYS. PERIOD.” I knew that I could browse through the pages of their website and stumble upon quality toy after quality toy. What a relief.

Since then, we’ve purchased quite a number of toys, games, pushcarts and more from Oompa, as have some of the grandparents at our suggestion. We’ve been so happy with these mostly European made, primarily wooden and cloth, child-friendly, creativity-inspiring, non-toxic playthings. So have our kids.

wooden fire truckThere are plenty of other amazing places these days where you can purchase toys and other play items just like these. Read this post on Safe and Natural Children’s Toys from last December for more on our personal play philosophy, the type of toys we keep in our home, and for some further shopping resources.

For Gift Giving: The possibilities are endless, really. Art supplies, baby toys, wooden vehicles, kitchen play, games and puzzles, ride ons…

Who Would Love to Get This: Ummm, kids. 🙂

Price Range: There are simple toys for as little as $1.99, and complex toys and furniture that ranges in the hundreds. There are a lot of items in the $10-$25 range. Check out their sale page, and their Haba clearance. There are also Black Friday coupon codes right now, and they also have a loyalty rewards program.

respectable sins jerry bridges

MP3 Files– Audiobooks, Sermons, Music and More!

I had to wrack my brain a little bit to come up with this idea for a “green” men’s gift, but here it is… what about audio files? This could be anything from music MP3s, to audiobooks (fiction or non-fiction), to sermons or podcasts. The possibilities are quite endless!

I ran this idea by my husband and though he really liked it, he had to ask me what makes it a green gift. Here’s my take on it: So many of the things we buy are “things”. They have to be produced, packaged, shipped, stored, etc. Audio files are beautiful in that so little materials or energy go into their production and distribution. No plastic cases or shrink wrappings, no trees being cut down, no trucks driving across the country. It’s one of the best things that has come out of new technology like MP3 files and iPods and all those fun techie things that most of our husbands love.

For Gift Giving:

:: They offer Christian downloadable files (and I would say mostly with reform theology). They sell audiobooks by authors like John Piper, J.I. Packer, Charles Spurgeon, as well as many of the Christian classics (like Bunyan). They have literature like Tolstoy, Mark Twain, even Sherlock Holmes, and many biographies of great men of the faith. There are also many sermons by popular speakers, as well as music, movies and more.

:: Other options include Amazon and iTunes for audiobooks (as well as music, of course). They have a huge variety, including many novels and Christian non-fiction books, as well as business or how-to books or other things that may be of interest. Right now, Audible Audiobooks has 2 free audiobook downloads when you begin a free trial!

20101121 waiting ready between the times medium img:: What about online sermons and podcasts? My husband loves to listen to sermons while driving or while doing mindless business work. Some of his favorites are Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill and John Piper of Desiring God. Both are available for free on iTunes (you can subscribe to their podcasts), or on their individual websites which I’ve linked to. If there is a speaker that your husband loves, you just may be able to find free podcasts for him.

Who Would Love to Get This: I think that you could find something that would suit any man, but this is particularly ideal those who commute for their jobs, who drive for a living or do manual labor and can listen while they work. There are also plenty of options out there for women and kids who love to listen as well!

Price Range: It really depends what you are looking at. Many podcasts are free, a lot of individual sermons or books can be as little as $0.99 or just a couple of dollars. Newer books, whole CD’s, some sermon series– these can be more in the $8-$20 range, and occasionally very specialized or large files (like entire conferences on MP3) can run more like $30-$50.

That’s it for Green Christmas! Now what are some of your creative ideas for giving in a “greener” way this holiday season?

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  1. We also follow this, but in our case, for our children (for birthday & xmas) we do, “Something to Read, something to wear, something to play with” thus being able to get them quality toys that will hopefully last into our grandkids use!
    Awesome idea about the men’s audio files, I think I may have found my (very hard) husband something he’ll love!!
    Also, we have that PLAN toys tea set above–the only thing about PLAN toys is that they are noticeably smaller than you would think.
    We also love: (This website has all different types of child size, workable “tools”! We just got my son a snow shovel for xmas off of this site for about $8!)
    Thanks for the ideas.
    Sarah M

  2. We love Oompa. Sarah, thanks for the sites above. I’ll check those out. We also prefer not made in China which makes it even harder.

  3. After the first Christmas with two little ones, and the literal car-load of toys and “junk” that went home with us from the family celebration, we put down some hard and fast rules for gifts! 🙂 No toys. Period. If they “need” a toy, we’ll find a way to get it, but they rarely “need” anything… so we’ve limited the gifts to clothes, shoes, books, and season passes to our local zoo and an aquarium. It works out really well. 🙂

    1. @Meg, Oh, you’re brave to put your foot down and say “no toys”. We definitely encourage people to buy things other than toys, but we’ve never said none. We just ask that they buy higher quality, non-toxic items and keep the toys very limited, and suggest lots of other gift possibilities instead! I’m glad to hear it’s worked for you, though. Hmmm… 🙂

      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Heh, well, it’s worked because I’ve been really “mean” about it. Toys that are given are taken back. :-/ We live in a 400 sq ft home, and there simply isn’t room for more. We had tried the “healthy toys” route, and it was just being ignored. So I was really upfront with our families and told them that the toys were either staying at their houses, or I was going to have to donate them. Since then, we haven’t had a problem… particularly with noisy, battery-operated toys 😉 Go figure!

        1. @Meg, Ok, with 400 sq ft, I don’t blame you one bit for being mean about it! Our house is much, much bigger than that (but I still think we have too many toys and they get all over the place), but if we had a really small place, I would put my foot down, too. 🙂

  4. I also love listening to Mark Driscoll and John Piper! I like to listen to sermons in the early morning (before the kids are up) or during nap time, while I clean or work in the kitchen. It helps me to keep my focus on Christ throughout the day, and since I love to multi-task, its good to have something to engage my mind while my hands are busy 🙂 Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC is also another fave of mine.

  5. here is another great gift for any fathers in your life: the book “pastor dad” by mark driscoll. the best part is that you can download and print it for free. and if you print it on reused paper like I did, it is even more green and frugal! (my hubby didn’t mind getting a present printed on reused paper, because he knows how I am 🙂 )

    you can download it here:

  6. I have a husband, and three sons – 19, 24, and 25 to buy for. I was hoping for more guy ideas here. They download sermons and music all the time on their own. Any other ideas, ladies?

    In my own search, here’s one good site:
    There’s a reading-in-bed pillow there, Hempy’s tri-fold wallet, and an Organic Lawn Care Manual for the yard-man-type. Lots of hammocks as well, but they’re always pricey.

    For kids, there are two experiment gift ideas I especially liked – one Green Science Enviro-Battery, and one a Tin Can Robot. My girls are 13 and 15, so it is sometimes a bit of a struggle to get them as enthused about all things natural when the world tempts them with all its zip and dash. (Although they are learning) I think experiments would be a lot of fun, and a good hook as well, perhaps. The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects might be good too. No reviews on that.

    I don’t have little ones anymore, but there is an adorable miniature playground set there as well.

    I just bought a Vita-Mix on sale at QVC, but the one there is $399. It might be a bit less than what I spent – not sure what shipping would add.

    Ok, gifts for men?

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