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Barb Fine finds the best planet-friendly presents

The snow is making it feel more and more like Christmas is coming. Now, I don’t know if that means it will stay around for a white Christmas this year, but being the owner of an online toy store dedicated to all things truly eco-friendly I do know two things: one,  how to convince my kids I am indeed one of Santa’s elves (shhh, it’s a secret! and two, what the most popular, fun, funky and planet-friendly toys and games for gift-giving are this year.

So, if you’re looking for something cool, green and fabulous for a fun-loving special peep check out my following top great green holiday gift ideas.

Local Sweet Treats

Whether it is from the neighbourhood bakery, craft sale or from somewhere luxurious, giving our little ones locally made treats, even if not all organic and fair trade is a super way to give green. With no preservatives or icky chemicals and made close to home, natural gingerbread men like these from Soma are a wonderful alternative to mass produced, hydrogenated chocolates and sweets.

Retro Classic Redux

You’d have to be a Blue Meanie not to think this all natural latex Yellow Submarine bath toy wasn’t awesome. Made by a company whose been around for over 50 years making nothing but safe, natural rubber products, these bath buddies are brand-new old-school cool.

Rainbow Rhythm

Helping kids get their groove on rules which is why I just love this rainbow clatter musical instrument. It’s not just a funky music-maker that’s fun to watch but a great green instrument by Plan Toys who always work hard to produce responsible, ethical eco-friendly toys.

Gifts of Magic

Give kids the lesson of giving back by purchasing a UNICEF Gift of Magic like pencils or storybooks for school children in places where they wouldn’t have access to them without help. Explain what it’s all about. Sometimes the greatest gift we get is the lesson to give to others.

All About Animals

Eco-friendly and made in the GTA, this beautifully illustrated endangered species memory game by Toronto artist Anouk Bikkers is completely manufactured between Scarborough and Mississauga using veggie inks and FSC Certified mixed sources. It comes with a fully illustrated book inside full of facts and information about each of the 36 endangered animals depicted in the game. If that wasn’t enough Anouk’s Ark pays it forward as a 1% for the Planet member.

Boom Boom Baby!

Join the Boom Boom Revolution’s uprising of guerilla goodness with these unique cards. Do a card, tell your story, pass it on and track it online. You might be asked to plant something green, find out where your food comes from or to leave a note for your mail carrier thanking them for the great job they do — each deck has 26 different cards to challenge you to recognize the goodness you do and to try to do something new. In our house we are playing the Family Deck but with four different ones (Family, Teen, Green and 0riginal) there’s a way to play it forward for everyone. And with each deck you register, a portion of proceeds goes to a charity of your choosing. Hows that for green gift-giving with extra good karma?

Eco Town

As a kid, I dreamed of waking to find a huge train set under the tree Christmas morning. This modern Eco Town version set up under the tree from Santa is a sure hit! (Trust me, I’m an official Christmas Elf!) With a mat instead of a track, little guys can drive their alternative cars and electric trains wherever they please in this town complete with people, eco-charging stations, recycling centres and a fully furnished eco home, all ethically manufactured with sustainable woods and soy-based inks.

Glamming Up Safely

Little girls and big ones alike love getting a little dazzle and  polish in their stockings, but no one really loves the idea of putting things like acetone, thulane and formaldehyde on their nails, let alone on little kids’ nails. Made in America and “natural as mud” Piggy Paints are awesome safe natural nail polishes that come in a tonne of colours from pinks to black and even glow-in-the-dark! There’s a perfect a colour for every eco-conscious fun-loving ballerina, diva and rock star of any age! Yup, I wear them too!

Barb Fine is the mother of two wacky kids and owner of Little Footprints, an online shop committed to finding the best planet-friendly fun and games for kids of all ages. When not busy playing around, you can find her tweeting, occasionally blogging for herself at Planet-Friendly Kids and generally being just a wee bit silly.

Image of rainbow clatter toy from Little Footprints

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