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20 Eco-Friendly Basket and Gift Box Ideas

20 Eco-Friendly Basket and Gift Box Ideas

If you’re ever stumped about what to get someone as a gift, a basket or box filled with fun stuff is always a great fall-back plan. Here are a few ideas that might inspire you:

1. Celebratory “Just Because” Gift

Sometimes it’s just lovely to surprise someone with something special, and a little gift basket full of a few cute things can do wonders to make someone smile. A small basket with some chocolate or homemade cookies, a hand-written card or letter, and a mix CD with some great songs is sure to make anyone smile… and this gift can be for any reason at all.

2. Wedding Present

You can spoil the lucky new couple with a variety of items, or you can aim for a themed gift:

  • Bathroom items like organic loofahs, soaps, lotions, and soft towels
  • Kitchen equipment such as bamboo utensils, placemats, and cutting boards
  • Living room accoutrements like a soft woven throw blanket, soy candles, and a potted plant

3. New Baby

That little bundle of bliss is so fresh and new, you don’t want any gross chemicals touching its sensitive skin! If you’re putting together a gift for a baby shower (or a newborn), get yourself a re-usable bag so the parents can haul the kid’s stuff in it, and fill it with items that will make the wee one as happy as its parents. Items like an organic cotton onesie, a sustainable wooden teething toy, organic baby bottom balm, and a Waldorf doll would be sweet for any kidlet to receive.

4. Items for a New Mom

New moms need all the pampering they can get (considering how much they’ve just been through!), so be sure to put together something sweet that the special lady will appreciate. A re-usable tote bag can be filled with things like post-partum/lactation support teas (like the ones from Traditional Medicinals), as well as organic nursing bra pads, Shea Moisture raw healing lotion, and even a “baby and me” yoga DVD. A bit of dark, raw chocolate is almost always welcome, and a hand-written letter would brighten any new mom’s spirits.

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5. Heading off to college

Leaving home to go to college is a huge, life-changing step for many young people, and it can be a bit intimidating too. For them, consider a basket of vegan/organic personal care products—such as facial scrub, toner, moisturizer, shampoo, and deodorant—a bottle of multivitamins (because you know they’re going to eat a lot of junk food), bamboo plates and cutlery, and a soy candle for some warmth and comfort.

6. Housewarming Present

For a person or couple who’s moving into a new space, a metal or BPA-free plastic bucket with environmentally-friendly cleaning products and household items would be a great idea. Toss in some essential oils like lemon, grapefruit, lavender, and tea tree, along with a package of soap nuts for laundry, and some beechwood and agave fibre scrubbing brushes.

7. Young Child

Kids love to explore and use their imaginations, so why not give them ample fuel to do just that? There are Waldorf toys to suit every age group imaginable, so why not take a small ethically-made backback and pack it with a toy or two, a book, a handmade hat or pair of mittens (depending on the season), and some organic/vegan kid-friendly snacks—that you’ve cleared with the parents beforehand, of course.

8. The Anniversary Gift

What better way to get a couple to celebrate their anniversary than to send them off on a picnic with a bunch of great, natural accoutrements? You can find an ethically-sourced picnic basket and plate set and tuck in a couple of re-usable cutlery sets and cotton napkins as well. A bottle of organic wine and a pair of recycled glass or BPA-free plastic glasses would be lovely, and you can also add an assortment of nibbles, like whole grain crackers, veggie pate, olives, dried fruit and nuts, and free-trade chocolate.

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9. Teenager

Teens have such a wide variety of tastes that it’s difficult to buy for them. Aim for gifts that are sure to be used, even if they’re accepted with a sullen shrug: a large vintage lunch box or tote bag can be filled with items like a recycled journal with a few pens, a stainless steel or glass water bottle, some eco-friendly earbuds, and maybe a growing kit for their own tea herbs.

Note: Stay away from skincare products unless you’re really close to the teen (like, if you’re an older sibling), as you don’t know how sensitive their skin might be, what their preferred fragrances are, or whether they’d be creeped out by you giving them stuff for their face and hands.

10. The Knitter

If someone in your life is a knitting fiend, see if you can find a cute, ethical knitting basket for them and fill it with items they’re sure to love. Sustainable, free trade wooden needles are absolutely gorgeous, but stainless steel ones are always good too. Add in a few skeins of organic bamboo or cotton yarn in their favourite colours, and let them loose to work their magic.

11. Summer Fun Kit

For those who live for warm weather and can’t wait to hit the beach, pack up a tote bag with some organic/vegan sunscreen, insect repellent, after-bite balm, after-sun soother made with organic aloe vera, a sun cap (or wide-brimmed hat for women/girls), and a reusable water bottle.

12. Breakup Soother

I think we’ve all helped friends through breakups at one time or another, and putting together a gift with a few things to cheer someone up will hopefully brighten their spirits a little. An assortment of organic and/or vegan/non-dairy mini ice creams and sorbets can bring at least a bit of joy to the one hoovering them into their face, and a toy voodoo doll set might help to get some frustrations out. Toss in a journal for working out negative emotions, a copy of Pema Chodron’s book “When Things Fall Apart”, and let the healing begin.

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13. For the Avid Gardener

Some people are just born with a green thumb, and for them, you can fill a large metal watering can with heirloom organic seeds, sustainable bamboo-handled garden implements, vegan/organic sunscreen, compost tea powder, organic cotton gardening gloves, knee pads, and even a handful of seed bombs. Actually, add one more: soothing cream for hands that get chapped from working the soil for hours every day.

14. Bibliophile

Most of us know at least one person who’s a total book fiend, and fortunately, gifts for these folks are super-easy to put together. Grab a literary-themed tote bag and toss in a tome from their Amazon or Goodreads wish list, a decorative metal or sustainable wood bookmark, a mug, pack of assorted teas, a journal for notes, and a pen.

15. The Bath Enthusiast

Does someone you love spend all the time they can soaking in a tub? If they do, can you blame them? Fill a re-usable wicker basket with an assortment of organic, vegan, scented bath bombs, salts, bubble bars, and oils, along with a loofah, bath pillow, and some soy candles, and you’ll provide them with the kind of R&R most of us will only dream about.

16. Foodies and Gourmets

Food can indeed be a celebration, and people who enjoy tasting and experiencing new, comely comestibles can be super-fun to buy for. A beautiful basket can contain items like gluten-free organic crackers, vegan caviar, organic/free range charcuterie, local cheeses, free trade chocolate and coffee, and locally-produced jams and preserves. Introducing friends to things like ox eye daisy capers or birch syrup can be life-changing for them, and if you’re really nice, maybe they’ll share with you.

17. For the Pet Parent

For many people, pets are beloved family members and they spoil their furry/feathered kids rotten. If your friends live for their pet, you can put together a little basket of treats, toys, and even a little framed picture or outfit, depending on what kind of animal it is. If you have any doubt about what kind of foods are appreciated by the little feathery or furry beasts, ask in advance.

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18. The Jetsetter

The person who travels a great deal, either for work or pleasure, can sometimes miss the comforts of home. For them, you can fill a small carry-on bag with travel-sized organic care items (toothpaste, shampoo, hand cream), natural bristle toothbrush, hand sanitizer, and bamboo utensil kit. You’ll get bonus points if you also add in a bean-filled neck pillow, book light, and vegan leather luggage tags.

19. Artistically-Inclined

To fuel the imagination of the creative type in your life, consider a small bag that’s filled with a recycled paper sketchbook and sustainable wood pencils, a set of eco-friendly paints or clay, and a hand-written note of encouragement.

20. Condolence Basket

When someone has lost someone important to them, they need care in any form possible. A journal and pen to work out their thoughts and emotions often helps, and a mug paired with a container of organic hot chocolate can be of immense comfort: warmth both inside and out. A heartfelt letter letting them know that you’re there for them would be lovely, as would a small plant, and if the recipient is a child, some sort of stuffed animal. If the one they lost passed on because of a disease, a card that mentions your donation to the charity that funds research for that illness would likely also be appreciated.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on October 14, 2019

12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

The most valuable thing an experienced person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes.

People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format — they use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest inspirational speeches:

1. JK Rowling teaches us to not fear failure no matter how bad things become

It is a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s now-famous Harry Potter series was turned down by several publishers before it was finally picked up. Those publishers are likely kicking themselves in the pants right now. However, before that, JK Rowling was in a fairly dire situation and was on the brink of failure. Despite being turned down time and time again, she kept trying. Her efforts paid off. Harry Potter is now a ubiquitous character in today’s world culture. Despite failing over and over again, Rowling kept trying and fulfilled her dreams. You can watch her deliver some valuable life lessons in her Harvard commencement speech video above.

2. Steve Jobs teaches us to never settle

Steve Jobs had a fairly tumultuous life. He co-founded Apple, was kicked out of the company, came back, and then re-defined the mobile phone space with the iPhone. Even if iPhones aren’t the rage they once were, its iconic value is forever written in stone. One thing Jobs never did was settle. He lived life on his own terms and was rewarded for it by being dubbed one of the most revolutionary voices in technology of our time. In the Stanford commencement speech above, Jobs explains how you should never settle for what someone else wants out of your life. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it.

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3. Admiral William H McRaven teaches us to make our beds every day

Anyone who has gone through the basic training of a military service will tell you it’s pretty difficult. However, every seemingly obnoxious step is actually a life lesson in disguise. This even applies to flawlessly making one’s bed every single morning. As Admiral William H McRaven teaches us, recruits are taught to make their beds every morning to remind them that even the little things in life matter. After all, how can you be expected to handle the biggest obstacles in your life if you can’t even handle the small and the mundane like making your bed every day? You can watch the entire speech in the video above.

4. Author David Foster Wallace teaches us that we’re a part of a greater existence

David Foster Wallace found fame in 1987 with his book The Broom of the System. Nearly 20 years later in 2005 he game a commencement speech at Kenyon College that is worth listening to at least once. In his speech, he reminds us that was are but a part of a huge, dynamic, ever changing interaction of life forms. In order to truly experience life, we need to leave our personal bubbles and interact with others even if it’s in an unpleasant way. Wallace states, “It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” You can watch the whole speech above.

5. Stephen Colbert teaches us that life isn’t something you can plan

If there is anyone who knows about improvisation, it’s comedian Stephen Colbert. In his commencement speech at Northwestern University in 2011, Colbert reminded students that you cannot plan life. Life throws too many curve balls. There are too many unpredictable things that can happen. The most successful and happy people are not those who have a plan, but those who can roll with the punches and overcome the obstacles. He goes on to site his time as an improv comic and how all of the actors working together to create a scene out of literally nothing are all working for one another. He states that like improv comedy, you don’t know what happens next in life. You just make it up as you go along. You can watch the whole speech above.

6. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to not sweat the small stuff

Some of our younger readers may not know Kurt Vonnegut. He is a famous author that found of of his success during the middle of last century. In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was at Agnes Scott College giving a commencement speech. During the speech, he mentioned that in order to live a more complete life, people needed to let stuff go. He argued that you cannot reasonably expect others to forgive you for your mistakes if you cannot forgive others and that you cannot live life fostering a personal vendetta against others.

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7. Neil Gaiman teaches us that success can be distracting.

Neil Gaiman is most known for his work in a number of literary mediums including journalism, comic books, and novels. In 2012, Gaiman gave a speech at the University of the Arts where he talked about success. He stated that when you become successful, you may be unintentionally swayed from performing the actions that made you successful. Gaiman recalled his early success and how he felt pressured to answer emails all day long and it actually prevented him from writing as much as he wanted. So he reminds us to keep doing what makes us successful and to not let others get in the way.

8. Barack Obama’s life lessons teaches us that you really can beat the odds

We know that not everyone likes Barack Obama but that doesn’t mean the man can’t deliver an amazing speech. In this 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convenction, Obama reminds that it is possible to beat the odds and become something great. He cites his own upbringing as an example and how he was never expected to make it as far as he did. It shows that when you’re passionate about something and when you try hard enough, you can accomplish almost anything. It’s important to note that Obama talks about this in 2004 and would become the President of the United States just four years later.

9. Robin Roberts reminds us that we each have the courage to overcome challenges

Robin Roberts knows a thing or two about courage. She is a breast cancer survivor and has done battle with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Her sister once had to donate bone marrow just so Robin could remain alive. She was also ESPN’s first African American broadcaster in the early 1990’s. She’s a woman who works in an industry predominately populated by men. So when Robin Roberts takes the stage at the ESPYs and delivers a short lecture on having courage, we would do well to listen!

10. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that some things are more important than success

We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that we have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday here in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, we’ve got it linked above.

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11. Jim Carrey reminds us that even if you keep it safe, you can still fail so you might as well go big

Jim Carrey delivered a commencement speech at Maharishi University recently that went absolutely viral. You may know it as the one minute video that will change your life. They weren’t lying but they weren’t telling the whole truth because the speech was actually 28 minutes long. During the speech, Carrey talks about his father who wanted to be a comedian but decided to take the safe route and become an accountant. As it turns out, his father was laid off and his family ended up poor anyway. With that, Carrey tells us that you can still end up failing even if you play it safe so you might as well swing for the fences and do what you want to do.

12. Bill Murray teaches us that it’s the hard times that determine if someone really loves you

You may have heard the story about Bill Murray crashing someone’s bachelor party and delivering a speech. It turns out the speech was both short and fairly epic. During the speech, Bill Murray challenged the bachelors to travel around the world with the women they love and go to places that are difficult to go to and deal with. He says if you can get back to the United States and you still love each other, then you should get married right then and there. It’s a great message. It’s easy to love one another when times are good but do you still love each other when the times are bad? If so, that’s true love according to Bill Murray.

Final thoughts

Inspiration comes from everywhere and from anyone. There are a countless number of speeches and stories that can teach us an incalculable number of life lessons.

All these speeches almost share the same message: Don’t be afraid to fail and keep trying.

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If you also want to live your best life like the above successful people, this is what you should start doing:

You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out

At the end of the day, everything is inspirational. It’s just a matter of finding the message that we need to hear to change our lives.

Featured photo credit: Miguel Henriques via unsplash.com

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