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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 August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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