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20 Eco-Friendly Basket and Gift Box Ideas

20 Eco-Friendly Basket and Gift Box Ideas
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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.

More by this author

Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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