Sustainable Gift Guide 2018

Christmas is just around the corner. This is the most joyous season filled with family, friends, and food. And let’s not forget about presents. Shopping for presents can be a hard job. Even harder if you want to give something ethically made, organic, vegan and that it’s actually worth to have. To make the search easier, I have gathered some gifts ideas for you. From most affordable to most expensive here they are:

Zero waste goodies
From bamboo straws to naked soaps. The webshop bag-again.nl has a wide assortment for a zero-waste start.
Prices start from €3,95
Zero waste lifestyle
Soaps from Dr. Bronner’s
Fair trade, organic, cruelty-free, vegan and SLS-free soaps. The pure Castile soaps are made from vegetable oils and do not contain any synthetic detergent.
Shop at Holland and Barret or online at biggreensmile.nl
Prices start from €4,50

Dr. Bronner
Picture from @drbronnerseurope

Beauty products from Weleda
All of the products are made with organic ingredients. Are free of synthetic compounds or toxic chemicals. Instead, they use flowers, fruits, roots extracts, minerals, and essential oils.
Shop at Holland and Barret, Ekoplaza, Natuurwinkel or online at biggreensmile.nl
Prices start from €4,99
Weleda organic skincare brand

Bamboo charcoal sponge from Benecos
The products of Benecos are made from natural ingredients. Are free from paraffin, parabens, silicones, PEG, synthetic color, synthetic fragrance, and synthetic preservatives. This 100% vegetable Konjac sponge Bamboo Charcoal with mineral-rich charcoal powder cleans the pores to remove blackheads and dirt.
Shop online at the webshop solobiomooi.nl
Price €7,99 Konjac sponge

Socks from Qnoop.
Ethically made in Portugal from organic cotton. Each pair has a button and a loop so you don’t miss again your socks after doing the laundry.
Shop them online at Qnoop’s website or check their points of sale.
Prices start from €9,95

Qnoop socks
Picture from Instagram @qnoop

Beauty tea from Cedar + Stone
This tea is also a good product to add to the bath. It contains herbs that help to strengthen the hair and nails. The tea mix is all made with natural ingredients. It has no additives or caffeine.
Shop online at the webshop nourishednederland.com
Price €12,-
Cedar + Stone
Giftset from Lush
Lush makes fresh, handmade and cruelty-free cosmetics. They have a lot of vegan products and also a lot of package-free products.
Shop at Lush’s website or on one of their shops.
Prices from €12,50
Lush cruelty-free package-free cosmetics

Jewelry from A Beautiful Story
Necklaces, armbands, and earrings ethically made in Nepal.
Shop online at watmooi.nl (Use my code ‘Alisson’ for 10% discount, or check A Beautiful Story’s points of sale.
Prices from €12,96

Sustainable jewelry
Picture from @abeautifulstory_

Erasable books from Greenstory
The notebooks you can customize with different clickable pages and add-ons. They have a monthly planner page, to-do page, bullet journal page and more. Plan, wish, draw, create, and erase what you no longer need.
Shop online at ourgreenstory.com
Price starts from €13,50
erasable notebooks
Nail polish from OZN
This is a vegan and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional nail polish.
OZN uses alternative solvents and compounds that are biodegradable, do not damage your health and do not pollute the environment.
Shop them at OZN’s website or via kenkoshop.nl
Price starts from €14,90
OZN

Boro Mini Baby goods
100% plant-based baby products colored with plants and roots. They sell blankets, linens, bibs, muslin swaddles and more. All made in Amsterdam.
Shop them online at boromini.com/shop
Prices start from €14,95

Boro Mini Baby goods
Picture from Instagram @boromini_babygoods

Aromatherapy box from Tisserand
Pure Essential Oils and aromatherapy products. You can get a set for sleep, travel survival, daily essentials, feel-good essentials, peaceful night, de-stress and energize.
Shop it online at the webshop biggreensmile.nl
Price starts from €15,50

aromatherapy essential oils

Matcha tea
Pure, natural & organic matcha green tea.
Shop it online at kenkoshop.nl
Price starts from €15,95

Matcha tea
Picture from @kissatea

Charcoal face mask from Sukin 
Sukin is a skincare brand from Australia. The products are made from natural ingredients. Are cruelty-free, sulfates and paraben-free. Sukin is 100% Carbon Neutral and the packagings are recyclable. The face mask contains bamboo charcoal as the key ingredient. The skin is left moisturized and nourished by avocado, coconut and rosehip Oils.
Shop them at Holland and Barret or online at biggreensmile.nl
Price €15,95
skin skin care

Giftsets from Naif
The skin care products of Naif are made with natural ingredients such as flaxseed oil, avocado oil, and tomato extract. The brand started in 2013 as a baby skin care brand. Now the brand has expanded and also makes products for women.
Shop at the Etos, Holland, and Barret, or online at biggreensmile.nl
Prices start from €17,95
Naif

Raw Halo chocolate gift box
Raw chocolate. Vegan, made with natural and organic ingredients. Sweetened with coconut sugar.
Shop it online at kenkoshop.nl
Price €21,50

Raw chocolate
Picture from @rawhalo

Boho beauty box 
Bo.ho is an eco-friendly French makeup brand. The products are made from natural ingredients, are cruelty-free, vegan and organic. All of the packagings are recyclable.
This gift set includes an eyeliner, a mascara, and a red nail polish.
Shop it online at the webshop solobiomooi.nl
Price €22,95
boho natural cosmeticsBook: This Is A Good Guide by Marieke Eyskoot
This book is filled with practical tips about sustainable fashion, beauty, food, baby products, home, work, and leisure. You will find the right addresses, beautiful brands, inspiring insights, surprising facts, and useful solutions. The book is in Dutch and in English.
You can buy it online at bol.com, at a bookstore or at a concept store.
Price €24,-

Hammam towel from Happy Towels
These towels are made of bamboo or organic cotton and are ethically made in Turkey.
Shop online at happytowels.nl
Prices start from €25,-
Happy towels

Kenko essentials gift box
Kenko is a Dutch multibrand online shop. They sell only eco-friendly products. They put up together a gift box with different products. Perfect to try out new organic brands.
Shop it online at kenkoshop.nl
 Price €29.99
keno shop nederland
I hope this guide helps you to find a gift for this season. But remember that the most sustainable option is to give nothing. There are other options like giving things that you own and don’t use anymore. Or books that you read and don’t need to keep. Another gift you can give is to donate to a cause in the name of the person. And lastly, you can give someone an experience. Going to the cinemas together, go for a snack, go to the woods. Those kinds of experiences are very valuable. Time spend with a dear person is the best present. (If you ask me)

With Love,
Alisson

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12 Loco Things Dutchies Do Part 2

This month I celebrate that I live in The Netherlands for three years. It’s the third country I have lived in and the third one I call home. Before NL I lived in Germany. I thought I didn’t need to integrate or learn about the culture anymore. But the past three years have totally shown me the opposite. I already blogged about 12 crazy things that Dutchies do, but today, I want to share with you twelve more habits that I haven’t seen people doing in any other place I’ve lived before. Get ready!

1. Bread
Dutch people love bread. For breakfast and for lunch, bread is the Dutchies favorite food. Every Saturday before doing grocery shopping, a good Dutchie makes space in the freezer to be sure that the four extra loaves of bread will fit so a happy week can begin.  Dutchies know every trick on how to unfroze bread. The favorite trick is to put the bread on top of the heather or on a spot where a sun ray is shining.

2. A closet full of food
A typical Dutchie house has a special place, mostly under the stairs. Full of food! They call it a ‘voorraadkast’. Three pots of peanut butter, five bars of chocolate, twenty different kinds of cookies, chips, cans of soup, bottles of cola, beer, cleaning stuff… Dutchies are well prepared in case of… war? a surprise party?
Dutch Funny Habits

3. Birthday calendar
The best place to remember when ‘tante Marijke’ has birthday number sixty, is in the comfort of the toilet. Dutchies love to hang birthday calendars in their bathrooms. More precisely in the guest bathroom. It’s very handy to remind yourself that you have to send a ‘verjaardagskaart’ when you are doing your business.

4. But please only one
When you get invited to have a coffee at the house of the parents of your Dutchie partner, remember to answer with the word ‘lekker’ when they ask you if you want coffee. Besides coffee, you will be offered cookies, chocolate OR cake. OR, not AND. This means you are expected to eat only this one thing you choose. If you happen to eat more than one piece, you can expect a comment like ‘Oh, but you already had one’ or ‘you must be hungry’. It makes you feel very guilty about eating two or more pieces of sweet. This rule applies to birthdays as well. There might be three different cakes. But you are allowed to choose only one piece.
Dutch Vlaai

5. Is water not ok?
As soon as you visit a Dutchie, you will be asked ‘Wat wil je drinken?’ (What do you want to drink?). Coffee, tea, something fresh, juice? You are not even done hanging your coat and you are already welcomed with that question. If you politely answer the question with just some tap water, your Dutchie host will surprisingly repeat that you could get a soda or a juice instead. Dutchies don’t like to offer water. I guess they don’t want you to think that they are cheap?

6. Camping
A well-respected Dutchie goes or has been going to ANWB’s recommended campings of the south of France and Italy in the summer. When I hear my Dutch partner talk about camping, I imagine a tent in nature, ‘The Revenant’ style. Oh, how wrong I was. Dutchies go camping deluxe. They take their whole house with them (camping version). From cutlery, pans, pots, cups, chairs, fridge, heater, veranda to air mattress plus bed. Dutchies have all they need to go camping for weeks. The campings have, all they need to survive in nature. Washing machines, restaurants, swimming pool, disco, pubs…
Dutch Camping7. The (test) emergency alarm
Don’t be scared if you hear a frightening sound on the streets in the middle of the day. It’s not that the Hunger Games have started. It’s probably 12:00am on the first Monday of the month. The day where the emergency alarm gets tested in the whole country. Dutchies are used to it and just ignore it. I keep on fantasizing about being the chosen one to represent my district. Now for real. What happens if there is an emergency on the first Monday of the month at 12 o’clock?

8. Dus
If you want to show off in front of your Dutch friends or colleagues, just add the word ‘dus’ (‘so’) in all of your sentences. At the beginning or at the end, Duchies use the word ‘dus’ a lot! It can be used to communicate a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It can be everything from an angry stopword to a suggestive come on and more.

9. Fireworks
Most countries will have a few safe firework displays on New Year’s Eve. It starts at midnight and lasts around 20-30 minutes. And that’s it with the fireworks. Everyone can go back to the party. On the other hand, in The Netherlands, the fireworks are the party. Every year Dutchies spend a lot of money and go fireworks-mad. The steady stream of fireworks begins the 31st of December around noon. Climaxing with utter chaos at midnight. Grown-ups and !children! will light up the fireworks one after another until around 2:00am. I’ve never seen anything like this. I might be a party pooper, but this custom I dislike a lot. And by the way, my dog as well (he’s from Spain).

10. Dutch old houses… why?
Most of the old houses in The Netherlands are designed very weirdly. In theory, the idea is good. It’s all about hygiene. But in practice: super annoying. I am talking about having the toilet separate from the shower. Not only in a different room but on another floor! And how about the mini sink that you can’t actually use, so you end up washing your hands in the kitchen. And please! Why old houses have dangerous stairs?

11. Geslaagd!
Walking around the city at around June – July you will wonder two things. The first is why do Dutchies hang the Dutch flag in the middle of the summer. And the second is why is there a backpack hanging below the flag? Well, Dutchies are very proud to announce that they have a graduated kid from school. So proud the whole neighborhood should know. I think this weird tradition is actually cool! I guess this is a way of saying goodbye to school and embrace new changes.
Funny Dutch Habits

12. December
December is the most wonderful time of the year. Dutchies makes sure of that. The celebrations start on December 5th with Sinterklaas. A holy old man that comes all the way from Spain on a steamboat to bring you presents. You set your shoe by the chimney and Sinterklaas, fills it with treats. Then the 24th there’s Christmas evening, the 25th is the first Christmas day where Santa Claus (or the Kerstman) brings more gifts. And because two days of Christmas is too less to get around to all friends and family Dutchies also celebrate the second Christmas day on the 26th. So much Christmas. I love it!
Sinterklaas and AmerigoI´m going to leave the ‘haring”, the real-life doll when someone turns 50 and some more loco things for next year. For now, I can only say that even though the Dutch culture is different than mine, I have learned to like it and embrace it. Some things I find funny, others I really like and I´m learning from them.
Thanks to all the Dutchies that have embraced me and made me feel welcome in The Netherlands the past years.

With love,

Alisson

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Read 12 loco things Dutchies do part 1