Green Gifts

Green Giving Tip: Great Gifts Need Not Come from a Store

Over the past few weeks, I had been thinking a lot about the one special gift I wanted to give my daughter. I did venture out on Black Friday to get her what she asked for, but every year, I try to give one special gift, just from me, with no input from the recipient. I wanted it to be a complete surprise. I decided on a doll house. You know — the huge wooden ones with the backs that open so you can add furniture and dolls and tons of imagination.

Of course, my first task was to try finding an eco-friendly doll house — preferably made of FSC-certified wood or at least reclaimed wood chips. That turned out to be a lot harder than I thought, though I did find a few options (thanks Inhabitots!). But most of the green ones are small in scale and designed for toddlers. I wanted one of those huge Victorian masterpieces that came with unfinished wood I could paint however I wanted. So I searched, online and off, and couldn’t find one I really liked. The Brinca Dada Emerson dollhouse, shown above, was on my short list, because I love the clean modern lines. It’s definitely a special piece.

And then I realized my own ignorance. The whole doll house idea came from the fact that I used to have one of these houses when I was a little girl. My father had given it to me and we sat together through the painstaking hours of putting it together — piece by tiny piece. I want to share a similar experience with my daughter. And finally it hit me — my father STILL has my old doll house sitting in his home office in the Virgin Islands, unpainted because we never got to finish it. So instead of buying a brand new house for my daughter, I will give her the one my dad gave to me — as soon as he can find a box big and sturdy enough to ship it to me.

And that is my old dollhouse. Not the best photo, I know, but my dad took it with a shaky hand on his cell phone camera at night 🙂 (plus, my daughter doesn’t read my blog). Still, this will be so much more special than a store-bought house, and it’s something I think we’ll both cherish for a long time to come.

And that got me to thinking: Most of us immediately think of gifts we can buy when planning our gift giving. So much so that a recent conversation with my daughter went something like this:

HER: “Mommy, what do you want for Christmas?”

ME: “Baby, I already have you. I don’t need anything else.”

HER: “NO Mama! I mean something I can buy at the store!”

So my goal this year is to prove to her that great gifts come from the heart — whether you buy them off a shelf, make them yourself, give something you already have or give “virtually.” This very ideal is what led me to add the “Gifts you Can Make Yourself” page to the Green Gift Guide this year, and I’ll be making as many gifts as I can.

In the spirit of virtual giving, why not send a Gift of Green eCard via Facebook? Pledge the green acts you are doing and encourage others to do the same. I know I’ve said this before, but whatever you do this season, just think conscientiously when you give, and don’t buy just for the sake of buying, or give just for the sake of giving. Give meaningful gifts that will be cherished rather than ones that will just be discarded. And remember that those meaningful gifts come from the heart — not the pocket — whether you spend no money at all or thousands.

Disclosure: Rockfish Interactive, in partnership with Cisco, has compensated me for my time on this campaign. All opinions and thoughts are my own, as always. For more information, please read my disclosure policy. See what the other green bloggers have to say: Sommer from Green and Clean Mom, Lisa at Condo Blues and Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. (sponsored opp)

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • Lori Alper aka Groovy Green Livin
    December 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Great gifts really do come from the heart. I love that you are able to give your daughter your doll house-what a meaningful gift.

  • SherryGreens
    November 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Priceless! I gave my daughter my old dollhouse my dad made for me too! I refinished it, built/sewed furniture, and she loves it!


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