UU Activist Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

After the success of our UU Activist Holiday Gift Guide in December, we at the UUA Washington Office for Advocacy decided to do it again for Valentine’s Day. Here are some eco-friendly and social justice gifts that are perfect for loved ones.

Alex: For my gift recommendation, I give you Make Magazine and Craft Magazine. In two of my favorite magazines, people send in their homemade projects. Make Magazine shows people how to create handy machines and gadgets using mostly recycled materials and outdated technology. Craft Magazine has fun arts and crafts projects using reusable, sustainable materials. Plus, check out the cards—they are totally challenging the Gender Binary. And I think that is awesome!

Grace: Being a conscious consumer can often be very expensive. If you have a tight budget, or just want to put that extra touch of love into your gift, check out this Family Fun craft site. There are a ton of ideas for do-it-yourself Valentine’s Day gifts that are great for the entire family. Take some time this year and make handmade cards for your loved ones. No matter your artistic ability a handmade gift always comes from the heart.

Kat: Most of us have more stuff than we know what to do with. Yet we still want to get something for our loved ones to express how much they mean to us. This Valentines day, spread the love with gifts that will make a lasting difference. Make a gift to your favorite charity in your sweetie’s name. (For example, Heifer International.) Because of the ailing economy, charitable donations are down so your gifts mean more than ever.

Flowerbud is a veriflora approved flower company which means “they strive to ensure that all of our flowers are grown in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.” The flowers may be on the pricey side but knowing that you are getting beautiful flowers from a socially responsible company is worth every penny.

EcoExpress makes natural and organic gifts. Their Valentine’s Day spread includes chocolate, candles, wine and cookies. The cookies look especially delicious.

Before you make romantic dinner reservations check out Local Harvest.org to see if there are any restaurants in your area that use locally grown food. You can also find farms, organic grocery stores, and farmers markets in your area.

Give the gift of life. Blood supplies are often dangerously low during the winter months. An hour or two of your time could literally save a life. Find a local blood bank here.

UU Activist Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season has arrived! And with it has come the annual shopping frenzy. One way to rise above what can feel like a glut of consumerism is to give and ask for mindful gifts. We at the UUA Washington Office have compiled a list of some of our favorite holiday gifts that support social justice and environmental causes. Happy shopping!


Lisa – I was born without a thumb and some fingers. Luckily, my parents were wealthy enough to pay for reconstructive surgery. So my favorite organization this winter is Love Without Boundaries, which lets you sponsor surgeries for children in China who are unable to afford surgery for birth defects.

Alex – Clothes dryers are the most wasteful and expensive home appliance. A clothes drying rack (made from reclaimed wood) can save over $1500 a year in energy costs. Also, consider a composter for your favorite gardener. But do your research—consider how much space and energy you can put into your compost pile before you plop down the money.

GraceEarth Mama, Angel Baby has a variety of all-natural products for both mother and child. Their lovely gift baskets are perfect for an expecting or new mother.

Adam – Give a subscription to GOOD Magazine, and read about people and businesses that are changing the world. 100% of the subscription fee goes to the charitable organization of your choice.

Shopping For Others – For that loved one who already has everything, why not give a gift in his or her name? Gift It Up lists organizations that let you cover the cost of shipping antibiotics to 100 patients in Gaza, or pay for one night of shelter for a BGLT survivor of domestic violence. You can give ducks, honeybees, or cows through Heifer International. You can even use Heifer International to register for weddings and anniversaries

Sponsor An Animal – A great gift for children and animal lovers! When you “adopt” a sea animal through Oceana, not only will you help protect its habitat, but you’ll also receive an animal-shaped cookie cutter and sugar cookie recipe for the holidays. With Defenders of Wildlife, sponsors receive an animal photo as well as a plush toy.

Fair Trade and Sweatshop-Free – Just want to give a pair of socks or a sweater? Check out the International Labor Forum’s handy-dandy 2008 Shop With a Conscience Consumer Guide. The Fair Trade Federation maintains an awesome search engine to help you find fair trade and/or women-owned businesses in your area.

Good Eats – Give a share in a CSA—Community Supported Agriculture. Local farms sell subscriptions for a year or a growing season, and will deliver boxes of fresh, locally grown vegetables right to your door.