Dreaming of a Green Christmas? The place to begin your eco-friendly holiday shopping may well be Philadelphia.
The City of Brotherly Love loves Christmas any year, decorating its parks, squares and public buildings with thousands of lights. This year, it’s also showing its love of the planet, by placing an emphasis on environmentally sustainable gift giving.
Arcadia Boutique and Black Cat
At Arcadia Boutique (819 N. 2nd Street), for example, items for sale include “panda snack” shirts made of bamboo. All resemblance to the black-and-white animals’ favorite food has disappeared in the process, however, as the shirts are downright glam with sequins and such.
Black Cat (3424 Sansom Street) features “Sustainably Chic Bags,” one-of-a-kind string totes which are hand-embellished with handmade artisan buttons, vintage trims and findings from all over the world. The bags aren’t only good to look at; you can cart up to 40 pounds of whatever will fit into them.
One of the shops at the forefront of Philadelphia’s green scene, Black Cat has a credo that says “We strive to be a socially responsible business by focusing on merchandise that contributes to the good of the planet as a whole.” Their “Whole World” products include pieces made from recycled materials, works by local artists and craftspeople and products sold in support of the disabled and disadvantaged.
Other Green Gift Ideas
Big sellers at Mew Gallery (906 Christian Street) are the Tie Wallets, fashioned from recycled vintage neckties. With styles designed both for men and women, the wallets have slots for credit cards and everything else you would carry in a conventional billfold.
Organic cotton is the fabric of choice for everything from throw pillows with pictures of dogs on them to onesies and children’s t-shirts with edgy, hand-screened designs. Another eco-friendly fabric that keeps water and UV rays out of tote bags is called Sunbrella.
Children’s toys, such as Nepalese dolls, sock monkeys, knit pigs, Guatemalan folk-art animals made of clay and cats made from recycled sweaters and yarn are a sampling of the toy-box treasures available in Philadelphia shops. There are recycled house ware items and furniture, too, including gorgeous goblets made of recycled wine bottles.
A number of the stores handling ecologically sound goods also have fair-trade, tree-free items that have been made by hand in various underdeveloped countries. Women living in the Himalayas, using traditional methods, have made jewel-colored journals and notebooks of various kinds from the Lokta bush. They’re for sale at Details (103 S. 18th Street). Eye’s Gallery (402 South Street) carries handmade and hand-painted banks to keep your shopping money in. Only problem is, you’ll literally have to break the bank to get it out.