"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac


Eco-Friendly Gift-Giving

By Katelyn Rieder, Communications co-op

With the holiday season under way, many people can find themselves scrambling for gift ideas. Whether it be for a close friend, coworker, family member, etc., sometimes that perfect gift isn’t immediately obvious. As more and more deals flood our inboxes, it can be overwhelming to know where to find holiday goods that are not only good quality, but good for our environment.

Lucky for us, there are many different options for sustainable shopping during the holidays. Our city of Cincinnati in the last few years has welcomed several eco-friendly stores, both physical locations and online options. Below are just a few of many storefronts that offer sustainably sourced goods:

1. Simply Zero

Located in Over-the-Rhine, Simply Zero was founded right here in Cincinnati. Since 2017, they have devoted themselves to offering a variety of items that are all organic, non-toxic, cruelty-free, sustainably sourced, fair-trade, and BPA free. The company prides themselves on providing goods and gifts that are not only visually appealing, but also good for the environment. Whether it is a set of glass straws, reusable paper towels, or a new shampoo bar, Simply Zero is transparent on what goes into their products, and how it can affect our planet.

Through working with a variety of vendors, Simply Zero is able to streamline the customer’s experience to shop sustainably. In terms of products, their main focus is on home goods, cleaning products, personal care, and wellness.

A gift from Simply Zero is perfect for the person who wants to make sustainable switches in their daily routine. Through purchasing items like their Beeswax Wrap Set or Reusable Silicone Snack Bag, storing food can be simple and sustainable. In terms of personal hygiene, items such as the Everyday Color-Safe Shampoo Bar or a Compostable Bamboo Toothbrush are great alternatives to day-to-day items.

2. Ten Thousand Villages

Inspired by the spirit of one woman (Edna Ruth Byler), Ten Thousand Villages envisions a global market of fair trade and fair labor. By investing 92 percent of all revenue to the maker-to-market mission, the company helps to support the artisans behind the products, not the middle man. They start with a transparent price agreement that does not change regardless of the economy. Second, 50 percent of total payment is made upfront to the artisan to help cover costs of materials and time. The other half of the payment is made before exporting to the delivery location, removing financial risk for artisans. Handcrafted goods are then made available for purchase either online or in-store.

Ten Thousand Villages offers a wide array of products for sale. Similar to Simply Zero, they mainly specialize in home goods, such as kitchen supplies or cleaning tools. However, they also offer jewelry, accessories, wellness, child toys, and more. Since Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans all over the world, the stock is always changing and growing.

Currently, Ten Thousand Villages is putting a strong focus on the holiday season, providing many ornaments, nativity décor, and other winter knick-knacks for around the home. A gift from their store is perfect for the person who loves handcrafted, one-of-a-kind items. If you’re not sure what specific thing they would like, Ten Thousand Villages also offers gift cards for purchase.

If you’re not interested in a store-bought item, there are still many ways you can give a great, sustainable gift to someone (and the environment):

  1. Make a charitable donation in someone’s name

Search for nonprofits or organizations for causes that your recipient is passionate about. Not only is this gift zero waste, it also contributes to a greater cause.

  1. Handmade, Homemade

Whether it’s a knitted scarf or a jar of fresh blackberry jam, a hand-crafted gift can give a person that warm and fuzzy feeling. Create an art project for someone, bake a treat, etc. A homemade gift shows a level of love that a store-bought product cannot.

  1. Gift an experience

A classic gift for a loved one is the gift of a shared experience. You have the opportunity to make fun memories with the person, as well as seeing or doing something exciting. Sporting events, concerts, amusement parks, museums, zoo trips … there are many things to see and do in our city of Cincinnati.

  1. Visit the SC Gift Shop

Avoid traditional stores by making a visit to our Gift Shop located on the first floor of the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. The vast majority of items available are donated from Sisters, Associates, and other Community members. All proceeds from the Gift Shop also go towards the Social Justice Emergency Fund, so you are not only shopping second-hand, but making a donation as well. They are open Tuesdays and Fridays from 2:30-4 p.m.

Whether it’s shopping online, visiting a store in-person, making something from the heart, or purchasing a simple gift certificate, there are many ways we can give sustainable, eco-friendly gifts this holiday season. All of these methods can also be used for other celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. We encourage everyone to think deeply about their purchases, especially in this holiday season.

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