In her latest Nation magazine column, Katha Pollitt offers tips on how to have yourself an altruistic holiday by reaching out to people in need. In that spirit, I’ve gathered a few socially-conscious holiday gift ideas for my fellow last-minute shoppers. (And in this same spirit, check out Talia Berman’s new piece on WireTap profiling some young Americans who are breaking the holiday mold by making their own gifts, volunteering with friends or donating to the causes they care most about.)
The stylish yet sensible ChicoBag, a reusable shopping bag, is the perfect gift for your favorite Whole Foods shopper. It folds into an integrated pouch with a hook, can fit in or hook on to your pocket or purse, comes in five colors and helps lessen America’s dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil. (ChicoBags can save the average American 300 to 700 plastic shopping bags per year, which would reportedly save three to seven gallons of crude oil.)
While we’re on bags, Brendon Smyth, writing in Grist’s holiday gift round-up, lauds the Alchemy Goods bag “as a compulsive recycler’s wet dream.” Made from recycled bike-tire tubes and seat belts, it’s soft, durable, and really sharp-looking. He also likes Reware’s Juice Bag, “perfect for off-grid adventures: It’s made from recycled soda bottles and can power up your electronics via the sun! The outside flap is a thin-film solar panel that can recharge mobile devices like a camera, phone, mp3 player, or GPS.”
Since the 2004 election, Brave New Films has tackled Wal-Mart, Tom DeLay and war profiteers in Iraq. Now, this holiday season, Robert Greenwald’s dynamic production company is offering you the opportunity to buy a gift for a friend, help raise funds for future productions, and get a gift for yourself. As with everything at Brave New Films, this is no traditional fundraiser.
Get one of a limited number of Brave New Films Boxed Sets. Each set contains the films Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, The Big Buy: Tom Delay’s Stolen Congress, and Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers, plus a bonus DVD containing extra footage, interviews, montages and more. Rolling Stone just gave the set three-and-one-half stars in its upcoming issue.