Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tips for an Eco-Fab Fathers' Day from the Authors of Celebrate Green

Three Secrets to Having an Eco-Fun Father's Day

Let's face it, as much as we love dad, he can be a tad difficult to shop for. It's not so much that he's picky. It's more that his needs and even wants, tend to be simple. He's happy with less which of course, makes him a perfect candidate for green giving.

So this year, why not come up with great gifts that honor dad and the Earth and that cost little in terms of money or the planet, And whether we're talking about your dad (if you're reading this), or your kids' father or grandad, be sure to look for ways to put more meaning in the greening.

Start by focusing on doing instead of buying. What if your dad were king for a day? What would would his perfect day look like? Would he sleep late? Enjoy breakfast in bed, or brunch served outside? Would he like to work in the garden kids by his side, fly a kite or go for a hike? Would he love to see his bike sparkling clean or that light that's been broken for years, fixed? Whatever his wishes might be, consider how you can make them come true by planning the perfect day.

And before each activity, you can loudly proclaim, "By order of King ____, we, your loyal subjects are thrilled and delighted to accompany you as you ________." (And don't forget to make a crown and award it in a ceremony for which you--and/or your kids, write a heartfelt script.)

Make or embellish a gift. According to, more than 50% of those polled said they are never fond of their Father's Day gifts. So one more tie or pair of socks doesn't cut it. Again, look to your dad's likes for ideas. If he's into reading, make him a clock from a book on a subject to which he's addicted, or choose a favorite old CD and do the same. (You can purchase clock works for under $10 from a crafts store, or if you have an old clock and are handy enough to take it apart and recycle the works, all the better!)

Most dads can never have too many t-shirts. Purchase organic cotton ones, then have kids personalize them using fabric crayons. When a friend and and her brothers were small, her mom gathered all the children together for this project. Years later, when their dad had worn out the three tees, mom turned them into pillows.

Or why not repurpose a beloved, out-of-style shirt, into a pillow--no sewing required. If dad used to dig cowboy apparal and has a favorite fancy shirt stowed in the back of the closet, wrap it around a pillow and set on dad's favorite chair. Keep the memory, lose the embarrassment of him, heaven forbid, wearing the oldie out in public!

Think gifts from the heart. Whether you're six or sixty, you have personal gifs to offer dad. To make your offer even more meaningful, let him know you'll do something special for him once a month for a full year. You could make him a calendar with your monthly contribution written on each date or secretly add them to his PDA, phone or digital calendar.

Below are some ideas to use as a jumping off point. When you think about your relationship with your dad and your own talents, you'll come up with 12 perfectly tailored gifts.

* Send him notes in his lunch.
* Make him brownies or his favorite treat.
* Go for a walk together.
* Take a lesson from him in anything he likes to do (fishing? woodwork? cards?)
* Shine his shoes.
* Accompany him to an activity he enjoys.
* Teach him something you know how to do.
* Make a video about dad.
* Wash his car.
* Write poems or stories with dad as the hero.
* Go camping if he enjoys this, even if it's at home or in your yard
* Plant a tree, bush or flowers accompanied by a handmade wooden plaque with dad's name and date.

Eco-tips for Father's Day

Don't assume you know what dad wants, ask him! You may be surprised.

A meaningful and eco-friendly gift is a donation to a charity dad supports.

If dad loves to barbecue, set him on the road to sustainability by gifting him with natural lump hardwood charcoal.

Eco-picks for Father's Day- If you're going to buy, aim for earth-friendly

* Bicycle chain frame with a great photo of dad and kids together, (recycled parts)

* For the guy who's not afraid to let everyone know he's a treehugger, t-shirt proclaiming the same from (organic cotton shirt)

* For the hip and truly green, a recycled, fair trade wallet from Global Exchange

~Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at

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