Have Yourself a Green Little Christmas

A Go Green Gift Guide for the Discerning North Brooklynite

So it’s the High Noon of consumer culture here in the Holiday Times, and you’re in a PICKLE: You know it is better to give than to receive, but let’s face it, you’re out of juice. You have no idea what to give anyone.

Added to that, you live in North Brooklyn, where the consequences of poor gifting can be extreme. After all, what you give is no simple gift, but an index of your very ethical being, as expressed in a perfectly chosen article, which must telegraph the mindfulness of your selection upon first sight: No Amazon gift-cards will suffice here, brother. Choosing your gifts, then, becomes a test of character, which in turn feeds anxiety.  So you’d better pay attention, because we here at GoGreenBK share your angst and want to help.  And fortunately for all of us, Green Gifting is as Brooklyn as craft beer and facial hair.  So let us help you to help yourself, and offer up a few suggestions.

Of course, we all know, you are supposed to opt-out of the material realm entirely, and give experiences instead of things. So, with that in mind, how ‘bout you consider…

Give the Gift of Membership

Giving memberships is a no-lose scenario: if the gift “takes,” you’ve bought your loved one a whole new lifestyle appendage.  If it doesn’t, you’ve simply made a generous contribution to a great cause. A couple suggestions:

You know someone who lives in Greenpoint, and loves to garden? Buy them a year’s worth of outdoor pleasure with a membership to the 61 Franklin St. Gardens. (And a tip: natural Bug Repellent makes a great stocking stuffer!)  Alternatively, is there a history buff in your life? The City Reliquary is a great, constantly evolving place where bric-a-brac from New York’s history goes to live forever. Lastly, given that food Venn-Diagrams well with Green concerns, you may consider gifting a year’s membership at Williamsburg’s own Museum of Food and Drink, which gets you in free, and secures discounts and early-bird specials to their one-off events, such as this food fight.

Franklin Garden is Open!

Give Volunteer Hours

Volunteer hours given as a gift obviously works better on oneself than on another, but maybe you wanna push that friendship envelope and obligate your partner to try something new?  It can’t hurt, since the only thing you have to lose is Time.  And besides, volunteering is fun, and a great way to meet your neighbors.  A shift at NYC’s recycling mecca, Materials for the Arts, is always a good time. And we are always impressed by the quasi-military decorum of the ranks of our city’s Citizen Pruner army: Consider signing your loved one up to groom our arbled (not a word) streets. Lastly, you could consider sending someone to the small-but-growing ranks of the Brooklyn Ironers’ Union, who iron the public’s clothes at bars, for free, as a public service to the people of North Brooklyn.

Licensed to Prune!


..Or, just give up and give stuff!

Okay, we get it: you actually DO want to put something in a box and give it to the apple of your eye. And who are we to say no to the great consumer fires of America at Christmas?  So, as long as we’re throwing our money away on things beyond the ken of pure need, shouldn’t we at least make an effort to direct our purchases towards those vaunted values of Local, Recycled, and Bespoke? Fortunately, Brooklyn is rotten with this sort of stuff, and — sigh! — I guess we should just be happy about it. Herewith, a dozen of the best that Brooklyn has to offer:

  1. Sylvia Plath herself would have been proud to bend at the altar of this mid-century Chamber Stove, available alongside a host of other free treasures at Big Reuse Brooklyn.
  2. If that’s too cheap to draw your recklessness out, then how bout an even more dense recycled value, as congealed in this Reclaimed Oak Credenza, out of Recycled Brooklyn
  3. Recycled aren’t the only kind of upcycles, when it comes to bicycles.  These handsome Laptop Bags are made from old sails and castoff inner tubes, by the local outfit, Vaya.
    Bike-tire laptop bag from VAYA
  4. As long as we’re on the subject of bicycles, have a look at this lovely Evolution of Bicycles poster, from local visual data recyclers, Pop Chart Labs.  It may not be officially a repurposing of cast-off materials, but it is BKAF.
  5. In the BKAF category, a suitably fermented entry:  the personalized Kombucha Scoby, locally rotted for your pleasures by KBBK.  We’d laugh, if this unregulated habit didn’t cost upwards of $40 a week on the commercial markets…
  6. And as long as we’re bringing it all back home, you might as well sign up for North Brooklyn’s best CSA.  With weekly pickups from the basement of McGolrick’s own Park Church Co-Op, this is a far cry cheaper and easier than that ole Whole Foods down the street.
  7. Winter means long soaks in that one last indulgence of the average NYC apartment: a bath.  Make it out-of-this-world with one of these Alien Bath Bombs, from local herbalist Aliensauce.
    Cricket Granola from SEEK foods
  8. They may not be officially Alien, but foodies across the globe over have of late been having close encounters of the third kind with the decidedly foreign body of the humble cricket, with such certifiably delicious treats as this Cricket-Powder Enhanced Granola, from Brooklyn purveyor Seek foods. Make contact!
  9. You’ll need a reusable shopping bag for all this goodness. We like this inexpensive, but rich, local model, the Jersey Tomato Bag, from our friends just to the west, Jersey based Duck Sacks. The Garden State lives on!
  10. Your windowsill can live on, too, covered in parsley and oregano courtesy of these nifty and clever Blooming Coins from fast-moving local stationery company, Lovewild Design.
  11. Does adopting an orphaned or stray pet satisfy the same moral calculus as recycling a used plastic bottle? If so, this fabulous Fostering Saves Lives chocolate collection from local pet-supporting craft chocolate maker, Rescue Chocolates, will surely prove the sweetest way to do your bit. Okay, the ethics may be a stretch, but the chocolate is sweet as a puppy’s gaze.
  12. Lastly, as long as we’re celebrating the rebirth of the light, we’d better include an actual one.  What better than this Northwoods scented Holiday Candle, from local candlemakers Brooklyn Candle Studio. Rage, Rage against the dying of the Light.
Pine-scent Madness, from Brooklyn Candle Works

…And that is just an easy dozen. And remember,, as long as you’re opening your wallet to the inevitable thrall of the season, we encourage you to open your hearts, as well.  You never know who you might inspire!