Hello friends! I know I haven’t been very active on this blog and there is a good reason for that. Between my daughter’s food allergy treatment program which has us flying to California every 3 months and me still writing my dissertation, it’s hard to find time to write here. One thing that I do make time for is trying to live more sustainably which I share on my instagram page. That journey has led me down many paths and projects and I’m excited to be sharing this one with you. I started Low Waste Eid three years ago as a way to showcase and encourage a slower, more conscientious approach to celebrating Eid; an approach that is part of the ethos of our faith. Each year I am awed by the creativity and thoughtfulness of the contributors and this year is no exception. As you will come to see, it is perfectly possible to decorate and gift in a socially responsible way. All you need is a bit of imagination and resourcefulness. I am looking forward to writing more consistently about my low waste journey when life gets a little less chaotic but in the meantime, you can download the ebook guide full of low waste gift ideas and decor below.
Hello friends! It’s been a minute since I’ve written a post on this blog. I’ll spare you all the boring details but since last Ramadan, we’ve added a third baby to our family, Sufi graduated with his MBA, and we flipped another house. I’m still trying to finish my dissertation while juggling life with three kids during a pandemic. As you can see we have our hands full! But as many of you know, blogging is my creative outlet and absolutely necessary for my mental health so I’ve made some time to do something I enjoy while creating a resource for you to help you make Eid 2020 special as sustainably as possible.
Low Waste Eid is a compilation of beautiful and thoughtful gifts from a diverse group of talented Muslim bloggers. The emphasis is on minimizing waste and getting creative by using what you have around your home. These days, it’s easy to get caught up in the consumerist impulse even when it comes to Muslim holidays but given the devastating effects materialism has on the environment, human rights, and our spiritual health (among many other things) it’s time we rethink how we consume. Even if you purchase the majority of your gifts, I hope you’ll attempt to make one of these low-waste gifts from our guide. Every journey begins with one step and there’s never a better time than now to take a step towards living more sustainably.
Ramadan is more than halfway over and like us, many of you are probably thinking ahead to Eid (early Eid Mubarak!). While many people traditionally give Eid money to children, it seems more and more people are opting for physical gifts. Often these gifts can be a source of stress for parents as the accumulation of toys is daunting to deal with (speaking from experience here). On top of that, many toys are made cheaply to satisfy short term interests and end up being wasteful in the long run. What to do? That’s where this gift guide comes in!
The list and links you will find in this guide are for toys that are either eco-friendly (made from wood or recycled plastics), sustainably and ethically made, or for long term educational use. These are toys we have either purchased for Eid previously or are considering for Eid this year. I’ve tried to include diverse options and price points so I hope you’ll find something for you. After the list of toys, you will find sources for some fun DIY gift options as well as printable Eid envelopes if you’re going to go the cash route. I am also including a list of ideas for fun experiences you can do with your family on Eid. It should go without saying that Eid is not about gifting but rather a time of celebration with family so please don’t let this post make you feel overwhelmed. Lastly, I would like to point out that buying second-hand is the more sustainable option for our environment but I understand that it’s frowned upon in certain cultures as “cheap.” These toys are for those looking to purchase new toys but want more mindful, socially responsible options; they are definitely not the latest and greatest toy trends of 2019.
Books are one of my favorite gift options for children because they open up a whole new world and encourage parent-child bonding time. Gifting books is extra special when you know the child’s interests and nothing is better than seeing a child’s face light up as they flip through a good book. Here are some wonderful book options:
2. Opinel Le Petit Chef– This knife and peeler equipment set for children aged 7-11 is an excellent gift for your favorite kitchen helper and offers the perfect opportunity to bond over meal prep as well as teach cooking safety early on.
3. Kiddie Woods Doctor Kit-This doctor’s kit is beautifully made and perfect for imaginative play. We bought this for our kids for Eid last year and they still love role playing doctor together. Needless to say it was a huge hit!
4. Kid’s Beginner Microscope– If you have a curious, budding scientist on your hands, this microscope is perfect for introducing STEM and encouraging exploration and learning.
5. PlanToys Assorted Fruits and Vegetables– These are the perfect addition to a play kitchen set or for a child that enjoys playing chef. I love this company because of their focus on sustainability and using reclaimed rubber woods. They have a large and wonderful selection of wooden toys for babies and toddlers and you can browse them all here.
6. Tegu Magnetic Blocks-Magnetic blocks are a great toy for encouraging creative play and supporting cognitive development. I love that Tegu blocks are made from durable solid wood and that the company cares about social impact by prioritizing “long term employee growth and development.”
7. ALEX Pretend Tin Tea Set-What child doesn’t love a good tea party? The set pictured is made of tin and I included it because it’s durable and withstands the clumsiness of toddlers but if you’re gifting an older, more responsible child then this porcelain set is a gorgeous and affordable option.
8. Green Toys Indoor Gardening Set– These planters with seeds make an excellent gift for the nature-loving child in your life. I love Green Toys because they are made from recycled plastics and they also have a huge selection of toys for children of all ages. You can browse them here.
9. Wishbone Design Studio 3-in-1 Bike-This is the priciest gift on this list but if you’ve been on the lookout for a toddler bike then this is a wonderful option. It’s made from sustainably-harvested wood, converts from a baby walker to a balance bike, and won Best Green Toy in 2011.
10. Cuddle + Kind Handknit Dolls– You can’t go wrong with a classic doll especially when it’s handmade from 100% cotton using sustainable, fair trade practices. My favorite part about this company is that it’s family-owned and the purchase of each doll provides 10 meals to children in need.
11. National Geographic Fossil Dig Kit– Another great STEM gift that is the perfect balance of learning and fun. I’m probably getting this for my son because he LOVES to “dig” for dinosaur bones in the yard and I love the hands-on learning it will offer. Not a dinosaur enthusiast? No worries! National Geographic has plenty of other hands-on learning kits here.
12. Sarah’s Play Silks– These play silks are not only beautiful but perfect for all sorts of open-ended play. I love this company because it’s family-owned, specializes in Waldorf inspired toys, and uses natural materials such as wood and silk.
13. HABA Bonita Garden– This beautifully painted stacking peg toy is perfect for younger toddlers and fosters creativity, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. I love HABA because their wooden toys are made to last and are colored with non-toxic, water-based stains. The German company also has a diverse selection of other wooden toys and puzzles that you can browse through here.
Do-It-Yourself Gift Ideas
These are some simple, fun DIY gifts you can make together with your kids. I am considering making one of these to have on hand for young Eid visitors or to send as Eid favors for my children’s classes.
Giving the traditional Eid money is easier because it takes the stress out of gift giving and gives the parents the option to spend or invest as they see fit (college fund, much needed summer clothes, etc.) . If you go that route, we have you covered with some free and purchasable Eid envelope options.
While we do usually get one simple gift for the kids, we believe the best gift (and most sustainable gift) is spending quality time together so we’re taking the guesswork out of your Eid planning by sharing some fun things you can do during these special days.
A trip to the zoo
A movie outing
A picnic, BBQ, or kite flying at the park
Strawberry picking (or whatever fruit is in season)
A family bike ride
A visit to a local museum
Go Paddle-boating or canoeing
Go out for ice cream
Take family pictures
We hope you’ve found this comprehensive gift guide helpful. If you do, we would greatly appreciate you sharing this post with family and friends across your favorite social media channels. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and as always….