"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." -Richard Dawkins

Friday, April 24, 2009

Modus Operandi

I often feel bad, or in the very least, ungrateful when I bring this up, but it's harder now that we're living closer to so much of my family and others who would otherwise be interested in buying a gift for Ro. She didn't receive presents too often in Mesa, so I thought I'd reestablish my guidelines for her gentle, natural and sustainable upbringing.

When choosing a gift for Ro it's good to remember that she has so very many toys right now, and she doesn't play with them very often as it is. It's best to choose books or art supplies. She loves to color and she loves to read. She also loves to play outside, so pails, shovels, seeds, etc, are all wonderful things.

If you're truly intent on getting a toy for Ro, please refer to the following:
  • No plastic. This is my strongest rule. Plastics are made cheaply, often in Asia, and are full of toxic chemicals- not to mention that after Ro's done with them, they'll probably spend the next several thousand years in a landfill. Wood, cloth and metal are best, and the kindest for the earth.
  • No characters. This especially refers to Dora the Explorer and Elmo. I have a personal exception to this rule, which happens to be Yo Gabba Gabba, (but the majority of things I purchased with/of Gabba characters were for our roadtrip cross country and kept Ro occupied, happy and sane.)
  • Handmade is wonderful. It's so important to me to support local and independant artists and crafters and not big-name companies. Any local bazaar or craft show will be full of tons of wonderful playthings, not to mention all of the thousands of talented crafters you can find at Etsy.com.
  • Along the right hand side of this blog are also links to Oompa, Magic Cabin and Nova Naturals. They are all toy companies that I have done business with and am enormously pleased with!
The way we give gifts at home is on Birthdays and the Pagan sabbats, in addition to Christmas morning. Ro has a rectangular basket that we fill with playthings and books, some that are fun, some that pertain to the holiday. There are often plenty of treats inside, and natural treats are important to us. They're pretty easy to find at any grocery store, now that organics and naturals are so popular! I have two rules when it comes to candy and foods for Ro:
  • No artificial dyes (this includes food coloring.) Europe is in the process of outlawing several food dyes because of their effects on child behavior and I back this decision 100%.
  • No high fructose corn syrup.
I'm a firm believer that there is more joy in a handful of high quality sweets than there is in five pounds of cheap chemical-laden candy or cookies. The best treats Nana brought this Easter were bundles of beautiful home made sugar cookies, crisp and sweet and asking for a glass of milk! I couldn't have wanted for anything else.

All this to say that gifts are always appreciated and never expected. I just want Ro to have the best and healthiest childhood she possibly can, and anyone willing to help me see that through is certainly a hero to us all. One thing of quality given plenty of thought is priceless compared to mass produced things that will see out the majority of their lives in a landfill.

Thank you so much for your understanding.

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