My Made in Box: The Season's Must-Have Subscription Gift Box Spreading the Heritage of Global Makers

With a focus on bringing more visibility to local artisans and makers from a global city or region at the time, My Made in Box aims to cherish local production and preserve the heritage of independent designers and makers all around the world.

By Hanna-Amanda Pant

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‘Wellberries’ Holistic Health Coach Recommends: Antioxidant–Packed Christmas for All with These 3 Spice-Packed Recipes

"When we’re adding lovely Christmas and other spices to our food and treats, we’re actually making them a lot healthier, too, as we’re adding and enhancing the taste."

By Tuulia Järvinen (Wellberries)

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Bedremode.nu — Scandinavian Style Christmas, Without the Stress

I have a winning Christmas mantra this year that goes, “I refuse to stress”. There are many reasons for stress during the holiday season, and I believe that without kids, I am spared of most of them.

Hi, My name is Johanne, and I refuse to stress. I also run a blog focused on sustainable fashion called www.bedremode.nu, and I am happy to share my thoughts on traditions and presents.

But the biggest stress factor for me I believe — like for many others — are my own expectations. Expectations taking the shape of homemade Christmas cookies, a clean and well-decorated house, the perfect gift for grandma and attending fabulous Christmas parties.

So this year I said ‘no’ to the alarming voice in my head, and decided only to participate in the traditions that bring me the most joy with a stress-free mindset. Totally Mari Kondo and all.

Copyright: Johanne Stenstrup, bedremode.nu.

Copyright: Johanne Stenstrup, bedremode.nu.

My Most Loved Scandinavian Christmas Traditions:

  • Finding my old Christmas decorations and scattering them all over the house. Our decorations don’t necessarily have a theme, but each piece has a history, a story to tell. These knitted Christmas balls were a gift from a friend, who learned to knit them all by herself.
Copyright: Johanne Stenstrup, bedremode.nu.

Copyright: Johanne Stenstrup, bedremode.nu.

  • Having bowls of Christmas snacks standing out. I don’t know about the rest of Scandinavia, but in Denmark we eat so many clementines in December, and I eat my fair share along with cacao covered dates, marzipan bites and nuts.
Copyright: Johanne Stenstrup, bedremode.nu.

Copyright: Johanne Stenstrup, bedremode.nu.

  • Lighting candles and just hanging out at home. I think December is best enjoyed in slow motion, and candles need paying a little attention in interior. So I light some, then find a good book (or blog) and just enjoy the cosy, dim-lit atmosphere at home. 
  • Going for an evening walk through the city centre to enjoy the lights. I make sure to go after the stores have closed and the stressful shoppers have vanished. That way I can take a good friend for a walk and just enjoy the decorations, merry atmosphere and festive lights. 
  • Contemplating the perfect present for my grandmother. This year my family decided to draw names from a hat and only buy presents for one family member. Much more stress-free! I drew my grandmother, and I am determined to get her a great sustainable present she will remember for long. 

"But the biggest stress factor for me I believe — like for many others — are my own expectations."

Copyright: Johanne Stenstrup, bedremode.nu.

Copyright: Johanne Stenstrup, bedremode.nu.

Get Creative with Stylish and Conscious Presents

When it comes to presents, I like giving a mix of practical and stylish. I have picked some of my favourite conscious presents this year. 

Soy candles are much better for your home’s air quality, so stacking up on them for you and your loved ones can make a better, cleaner and more cosy Christmas. Since I switched I haven’t looked back. http://webshop.mirins.dk/collections/candles/products/soy-candle-recharge-lemon-ginger-lemongrass

Luxurious socks are great for people who don’t want anything. I don’t believe many people would buy expensive socks for themselves, but once they try these, they might become addicted. So be aware. https://www.aiayu.com/collection/accessories/aiayu-friends-single-pack.html

Yoga pants in organic cotton for the sister or friend, who is always on the move. These from Danish The Baand are made from soft pima cotton, and look good for both workout and relaxing. http://www.thebaand.dk/collections/yoga/products/melissa-rib-leggings

Window farm starter kit for the garden lovers who live in the city. The Urban Garden Company have made starter boxes with organic seeds which makes getting your green thumb on so easy, it’s hard not to want to start growing. http://urbangardencompany.dk/collections/startboxe/products/basis-startbox

Recycled beanie. If I was gifting a guy this season, I would get this hat from Swedish brand Nudie Jeans — they have been sustainability forerunners for years, and I love how they are turning cotton waste into great hats. https://www.nudiejeans.com/product/nicholson-recycled-beanie-blackmelange

#ConsciousGiftGuide 2016: Fifteen Memorable Gift Ideas

A meaningful gift from a loved one leaves a fond memory... and we like creating memories that are painfully hard, if not impossible, to forget. It always brings more joy to give an unforgettable experience that puts a smile on the receiver’s face, and let it last for long. Yet sometimes the experience can take the shape of that perfect, pampering product, much appreciated for seasons to come. 

I assume the majority of us have a bit of a cybernaut approach to Xmas shopping — if a product we have imagined here and now as the perfect match in our imaginary wish-lists of friends and relatives doesn’t exist online, we can impatiently decide we don’t really want it at all. In this extremely packed and alarmingly stressful holiday schedule of ours, who (however dedicated to the gruesome hunt for a pile of *cough* exciting *cough* pressies) would bother to browse the shops on foot in the limited hours post office work, or on a precious weekend, mechanically zigzagging through aisles and sections and floors and piles and heaps of goodies… and we know access to the pleasant part of it — all these flavours and aromas and organic mulled schnapps and the spirit of actual *enter the C word*, does not come without unnecessary distractions — or better call it nuisances — clumsily fighting the crowds using two elbows at a time and a *slight* panic attack from the fantastic, yet nauseating merry atmosphere and piped-carol muzak on the 5th floor of a massive, labyrinthic shopping mall (do I even need to mention the excruciating pain from swollen feet?). All we want to do is moan, pardon moi, be done with the most difficult part, such as le gift hunting, and be saved by a comforting cup of festive tea and vegan biscuits in the comfort of our own home, the protective thick four walls. And then hide under four blankets, secretly hoping to wake up in 2017. 

Do not take this honest truth lightly — however early we endeavour to arrange and order the gifts, there are always those that need to be fixed at the very last moment.  Luckily, a range of ethical and conscious products are also available online, so you can skip the unnecessary shops browsing for 5 hours, non-stop. We have better things to do… like meditate and obsess-read our favourite Sunday columnists lying on our couch half passed out in a fetal position (however, we keep our eyes shut with ignorance, when it happens to bulk the same amount of time). 

To ease the stressful process of looking for that Right One — a perfect experience, a memory, a culinary oeuvre, a tangible thing, which would actually last and be remembered, not end up being a momentary joy, a quizzical, ostentatious oddity discarded a day later, I have put together a list of memorable favourites. The Right One should not be only momentary, but remembered and cherished by the receiver — if not forever then for seasons ahead — and have a fond place on their shelf or ornate mantelpiece, ideally found at the same place a year later. 

It’s difficult to cater for someone else's wish-list, but it’s comforting to know that your Fair-trade favourites all over the world are just a click away from making someone’s memory of the year. 

Ughh! The hard part — now let's be over and done with it. 

1. For those after impeccable results without much effort, Finnish brand Supermood’s Chaga mushroom infused One Minute Facelift power-drop from their Egoboost range has got you covered. I can’t get over this easy-to-use miracle product, which gives your cheeks and instant, on-the-go lift. 

https://www.supermood.fi/product/one-minute-facelift-30ml-2/

Supermood Egoboost: One Minute Facelift Serum. 

Supermood Egoboost: One Minute Facelift Serum. 

2. LUMI is another organic cosmetics brand we swear by. Last month, they launched a new Superbloom eye serum, which reduces swelling and gets rid of unwanted dark circles. In addition to the adorable packaging, it rejuvenates the sensitive skin around eye area and helps to fight even the toughest Nordic climate. 

http://luminordic.com/en/product/superbloom-eye-serum/

LUMI Superbloom Face and Eye Serum.

LUMI Superbloom Face and Eye Serum.

3. One thing I’ve learned — wearing the right basics can give great comfort for the entire day. This Sleek body by Woronstore comes in 3 most worn tones and offers just the right amount of support. In addition to the sustainably made comfort, it also enhances your cherished curves. I’ve realised I always want to keep the items closest to my body as natural as possible, and having that small luxury of sustainable fibres close to you can make a huge difference in feeling good. 

https://www.woronstore.com/products/sexy-slim-bodysuit-sleek-body-grey-melange?variant=27081713862

4. Swedish Stockings is another ethical Scandinavian brand specialising in sustainable pantyhose. Their Andrea Smoking stockings are not only 100% fairly made, but also a lot more appealing than any sister version of high street or supermarket pairs. SS's premium quality caters for the one who favours quality and always adorns herself in dresses and skirts. I am sure she doesn’t exactly want to go through a pair a day...  

https://www.swedishstockings.com/collections/all/products/andrea-smoking

Swedish Stockings, 2016. 

Swedish Stockings, 2016. 

5. Investing in good quality sleepwear can truly make a difference for those who love to lounge. Make your nights and blissful sleep last longer in this Noctu organic cotton nightie, without compromising neither the ethics nor the comfort.  Good news is Christmas is the time for sleepovers and hangouts at home, and a quality night gown lasts you throughout all the early nights of winter, helping you drift off in comfort. 

http://www.noctu.co.uk/shopall/swing-nightie-sage

Noctu Organic, 2016. 

Noctu Organic, 2016. 

6. For those, like myself, who travel frequently (to the extent it actually becomes frightening), a nice de-stressing pillow would be the best thing to wish for to cope with muscle aches and cramps. Weather for a long plane ride, or just a soothing night’s beauty sleep, this Origins lavender and citrus induced body wrap is a real anti-stress must-have!

http://www.origins.co.uk/product/15360/43378/bath-body/sensory/feel-good-hug-body-wrap/lavender-lemon-orange

7. This Moroccan Natural 24K Gold Leaf Serum pairs together 3 miraculous, highly effective ingredients — organic certified Argan Oil is packed with restorative omega fatty acids, which is designed to diminish fine lines whilst still deeply hydrating the skin. Prickly Pear Seed Oil improves the health of the skin by tightening pores whilst nourishing and softening. Rose Oil helps balance moisture levels and reduces the appearance of skin imperfections. The unique bottle releases gold leaves when shaken!

 https://moroccannatural.co.uk/collections/gold-collection/products/finest-24k-gold-serum-with-rose-oil

8. Scents are often associated with nostalgia, triggering fond memories, and I am sure this Byredo scent with a meaning is worth splurging on for that very special one… Byredo’s Rose of No Man’s Land, featuring notes of White Amber, Turkish Rose Petals and Raspberry Blossom, serves as a tribute to the nurses (often referred to by soldiers as “Rose of No-Man’s Land”) who saved thousands of lives on the front lines of WWI, their story is one of selflessness and compassion.

https://byredo.eu/rose-of-no-man-s-land-eau-de-parfum-50-ml

9. Nordic Honey from Estonia brings you organically certified honey from select apiaries, leaving out the ugly truth of chemically fertilized fields and dirty factories. As to the Christmas sets, their signature wooden lids are handcrafted by a small carpenters workshop in South of Estonia and highly durable glass jars are from an Italian glass factory. All Nordic Honey products possess integrity and are delivered to you with great care.

http://www.nordichoney.com/products/gift-box-no-2

10. Votch’s stylish cruelty-free watches from London, adorned with vegan leather straps, guarantee no animal skins were used for the making of their elegant timepieces. The timeless classics come in a variety of tones to align with your loved one’s individual personality…  

https://www.votch.co.uk/collections/the-watches/products/the-pink-and-gold

11. My absolute winter wardrobe favourites are turtlenecks... a nice basic polo neck keeps you warm and goes with literally everything, and nothing can be better than one made responsibly, caressing your silhouette in a silky smooth way. A well-made turtleneck leaves an effortless impression, yet can complement even a more affluent party ensemble. Good things, like this Peopletree's turtleneck top, come in shades of burgundy.  

http://www.peopletree.co.uk/women/organic-cotton-handwovens/may-turtleneck-top-in-plum

12. For those, who often need to deal with anxiety and find it difficult to calm down after an eventful day, this Supermood pillow mist must be the most effective natural herbal solution putting you at ease.

https://www.supermood.fi/product/sweet-pillow-scent-50ml/

13. These fun Ööloom sleeping masks are just so cute and the most precious accessory to all the night owls like me, who are extremely sensitive to luminescent distractions and keep waking up as soon as bright daylight makes an appearance. It is quite a challenge to decide, which animal to go for, and for the fun part, each of them includes a description of the animal's sleeping habits. Should I go for the unicorn or panda… 

https://ooloomstore.com/store/unicorn/

14. I have started caring about my haircare routine more than ever, and getting more accustomed to organic and Fair-trade cosmetics day by day, I even want my hair products to be entirely cruelty-free. For the holidays, Antonin B. offers a solution supporting the good cause — the eco-chic gift set contains the best-selling Ceramides Enriched Desert Hair Serum,  PeTA approved Axiology Lipstick and a Fair-trade Grand Cru chocolate surprise for all the sweet tooths. 

www.antoninb.com/en/organic-vegan-beauty-christmas-gift-set

Antonin. B. Cruelty-Free Christmas Set. 

Antonin. B. Cruelty-Free Christmas Set. 

15. MAST Brothers chocolates in trendy, nostalgic packaging, each carrying a theme of our favourite cities and featuring unique pairings, leave a symbolic, sensory memory. Hint:  we particularly adore their London-themed ‘vanilla & smoke’ indulgence — 

https://mastbrothers.co.uk/collections/all

OSOM: The First Zero-Waste, Upcycled Socks

OSOM brand socks from Los Angeles, CA, are the first zero-waste premium upcycled socks made from eco-friendly yarns that are spun from 95% clothing and textile waste. Osom socks are launched for the holiday season on Kickstarter through December 14, 2016.

The line of OSOM outdoor socks are made by collecting clothing and textile waste, grind the clothing and textile down to be re-spun into a completely new type of yarn. There is no water used in this process, no dyes, no chemicals or toxins. We do not treat the fabrics or yarns with dyes or toxins such as Formaldehyde or heavy metals commonly used in clothing manufacturing that are dumped into waterways, rivers and oceans.

OSOM's manifesto:

REDUCE TEXTILE WASTE: Each year Americans throw out nearly 11 million tons of clothing, approximately 70 pounds per American. Not only does this seriously contribute to the growing waste crisis, it is a true waste considering nearly 99% of textiles are recyclable. 

SAVE WATER: A conventional T-shirt will use 700 gallons and 2.5 ounces of pesticides to create one.  We use absolutely no water or pesticides in the upcycling process of creating the yarn and socks.

NO DYES. NO CHEMICALS:  More than 200 billion of wastewater is dumped into local rivers each year, these chemicals can be found in the food we eat.  We use no dyes or chemicals in the process. 

“As the founder of the company, my only wish is to be able to show people you can do things differently by supporting one another and understanding the natural cycles of life. Nature is our biggest master”

- Patricia Ermecheo