Quick: before Christmas comes

I love Christmas: the coziness, conviviality and the kids’ joy. But, like many of you I suspect, I hate the excess and the pressing need to identify unmet needs (amongst people who really have none) just so I can fulfil my gifting obligations.

Personally I love giving experiences, but I have yet to persuade my four kids that a stocking full of promissory notes and gift cards to the local coffee shop really cuts it. Small indulgences are required: preferably ones that can be wrapped, used and then disappear leaving a relatively small footprint.

One thing that will be in the stockings of the young Foxes this year is a selection of products that I have received over the past two months in my regular package from the Natural Beauty Box (T.N.B.B.).

T.N.B.B. is one of a number of companies operating in the monthly cosmetics and skincare subscription space, though by no means all companies offer natural products. You sign up for anything from one month to one year and then wait to receive a nicely-packaged goody-bag of natural cosmetic sample sizes (not sachets) through the mail. They even throw in some full-sized products from time to time.

Samples are guaranteed to be at least 95% natural and 50% organic. This may not satisfy complete purists, but it is good enough for me (especially in comparison with some of the horrors my kids have been known to bring home).

Inside your pretty gift bag you will also find coupons in case you like the samples (reminding you that this is, of course, partly a marketing exercise).

T.N.B.B. does not tell you what you will receive in advance, but that is half the fun. Who doesn’t love getting an indulgent surprise in the mail from time to time?

So I have been saving up my precious bottles to scatter amongst my girls’ stockings. For me this is a great solution to the pre-teen lotion love (which I remember so well from all those years ago).

Yes, there is excess plastic (think little bottles) but, on balance, I am not too worried as I am not channelling toxic fragrances and chemicals to my kids.

Here in Canada, subscriptions vary from $15.75 to $20/month – shipping included – depending upon how long you sign up for. And the really good news is that subscriptions are available not only in Canada but also in the US (same price), the UK (OK: same price in pounds as in dollars, but UK folks are used to that…), and worldwide ($32/month).

And if you are looking not for stocking-stuffers but for a more substantial one-off Christmas present, you are also in luck. The Natural Beauty Box is selling a December Deluxe Beauty Sac stuffed with at least five full-sized products and five samples.

The cost for this is $49.99 (inc. shipping). I just ordered one for my niece: fingers crossed. My only gripe is that there appears to be no ability to include a gift message when you place the order (or did I miss it?).

Another gifting option, of course, is to be more generous than me and instead of splitting the boxes, give the one you love their own subscription. Voilà, the gift that keeps on giving.

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  1. Fiona says:

    I have a Natural Beauty Box subscription too! It’s such a great deal and the quality is very high, although I also feel a little guilty about all the small bottles.
    I think packaging is the next frontier for “green” products. We’re getting spoilt for choice for organic cosmetics now (very different from 10-15 years ago), so now I’m looking for innovative non-plastic packaging to distinguish who’s really the most eco of them all.

  2. Diana says:

    That’s a great point, Fiona. I agree absolutely about packaging which is why I love the Sweet Leaf lip balms in paper cases. I hope to see more innovation in this area.

  3. Julia Ringma says:

    I just discovered your blog as I was reading the Citizen today. Looking at this post makes me think about how I hardly use any beauty products because most of them are too scented. I went through chemotherapy in 2009 and while I was always very sensitive to scent, it sent me right over the top. Now, I could be hired out to sniff luggage at the airport. After chemo was over, I went to the “Look good feel better” program offered by volunteers (it was at the Ottawa Civic Breast Health Centre). They gave us a goody bag with lovely cosmetics donated by mainstream companies. Now I am thinking, they should communicate with these natural companies. Different people react in different ways to chemo, but most of the women I knew at the time would probably have appreciated knowing the products they were using were organic or at least, less toxic. Anyway, something to think about, if you wanted to connect these two organizations!

  4. Tracey says:

    “I hate the excess and the pressing need to identify unmet needs (amongst people who really have none) just so I can fulfil my gifting obligations.”

    Thank you! This totally sums up my feelings regarding the idea that society says I should spend my time and money (which given I work full time and am a Mom to two kids 5 and 7 years old I never have enough of ) travelling the malls trying to find presents for adults who have the disposible income to buy anything they want for themselves. After years of getting so anxious about all the “useless” (albeit beautiful and expensive) gifts I would get for Christmas, two years ago I finally said that I would no longer be accepting gifts from my huband’s family. My SIL has a large disposible income and is a shop aholic and revels in excess of every kind and her family finds it necessary to indluge this. Somehow they have made me out to be the villian but I no longer feel stressed about Christmas!!!! I simply got tired of comprimising my own personal value system to make someone else feel fulfilled. Now the amount of gifts that my kids get from her – that is a work in progress!!! Thanks for the thought and making me feel not so alone!

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