Holiday Gift Ideas For Those With A Green Thumb And A Green Lifestyle

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
gourd candle holders
Astrid Newenhouse

Our annual gift list is ready! We have lots of ideas for the gardeners and eco-minded people on your list. From gardening tools to magazines to gifts you can make at home – we have it covered.

Featured in this Show

  • Gardening, Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas From Nature-Loving Wisconsinites

    Do you have someone on your gift list who likes gardening or is eco-minded? Then Astrid and Sonya Newenhouse have a list of their own for you to look over.

    The Newenhouse sisters come up with a list each year filled with gift ideas perfect for those with a green thumb or a green lifestyle.

    “It’s so long but there’s lots of ideas; and it’s for all budgets and interests. I think there’s something for everyone on there,” said Astrid, senior scientist at the Environmental Resources Center and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Biological Systems Engineering.

    In previous years, the two grouped their list by price, but this year they revamped it by category. They include garden gifts but also food and cooking related gifts, DIY kits, ideas for homemade gifts, outdoor and sustainable living, nature gifts, classes, books and magazines.

    The sisters each work on their list throughout the year. “Then we duke it out,” said Sonja, an eco-entrepreneur who founded Madison Environmental Group. “We had an eight-page list and we had to cut some things so Astrid and I had to do a little battling.”

    Here are a few of their favorites this year:

    Gardening Gifts

    – Small indoor gardening gifts. Sonja likes the indoor Grow-up Greenhouse Kit from HearthSong priced at just under $30. She said it’s for kids but adults will like it too.

    – Gardening gloves. “The ones I like are nitrile,” Astrid said. “They are very thin and the palms and fingertips are coated, it’s kind of rubbery and they’re very cheap and they come in great colors and they fit your hand very well.”

    – Both sisters think the Cobrahead weeder is a good choice. It’s $25 and is made in Wisconsin.


    – The book, “Natural Connections, Exploring Northwoods Nature by Science and Your Senses,” by Emily Stone.

    “She writes in the style of Aldo Leopold,” Astrid said. “What’s also really nice is that sales of the book benefits kids programs at the Cable (Wisconsin) Natural History Museum.”

    Food Related

    Beeswax wrap. “It’s a new product this year,” Sonja said. “Picture a really thick, beautiful wax paper that when you fold it, it stays in place and is reusable.”

    Nature Related

    – The Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey offers a student rock kit for $3.50.

    – The Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey also has a Wisconsin wall map for $20 that comes with 3-D glasses. The land features pop off the page and the map has descriptions of the geology of landforms.


    Bird Bingo from Nature Watch. “What I like about this is all ages can play at a holiday gathering and you’re learning about birds,” Sonya said.

    Lawn Care

    – A nut gatherer, which is a rolling basket that picks up walnuts, apples and more on the lawn. Cost is $54, according to the sisters’ list.

    “For people who have walnuts and apples in their yard,” Astrid said. “You sweep it across your lawn and it picks up walnuts in a little round cage.”

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Jill Nadeau Producer
  • Astrid Newenhouse Guest
  • Sonya Newenhouse Guest