Among all the holiday hype, I’m happy when I get the chance to highlight a great Canadian retailer, as I am today, with Ontario-based company The WorldWide Nature Company. A gift store with an eco-friendly and all-natural mandate, the goodies you’ll find here make for stunning, off-the-beaten-path gift choices for just about everyone on your list. Because here’s the thing. You don’t need to be an ecologist to dig one of these pretty picks – you’ve just got to have an appreciation for our natural world, and all the beauty it brings.
Prehistoric Shark Teeth Set – $8
If you’ve got a rock collector on your hands, they’ll definitely get a kick out of The WorldWide Nature Co.’s selection of rock and mineral sampler sets. But if you’re just trying to appease your typical adventure-seeking boy (or girl), this fun set of fossilized shark’s teeth is just the stocking stuffer ticket. Featuring four teeth and fossil fun facts, it’s the type of thing that sets young minds afire, and makes for a really cool collectible they simply wouldn’t come across otherwise. Looking for more serious mineral sets? There’s plenty to choose from, all under the $20 mark.
Framed Butterflies – $35+
Let’s get something out of the way first – before you get up in arms about trapping and framing exotic butterflies, let me assure you, The WorldWide Nature Co. actually uses sustainable butterfly farms to source their stunning specimens. While these farms allow for capture of butterflies for the purposes of artwork, they also help breed hundreds of butterflies (some that are often on the brink of extinction) and release the majority of them back into the wild. With that out of the way, consider this as an earthy alternative to a framed art print. With dozens of colours, breeds, and combinations, you can dress up any wall with a pop of this au naturel art work. Buy one for your parents’ cottage, or inspire a budding entomologist with a specimen of their own. Butterflies not your thing? There’s also framed arachnids and insects.
Nyokki – $11 each
Call this Japan’s 21st century answer to the Chia Pet – each ceramic egg-shaped planter comes ready-to-grow with rye grass seed that grows in as little as two weeks. Tuck it in your child’s stocking for a chance to experiment with nature. Simply place it in the window and watch as the animal of your choice grows a wild ‘head of hair’ you can trim and cut over and over again. Fun and cute, with a side of earthiness – a total win!
Soapstone Carvings – $20+
Nothing quite says Canadiana like a piece of hand-carved Inuit-style art – like these stunning soapstone sculptures available in a dozens and dozens of shapes and styles from wild animals to Inuit to Inukshuks. Each piece is lovingly handmade, and fits into virtually any decor. Handpick a piece to dress up dad’s desk or splurge on a set of bookends to add polish to your bookshelves. There’s a massive range of price points and sculpture choices, making this a surefire hit with anyone on your gift list.
EcoSpheres- $79 – $490
Forgo the fish tank and opt for one of these gorgeous self-sustaining ecosystems from EcoSphere. Each aquatic glass habitat includes marine shrimp, algae, bacteria, and other microorganisms, meaning your sea creatures can actually feed themselves from the contents within. You also don’t ever have to get down and dirty to clean the thing: your EcoSphere comes with two magnets (one permanently inside, and one outside). Simply match them up to clean the tank when excess algae builds up. Go for a petite bullet-shaped ready-assembled tank for your front hall table or get a larger one to put on display in your office or living room. You can also opt for one of the company’s BYOES (that’s build-your-own-eco-system) and gift it to kids, particularly those that aren’t quite ready to take care of their own animals but could still learn a thing or twenty simply by building their own EcoSphere. Special note: The WorldWide Nature Co. is actually the exclusive Canadian manufacturer distributor for this ultra cool gift item (and its fun accessories make for great gift ideas post-Christmas).
Want to make your gift list one person shorter this holiday season? You could be in luck – I’m giving away a Medium Ecosphere (valued at $185) to a truly lucky reader. If you want that reader to be you, here’s how to enter:
1) Leave a comment by December 14th with the gift idea from The WorldWide Nature Company you’re most in love with.
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around December 15th to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Like The WorldWide Nature Company on Facebook + sign up for their newsletter for two bonus entries. Be sure to leave your Facebook username in the comments below so I can credit you + leave a comment on The WorldWide Nature Company Facebook page.