Yes, They're Luxe, but This Year's Oscar Swag Bags Have a Conscience

$80K consolation prize for Oscar nominees is a mixed bag of high-end items and socially relevant products.

Ayurverdic candies from Dosha Pops are included in this year's Oscar swag bag. (Photo: Joon Shin/Dosha Pops)

Liana Aghajanian is TakePart's weekend editor. Her work has appeared in ForeignPolicy.com, BBC.com, Los Angeles Times, and TheAtlantic.com.

There's swag, and then there's envy-inducing luxurious Oscar swag. Judging from this year's particularly large goody bag, valued at a whopping $80,000, nominees attending will feel like a winner even if they don't get to thank the Academy. The swag bags, up $30,000 in value from last year, will be presented to those who lose in the best actor/actress, supporting actor/actress, and director categories.

The freebies for the rich and famous have been assembled for the last 12 years by Los Angeles–based niche marketing company Distinctive Assets, and they are as lavish as you would expect: They include a $15,000 walking tour in Japan, a home spa system that costs $2,560, and $5,000 in free laser hair removal or cosmetic surgery. This year's bag also contains an odd hodgepodge of low-end items, including a six-pack of condoms, a bottle of vodka, and a DVD offering the services of aspiring filmmaker Charles Van Loucks.

But among the offers for complimentary jet-setting and de-stressing and a $2,700 “O-Shot” procedure to help women's sex drives (yes, really) are a host of more-accessible items with added social purpose:

Headspace.com lifetime membership to a meditation gym ($500)

Founded by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, who also has a degree in circus arts, Headspace bills itself as a “project designed to demystify meditation,” which might be useful for celebrities dealing with a daily barrage of paparazzi problems (paging Alec Baldwin). The gym membership for the mind, just about $6 a month, includes access to hundreds of meditation training programs, podcasts, the latest in meditation research, motivational support, and daily reminders to keep you on track.

Green Garmento reusable dry cleaning bags ($23)

Made from recyclable, nonwoven polypropylene, the multipurpose reusable garment bags serve as a hamper, a duffel bag, and a garment bag—meaning you never have to re-home the clothes you're taking to the dry cleaner in a plethora of plastic bags. The Green Garmento is in close to 1,000 dry cleaning chains and is produced in China “by facilities that undergo social accountability audits,” where both labor, health, and safety are under review, according to the company, which says it is actively looking for U.S. production resources.

Dosha Pops herbal tea lollipops ($35)

Why drink your tea when you can dip a stick in it, sugarcoat it, and lick it instead? NYC-based Dosha Pops, named after the ayurvedic mind and body principles vata, pitta, and kapha, is an artisanal boutique offering herbal tea–infused pops with flavors such as chai, hibiscus, pomegranate, and chicory.

Celebrity acupuncturist Heather Lounsbury house call ($500)

From her Santa Monica–based clinic Heather Lounsbury specializes in the treatment of pain management, gynecology, mental health and addiction, and digestive disorders, according to her website. Also a nutritionist and a Reiki master, Lounsbury has worked with Tori Spelling and her husband, Dean McDermott, Carmen Electra, and Rainn Wilson. With stellar Yelp reviews, which refer to her as “an amazing healer,” it might be well worth it for any stressed-out celeb to take Lounsbury up on her offer.
 

Rouge Maple organic maple syrup ($280)

Good maple syrup is expensive, but if you're an Oscar attendee, you're getting the really good stuff for free. Straight from maple trees in Notre-Dame-Des-Bois, a high-altitude town in Quebec, Rouge Maple claims to be the best maple syrup you've ever tasted. It's not the first time its products have landed in a swag bag; last year they were at the Grammys. The company also offers one-year, certified adoption of maple trees as well as maple dressing, jelly, and candies.

All-natural pet brand Halo Spot 10,000 meal donation to animal shelter of choice ($6,100)

Ellen Degeneres isn't just hosting the Oscars; in a truly altruistic move she's giving back to the pet community on behalf of all nominees who lose. Thanks to her pet food company, Halo, each non-winning best actor/actress, supporting actor/actress, and director nominee gets to donate 10,000 meals to an animal shelter or rescue of his or her choice, ensuring that he or she will at least feel somewhat good after losing. The donations are being made possible through a partnership with Freekibble.com, a site created by 16-year-old Mimi Ausland to help out local animal shelters.

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