Figuring out what to give your friends and family for Christmas is never an easy task. You want to give them gifts they'll be able to use and enjoy, but with your newly acquired green conscience, you're also concerned about the environmental impact of your purchases. To make your Christmas shopping simpler and more eco-friendly this year, we've put together a list of green gift ideas for everyone on your list. Giving even just one of these gifts will not only be ecologically responsible of you, it will encourage and, in some cases, enable your gift recipients to be better to the planet, as well!
Green Christmas Gifts
- Reusable Tote Bag: It's probably the most important item in a greenie's arsenal. Using a tote bag instead of a disposable plastic or paper bag also happens to be the simplest way a person, greenie or not, can decrease landfill waste and lessen their impact. These bags are sold at countless grocery stores and boutiques, and are widely available online. Visit delight.com to view their wide selection of colorful and trendy RuMe bags available in mix and match solids for $9.75.
- Green Essentials Kit: Set your friends and family on their green journey in style with a kit of essentials that includes a stylish reusable bag, a copy of The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen, an energy saving compact fluorescent light bulb, a bar of Demarah Natural Soap, and a reusable travel mug. This Green Essentials Kit is available for $40 from thegreenperspective.com, which offers a great selection of green gift baskets for everyone on your list.
- Biodegradable T-Shirt: Show your loved ones that it's possible to be both chic, comfortable, and conscious all at the same time by giving them a biodegradable t-shirt for Christmas. Purchase one for $25 from todydesigns.com and teach the newbie greenies in your life about waste prevention!
- Plantable Eco Calendar: Let your loved ones be green every day of the year with Botanical Paperwork's Plantable Calendar. At the end of each month, they can plant the seed-embedded calendar page, add water, and wait 6-8 weeks for Bird's Eye, Clarkia, Coreopsis, Poppy, Catchfly, and Snap Dragon flowers to bloom. Only $14.95 at botanicalpaperworks.com!
- I Am NOT a Paper Cup: A clever porcelain rendition of a paper cup that looks just like the modern to-go cup, except it can be used over and over again. It's made of double-walled porcelain so it will keep drinks hot and paper cups out of landfills. Put one of these in a friend's hand for only $10 and you'll help them be green every time they drink their coffee. ( www.uncommongoods.com)
- Water Bobble: Spare the earth all the negative effects of bottled water and get your friends and relatives a water Bobble, a reusable water bottle that has an activated charcoal filter in the spout. Each bottle is made of FDA approved, recycled plastic and comes in one of six bright colors. The bottles are $10 and the filters, which need to be replaced every two months, are $7. The water Bobble is a low cost solution to the wasteful, Earth-damaging water bottle and, therefore, makes a great gift for anyone on your Christmas list, including yourself. ( www.containerstore.com)
- Reusable Lunch Bag: The adult who takes their lunch to work in one of these totes for a year can save 90 pounds of garbage, while the child who uses one every day of the school year will eliminate 67 pounds of waste. Give a reusable lunch bag like the Gourmet Getaway to friends and relatives so they can do their part to prevent unnecessary waste and pollution. It's available at lunchville.com for $22.99 and comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors.
- A Green Cookbook: Give the chefs on your list In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart by Alice Waters and they'll be able to create 50 recipes using fresh, local ingredients. Available from Amazon for as low as $16.30.
- Triple-Certified Coffee: Much like chocolate, coffee is a Christmas gift that is rarely rejected by recipients. First, read our article Choosing Earth Friendly Coffee, which will tell you everything you need to know about triple-certified coffee. Then, buy 2-pound bags of Birds & Beans coffee for all your coffee-loving friends and relatives, for $19.25 each. Not only is Birds & Beans' coffee organic, Fair Trade, and shade grown, but twenty percent of the profits from your purchase will be donated to one of seven non-profit conservation groups.
- Organic Cotton Scarf: Scarves are one of the best gifts for women who have everything. That's because they're one of the most essential accessories in her closet. An organic cotton gauze scarf from Azuri is a better choice than a brand that uses Earth-costly synthetic materials. All you need to know is your friend or relative's favorite color so you can select it from the 110 available shades. It's only $39 and is made to order at nimli.com!
- EcoCharger: Help the techies on your list reduce their energy bills by 10 percent with a charger that pulls no idle current (a.k.a. vampire energy) once the device is fully charged! The Volt-Star EcoCharger's Energy Star-compliant design fills up gadgets in less time than other chargers and even comes in an Apple-compatible version. Available at volt-star.com for $32-$34.
- Popcorn Set: Help the movie-lovers and foodies on your list snack organic with a popcorn set from Eden Foods. The set comes with plain popcorn kernels, soybean oil, sea salt, and garlic-sesame seasoning (all of which is organic, of course), in addition to a food-safe enamelware bowl and a 40-page recipe booklet. It's only $35 at edenfoods.com.
- A Bamboo Beanie or Belt: Check out Arbor Collective's selection of hats and beanies made from bamboo viscose blends. And while you're there, look into getting someone on your list a top grain leather belt with a metal buckle inlayed with reclaimed bamboo from Arbor's snowboard and skateboard production.
- Soy Candles: Completely handmade by artisans using 100% natural all-soy wax and essential oils, Candela Wooden Wick Soy Candles are a green gift like none other. Combining the best in green design and craftsmanship with their wooden wicks and exotic scents, these candles crackle as they burn and create an amazing atmosphere. Available for $26.89 at delight.com!
- Pomegranate Gift Kit: Give a female friend or relative a regenerating body care gift kit by Weleda. The kit includes organic pomegranate body oil, body wash, and a naturally exfoliating loofah, all inside an eco-friendly, reusable bag. Only $18 at usa.weleda.com!
Green Stocking Stuffers
- Shower Timer: Help your friends and family conserve water with a sand or digital shower timer. It will actually change their shower habits and help connect the whole concept behind water and energy use with reality. These recyclable, waterproof timers come in fun and attractive designs and cost between $1 and $5.15 at usalandlord.com.
- Water-Powered Clock: The Bedol Water Clock works 100 percent on natural power; no batteries, no chemicals, no pollution. All it takes is natural tap water and a splash of lemon juice and it's set to keep accurate time for 8 to 12 weeks. Sized at 4” x 3 ½” and costing only $16, this clock is ideal for any home or office. Check it out at bedolwhatsnext.com.
- Recyclable Travel Set: The Preserve Travel Set, made up of a triple razor with a completely recyclable handle, six replacement blades, and a toothbrush with a handle made from recycled yogurt cups, is a super gift because it teaches your loved ones to become green when they're on the go. Available in assorted colors and costing only $15.99 from preserveproducts.com.
- Organic Chocolate: You can never go wrong with giving chocolate as a Christmas gift, but giving away all-natural, organic chocolate is better. Get the chocolate lovers on your list a unique and deliciously favored Shaman Chocolate bar, which are organic, Fair Trade, and only $3 each. Your purchase will provide support for the indigenous Huichol Indians of Mexico.
- Organic Lip Balm Set: Give your girlfriend a USDA-certified organic, All The Better To Kiss You With eco lip balm set. Each 0.25 oz. Pepperminty, Lavender Vanilla, and Chai Mandarin lip balm is 100 percent cruelty-free and comes in a vintage, recyclable tin. The Eco Kiss Kit is available at babybearshop.com for just $20.