Green Holiday Gift Ideas

Every year us greenies face a difficult challenge: participating in the frenzy of holiday gifting without compromising our eco-friendly sensibilities. Between mass-manufactured goods (and the pollution and waste created by their production and shipping), throw-away packaging, and non-recyclable wrapping paper (not to mention freshly-cut evergreens), it’s enough to drive any mindful environmentalist to live in a teepee for the month of December. But before you write off the entire season, it pays to think about the many gifts that will allow you to stick to your principles while still appeasing your consumer-driven family and friends. Here are just a few items that may meet both requirements.

1. Kindle Fire. Forget about deforestation; now you can get all of your books in one place with the e-book reader that most bibliophiles prefer. And while the standard version will now cost you as little as $79, you can get the all new Kindle Fire for not too much more and enjoy access to music, videos, and apps galore. They may not have as many options as iTunes (yet), but with a rapidly expanding list of Kindle-compatible downloadable content, storage via Amazon’s cloud network, and a host of other features, they’re certainly looking to compete with a certain iDevice that is far more expensive. If the features don’t hook you, the $200 price tag should do the trick.

2. Can-tab purses. How this became the “it” item of the holiday season is anyone’s guess, but these cleverly assembled bags come in different shapes and sizes and have been spotted in both trendy boutiques and web stores alike. Best of all, if you have the free time you can find tutorials online to learn how to make them yourself! Too much work? Can-tab jewelry is also on the rise with the hep set.

3. Solar-powered laptop bag. Kids and adults alike can benefit from a bag that helps them to charge their laptops using the power of the sun. These handy messenger bags, backpacks, and briefcases come with photovoltaic panels and plugs for many of your mobile devices, providing a charge that lasts about 15-45 minutes per hour of sunlight (depending on the laptop). It’s not only an alternative to electrical energy usage (especially if you live in a sunny clime); it’s also a good way to start a conversation about conservation.

4. Organic co-op gift boxes. If you live near an organic farm or co-op that grows, sells, and even delivers locally, consider skipping the Harry & David’s boxes this year and opting instead for door-to-door service that includes a box of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables for loved ones to enjoy with their holiday feast. Not only will you give a delicious gift, but you’ll support local farms and reduce pollution in the process. Plus, anyone who signs up for the service may earn you dollars off your own deliveries.

5. Gift cards. There are few gifts greener than gift cards. Although they are plastic, they’re relatively small and many can be reused (rather than tossed) by simply refilling them when they run out (in short, you can re-gift ones you already have by reloading them). Or you can get them from an eco-friendly establishment to go extra green. And unlike lost debit cards, which have to be cancelled and replaced, your giftees can still get their money’s worth if they lose the card by simply using the gift receipt.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson writes for Get Debit where you can find a huge selection of debit cards like the MasterCard prepaid card and the PayPower card. Get Debit also allows you to check out customer feedback and ratings.