TreeHugger's Green Gift Guide 2006
New for 2007: Be sure to check out TreeHugger's new 2007 Green Gift Guide!
What's All the Talk?
Welcome to TreeHugger's Holiday Gift Guide for 2006! This time around we've included 10 categories with 10 ideas each - all things TreeHugger from this past year. For more ideas, visit our 2005 Gift Guide and be sure to check out TreeHugger's "How to: Green Your Gifts." Happy Holidays!
The kitchen is the heart of your home and this year we have some great recommendations for those that love to spend their time in it. Don't forget, when entertaining for the holidays, use "real" plates, silverware and glasses or use biodegradable place settings and dinnerware.
We love the company Bambu and have covered it several times over the years. We even named them "Best of Sustainable Designers" in 2005. Their everyday kitchen utensils are practical and are heat resistant.
2. Kitchen Composters
Although a kitchen composter might not be at the top of everyone's list, the chef will surely appreciate it when they're growing fresh herbs in their garden in the warmer months.
Chef Michael Chiarello's online store, NapaStyle, an eclectic mix of eco-friendly, hand-crafted and exclusive home goods as well as artisanal specialty foods of his creation. Each piece on the site is personally designed, hand-picked and tested by Mr. Chiarello.
4. Organic Olive Oil
We've started noticing that organic olive oil is more easily found than it was in the past. A reader tipped us that one we mentioned, La Amarilla de Ronda, can be found in a market in Portland, OR. Flavored organic olive oil makes a great host or hostess gift as well.
5. Enrico Cutting Boards & Cheese Grater
More bamboo for the kitchen! In addition to their line of cutting boards, Enrico's signature piece is their box cheese grater.
6. Chamba Ware
Chamba dates back to the age of the Incas and is unglazed, lead-free and heats evenly. Chamba Ware can go from oven to tabletop and can be used for years and years to come.
7. "A Fair Feast" Cookbook
The chef in your home will love "A Fair Feast." From celebrity chefs, this cookbook covers all styles of food and the proceeds goes to sustainable agriculture.
8. Organic Spices
Adding spices to dishes is essential for those that love food. We mentioned above that organic olive oil is becoming more well-known, and we've seen the same for organic spices. We suggested the Spice Trader in Toronto and there are many others that can be found online and in specialty stores.
9. Homemade Chopstick Set
For those that make their own sushi, check out the Homemade Chopstick Set at Urban Fruit. It's made from recycled scrap hard woods and includes six chopstick sets, dipping bowls and holders.
10. Cast Iron
If a new set of pans is on your foodie's wish list, stay away from the Teflon and look for cast iron pieces. Teflon has been linked with several diseases and when the pans wear out the aluminum pieces can't be recycled.
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Think of those cheap plastic toys and how many you have lying around your house (see our post about how to recycle these) from holidays past. When buying holiday gifts for the kids keep in mind that it's better to buy products that are made of organic cotton and wood.
1. Stuffed Animals
Our favorites include: The Tofu Bear made from Soysilk; Andreas Linzner's very cool and one-of-kind custom animals made from recycled terrycloth towels; the miYim collection of organic cotton critters, made with children's safety in mind and; the very cuddly teddy bears at Eco-Artware that are handmade from clean, recycled quilts, skirts and jackets.
2. Sage Baby
From the nursery to toddler, Sage Baby is an online resource that is very organized and very easy to click through. The company wants to share great products and advice by teaching parents one step at a time, one choice at a time, that they can make sound, eco-conscious choices that are good for their families
3. Crazy Crayons
Through their Crayon Recycle Program, Crazy Crayons accepts old crayon stubs and melts them down to make new ones. They come in 26 different shades and are packaged in a recycled cardboard box which includes tree-free scribble paper. A straw grass ribbon completes the gift.
4. Fuel Cell Car Kit
For those 12 & up, consider a Fuel Cell Car & Experiment Kit from Thames & Kosmos. In a nutshell, it's a toy car that runs on water but introduces the concept of solar technology as well.
5. Bamboo Toys
It's Pick-Up Sticks reinvented! These bright pieces are decorated with water-based paints and are available from kidEstore
6. Xeko Trading Cards
It's time to save the world with Xeko. Based around the popularity of trading cards, these are made from recycled stock printed with soy based inks. Players that send their card wrappers in to the game's makers are awarded Green Stars to encourage recycling.
7. Ice Cream Maker
We liked this product so much that after originally writing about it, we decided to do a follow-up post as well. This ice cream maker doesn't use energy (except for yours), and is a delicious homemade treat.
8. Endangered Species Toothbrush
Perfect for the little ones' stockings, the Preserve Jr. Endangered Species Toothbrush comes to us from the folks at Recycline. It encourages teachable moments not only about health and brushing, but also about conservation, recycling and wildlife.
9. The Lorax
Who can resist the story of The Lorax? Since 1971, Dr. Seuss's story still resonates with young ones and has not dated. We've loved it since the first time it was read to us.
10. Organic Lollipops
Here's another stocking stuffer (also an idea instead of candy canes). YummyEarth's Organic Lollipops' flavors include Pomegranate, Lemon, Berry, Watermelon and Orange.
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For those that love being outdoors, there's nothing like it. We've rounded up our favorites gifts for land and sea. Always look for eco-friendly items when enjoying Mother Earth.
1. Climbing Ropes
2. Teko Socks
We've promoted Teko Socks before and continue to support their ecologically enhanced technical socks. In 2006 the company announced that they had become the first from the U.S. outdoor industry to participate in the Chicago Climate Exchange.
3. A Membership to the Outdoors
What's better for an outdoors lover than to purchase them a membership to an outdoors organization? A few ideas that we like are the Sierra Club, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Surfrider Foundation.
4. Patagonia Shoes
Joining forces with Merrell, Patagonia is new to the shoe industry but, as always with Patagonia, they aren't compromising materials or style. A few styles have made their debut in time for the holidays with more to follow in Spring 2007.
5. Eco-Camp Kit
Make your outdoors lover a happy camper with the Eco-Camp Kit. With accessories like a solar shower, an organic cotton roll-up bed and a water-powered digital alarm clock, it makes the perfect gift. You can also take it a notch higher with the Luxury Eco-Camp Kit.
6. Fire-Fly Stove
Made from 100% recycled materials, the Fire-fly Stove also includes a stand made from 30% recycled content. It's featherweight and perfect for stashing in the pack for overnight trips.
7. Blue Lotus Blankets
To keep warm during the chilly nights, your outdoors enthusiast will love Blue Lotus Blankets. They are made from Fortrel EcoSpunâ„¢ fleece made from 100% post-consumer plastic.
8. Solar Spark Lighter
As the only pocket-sized solar lighter, the Solar Spark Lighter is designed to focus the sun's energy to a preside focal point.
9. EcoFoil Surfboard
In addition to their standard hemp covered models, OceanGreen offers three EcoFoil balsa boards, made from balsa wood from FSC certified Nicaraguan forests.
10. Prijon Kayaks
Said to be the "most durable" kayaks in the world, Prijon uses materials that are non-toxic.
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We like giving and getting gift certificates. Not only do save wrapping paper, but it also allows us to choose something we want rather than getting (and wasting) something we don't. Below are our favorites that we've written about.
1. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Services
We've seen the rise of eco-friendly cleaning services over the past year. Who wouldn't want a gift certificate?
2. Organic Delivery Services
A great example of a true PSS (Product Service System), Peerflix is a great gift for any movie lover.
4. Green Sites for Green Gifts
5. Shop Locally
We like the idea of shopping locally for gift certificates. Some ideas include local restaurants, local artisans and local farmers markets for items like gift baskets. Many can be found through a search online, but check out Local Harvest for restaurants and farmers online.
6. Groovy Mind's Tea and Coffee Club
7. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Holiday time is the perfect opportunity to give someone a green living gift. Although companies like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Method don't offer their products online, you can visit sites like Amazon to purchase gift certificates.
8. Bag, Borrow or Steal
Another great example of a PSS (Product Service System), a gift certificate from Bag, Borrow or Steal is a perfect gift for the accessory lover.
9. Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaning
With OXXO Care Dry Cleaners expanding nationwide, a gift of eco-friendly dry cleaning is a great gift certificate for those who use the service on a regular basis.
10. Organic Wine, Spirits and Beer
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Just because items need to be small to stuff into a (organic) stocking it doesn't mean they can't be green. Good things come in small packages!
1. "Green" Jewelry
As you know, going green doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. For the jewelry lover, our favorites include: BtheNV made from recycled magazines; Tarma made from recycled stainless steel; Spacefruit made from recycled plastic found on beaches; The Cork Cuff made from, well, cork and; Verde pieces made from various sustainable elements.
2. Organic Tea
3. Vere Chocolate
Chocolate couldn't possibly be good for you, but Vere's chocolate would have you thinking twice. Their variety of beautiful chocolates make a great host or hostess gift as well.
4. Looolo Scarves
The scarf is the essential accessory in the winter time, and Looolo's biodegradable scarves are irresistible. Made from organic wool, ramie, vicose with zero impact dyes these are available in eight different styles.
5. A TreeHugger T-Shirt
Our personal favorite! Choose a favorite slogan from our TreeHugger Tee's and give a gift with a statement. While your at it, pick one up for yourself.
6. Nature Girl
Body care is a popular stocking stuffer and the line of all-natural, organic products from Nature Girl has something for everyone. One of our other favorites, Aveda, offers an Eco-Overnight Pack, perfect for holiday traveling.
7. Jimi Recycled iPod Case
Still searching for a stocking stuffer for your teen or significant other? Put the Jimi Recycled iPod Nano Case on your list. Made from 100% recycled materials, the switchable/swapable color combo case keeps both your tunes and your style in good shape.
8. Hedgerow Herbals
Here's another idea for the tub. Hedgerow Herbals makes skin and beauty products made from natural ingredients and are free from parabens, synthetic chemicals and petroleum and paraffin products.
9. BuenoStyle Organic Undies
Looking to spice up her stocking with some undies? Check out BuenoStyle's range of organic cotton panties, by designer Christi York. They are simple, boy cut briefs in fun and funky colors with a fruity twist.
10. The Razor Saver
As one of the handiest gadgets that TreeHugger has seen, the Razor Saver claims to sharpen your used disposable razor heads for up to 130 shaves. using their math, that's a 75% reduction!
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Books always make a great holiday gift. This year, why not educate them so 2007 starts off green? And while you're at it, check out America's Bookshelf and Read It Swap It. Below are a list of books that we read in 2006 and highly recommend for anyone on your gift list.
With many contributing writers, Worldchanging: A User's Guide to the 21st Century covers seven main themes: Stuff, Shelter, Cities, Community, Business, Politics and Planet.
2. Simply Green Giving
Perfect for the holidays, Danny Seo's focus in Simply Green Giving is the re-use of items that are easily available to create beautiful gift-wrappings, or even gifts. The book is split into four sections covering gift tags and cards, boxes, wraps and bows and handmade gifts.
3. The Big Green Apple
Written by Ben Jervey, The Big Green Apple: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Living in New York City provides simple solutions for the busy New Yorker with tips and strategies on how to adopt a lower-impact life without compromising your comfortable and cool urban lifestyle.
4. Design Like You Give a Damn
Design Like You Give a Damn is truly an important book, edited by Architecture for Humanity. Its lesson is that architecture and design are not about being on the cover of last week's New York Times Magazine but about making a difference in people's lives.
5. Naturally Clean
Seventh Generation's Naturally Clean: The Seventh Generation Guide to Safe & Healthy Non-Toxic Cleaning can guide you to healing indoor air pollution by zeroing in on what may be affecting it. It also lets you in on a few secrets surrounding the industry, even those products that claim to be "all natural".
6. How To Go Further
Told from the voice of Woody Harrelson, How To Go Further covers a wide range of topics that Harrelson himself has learned about over the past few years, including organic food, alternative energy, yoga, and political activism.
7. The Omnivore's Dilemma
The Omnivore's Dilemma is this: When you can eat just about anything nature has to offer, deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety. Michael Pollan says in this book that what we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world.
8. Small is the New Big
Seth Godin's latest book, Small is the New Big, has one underlying theme: clever, honest and real businesses and ideas will succeed; big is slow, boring and broken.
9. The Way We Eat
TreeHugger recommended that everyone who cares about what they put in their mouth should read The Way We Eat by Peter Singer.
10. The Solution is You!
From statistics that'll have you squashing dissenters in any debate to handy tips on how you can reduce your own everyday emissions, Laurie David's latest project to get people marching in her virtual Stop Global Warming campaign is The Solution is You!
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Solar is a big trend this year in gift giving. Not only do the items in this category save energy but they also use the Earth's natural resources to charge and function.
1. Solar Golf Bag
For those that love the golf course, a Solar Golf Bag might be just the gift. It has built in solar panels with charging tips that can connect to cell phones and handhelds. You can also purchase an additional tip to charge an iPod.
2. Solar Cooker
The BCKSolar is a compact solar cooker and food carrier that can be folded into a tube. It can heat water up to a temperature of 90 degrees Celsius, and, once hot, the cooker keeps the food warm.
3. Solar Style
The photovoltaic panels on a Solar Style collect light and convert it to energy, which is stored in what they call the "Battery on Board." When you need a boost of juice, plug in and the batteries will charge or power your electronic device.
4. Foldable Solar Battery Charger
Weighing in at just nine ounces, the Foldable Solar Battery Charger fits in most backpacks and laptop bags and is powerful enough to charge most personal electronic accessories.
5. The Voltaic Backpack
The Voltaic Backpack always makes our list of must-haves. Taking the technology and slick design, which made the original pack so popular, Voltaic has grown the concept into three new bags.
6. The Purse
Attractive yet functional the Power Purse has the ability to recharge batteries and other electronic devices.
7. Solar Powered Video Camera
While most wireless cameras still have a cord lurking somewhere for power, this Solar Powered Video Camera gets its power from the sun.
8. Solar Powered Electric Bike
Photovoltaic panels are built in to the wheels of this Solar Powered Electric Bike. It can drive along at speeds up to 30kph (19 mph) via the 500 watt motor.
9. Sanyo Solar Charger
We mentioned the Solar Style above, and here's another charger we like. Sanyo's Eneloop Solar Charger combines the capacity to juice up rechargeable batteries (4 AAs at a time) with a handy USB port in the back, perfect for charging your iPod, cell or PDA at the same time.
10. Solar Powered Tent
This Solar Powered Tent comes with its own solar panel and integrated, interior LED lights. You can also use the solar panels independently to charge batteries. Perfect for the outdoors.
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For many, digging in the dirt is a passion. For others, it's therapeutic. Whatever it may be, the gardener on your shopping list will thank you greatly for bringing more of the green into their life.
We're seeing these guys in so many places these days. Plant-Me-Pets can be buried in their sculpture in a pot of soil (head-first, so as to cover the seeds). Just water, place it in the sun and a plant will sprout. Not to worry, the rubber will decompose.
2. Urban Herbarium
Julian Lwin's Urban Herbarium is a self-enclosed growing chamber to germinate and grow edible herbs for your city kitchen.
A great learning tool for ages eight & up, Gardenopoly is an organic property trading game similar to Monopoly.
4. Seeds From Your Garden
Hopefully you read our post about cleaning out your garden. Take those seeds that you collected and give them out as gifts!
With the AeroGarden comes your ability to grow vegetables, greens, herbs and the like in your kitchen (or just about anywhere indoors) by suspending plant roots in the air, rather than soil or water.
Tramando's "Objects" line includes blanket, cushions, puff and flower pot. Tramando recreates the world of objects, intertwining and weaving recycled remnants of the textile industry.
7. Solar Fountain
Consider giving a Solar Fountain to anyone with a garden. With solar panels, the water is continuously recycled and stored in its own reservoir and it uses solar energy to power the pump and filter.
8. Buy A Tree!
The best gift you can buy is one for our planet. Why not give back by purchasing or donating a tree in someone's name?
9. Waterwise Garden & Software
Focusing on Xeriscaping and drought resistant plants, the Waterwise Garden & Software has over 550 color photos, showing each flower and mature plant looks like.
10. Twig Chairs
These Twig Chairs are handcrafted by previously disadvantaged South African artisans and are a beautiful addition to the yard. The company recycles wood from early 20th century structures because the timbers available from that period were some of the best the world has ever seen.
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During the holidays, one of the best gifts is giving back. Sometimes it's all about celebrating the true meaning of the season.
1. Wind Power Gift Cards
Offered in Whole Foods, Wind Power cards can be found hanging right at the register in increments of $5.00 and $15.00.
2. Project Red
Project Red is the brainchild of Bono and brings celebs together to support The Global Fund and the fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Think about offsetting all the carbon emissions that you use over the course of this season with TerraPass. Not only can you offset vehicle travel, but air travel and even the energy you use in your home.
eBay can be a great source for picking up recycled gifts and Missionfish has set up a process whereby you can donate a percentage of the sale you make through eBay to a worthy non-profit.
Big names like Amazon, Apple, Sony and Starbucks are helping to contribute to EcoMiles this season. Money is accumulated through every purchase that is made and then donated to a wide range of non-profits, selected by the consumer.
Purchase a gift card through EarthShare and help any one of their member organizations.
7. Grameen Surya Bijli Foundation
Thanks to the Grameen Surya Bijli Foundation (GSBF), rural villiages all over India once immobilized by darkness can now see the light. GSBF installed solar-powered LEDs in these poor, rural villages so children can see to study and adults don't have to do chores by the light of a cooking fire.
8. Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a widely respected, nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world. Originally conceived in the U.S. back in 1976, they now operate in 100 countries. (See how Ralph Lauren gave back in 2006.)
9. Green Dimes
'Tis the season for junk mail! For $3 a month, Green Dimes promises to regularly request that your name be removed from mailing lists, and to plant a tree in your name each month.
The National Resources Defense Council was out and about in 2006 from South by Southwest to Bonnaroo and even released a Shopper's Guide to Paper Products. They encourage us to Reduce, Reuse, Rethink.
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Here's our round-up of miscellaneous gifts that can be found on TreeHugger. Just because they didn't fit into a specific category it didn't mean we weren't going to include them!
1. Sting's Guitar
More than 70% of the wood utilized in the construction of each of these guitar models from Martin Guitar Company is harvested from forests independently certified by the Rainforest Alliance's "SmartWood" program. For your special person, this is truly a special gift.
2. Yoga Mat
3. Ceramic Coffee Mug
Has the person on your gift list still have yet to ditch the disposable coffee cup for a reusable mug? Pick one up for them and let them know it's to help save some trees.
4. Rod's Pawz
We couldn't let the season go by without mentioning a gift for your favorite pooch! Through the Rod's Pawz website, you can order organic dry ingredients that make biscuits and come in a burlap bag with a cute bone-shaped cookie cutter. Also check out the Only Natural Pet Store for great finds for dogs and cats.
5. Potato Chip Bag Purse
We've seen purses made from recycled wrappers before and in 2006 we introduced one made from recycled potato chip bags. Working with a Mexican charity dedicated to education on sustainable resources, they are made by hand by women's groups and prisoner support groups.
6. Bamboo Sheets & Accessories
7. Vacavaliente's Leather Gadgets
These cute animals from Vacavaliente, made from scrap leather, are a cool addition to the home or workspace. Each one has a different function with endless possibilities.
8. An Inconvenient Truth
If you know someone who has yet to see An Inconvenient Truth, this is the time to stuff their stocking with it. While you're at it, pick one up for your family too. Another movie we liked this year was Who Killed the Electric Car. Both are now available on DVD.
9. NEC Cell Phone
10. Computer Accessories & Electronics
Computer accessories and electronics are always popular gifts around the holidays. This year, consider some that are more eco-friendly, like the plant-based printer from Ricoh, a bamboo monitor and mouse or a bamboo television. (Didn't we tell you that bamboo was a trend in giving this year?)
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