Photo via massless @ flickr
Do you have some friends and family who like to get down and dirty with their gifts? You know the ones: they always have a hammer or some fabric at hand and are ready to try doing anything themselves. For these types, environmental do-gooding comes naturally: they save appliances from landfills by fixing them or converting them, turn fashion cast-offs into whole new looks and make their own everything. If these are the people on your list for gifts this year, get your thinking cap on and really challenge their creativity. Your gifts will be greener, less costly, and -- for the DIYer -- lots more fun.
Photo via Eco-Me
Do It Yourself Body and Bath Oils
Body and bath oils always top holiday lists because the pleasure of relaxation, pampering, and aromatherapy embodies the essence of gift giving. Now you can give double the pleasure to the DIY addict in your life, with the Eco-Me Body Kit. The kit includes natural essential oils of bergamot, lavender, and lime for mixing into scrubs, powders, tonics and oils which can be applied using the natural loofah sponge, velvet body puff and hand towel that comes with the kit. Eco-Me offers kits for the home, baby, and pets as well--for a fraction of the price you'd pay with those weekly trips to the Bath&Body; Works. (Eco-Me, $36)
Photo via Black & Decker
Black & Decker Power Monitor
For the hands-on guy or gal about the house, the new Black and Decker Power Monitor offers double the satisfaction: tracking real-time energy usage with the monitor gives even your biggest handyman/gadget a thrill, while the results let you see where you can trim spending on wasted electricity. (Black & Decker,, $99)
Photo via Blue Sky Alpacas
Natural Knitting Kit
For a gift that gives back, give the crafty person in your life a pair of bamboo knitting needles and some natural fiber yarn. In the cold season, natural bamboo or wooden needles -- which do not conduct cold into the fingers -- are a delight; you can't go wrong with addi needles, made in Germany and marketed in the US and Canada exclusively by Skacel. For materials, give The Toft Alpaca Shop (UK) or Blue Sky Alpacas (US/Canada) a try. Sew some supplies, reap a sweater!
(Blue Sky Alpaca Cardigan Kit, $110.25)