Top Ten Ways To Get Your Gift-Giving Even Greener

tree planting photo

Tree Planting. Image credit: MD DNR Celebrating Arbor Day

Ahhh…the holidays. You want to join in the holiday tradition of exchanging gifts, but you also want to stay true to your green sensibilities. Here are my ten top gift ideas. Help me out by adding your own ideas as comments to this post so I get a hand with my own holiday shopping.

1. Don't give a "thing" at all. Rather, give a gift certificate for an experience (a massage, movie tickets, a pound of coffee, lunch in a nice restaurant), a service you'll provide (a cake on demand, several hours of baby-sitting, volunteer time for a friend's favorite charity), or a membership in an environmental organization or other group that shares your values.

2. Contribute to a social or environmental program in your friend's name: adopt a baby seal, plant redwood trees, or - our favorite - Sponsor A Wild Place like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Giant Sequoia, or the Arctic. You'll be contributing to a good cause, and in our case, your friend will receive some gift, like the polar bear pictured here - the same kind of bear that Steven Colbert brought to life by having it ask questions of our executive director, Carl Pope, when he appeared on the Colbert Report.3. A gift that keeps on giving: Foodies and green thumbs alike love this herb-garden kit with organic seeds and a biodegradable pot.

4. Help folks say no to paper or plastic. It seems people can never enough reusable shopping bags, and these days there are plenty of styles to choose from. We like Olive Smart, b. happybags, Blue Lotus,,, Reiter8, or

5. Give a do-it-yourself gift: There are some great ideas at,,,,,

6. For those on your list who are Treehuggers-to-be: There are some great starter kits at Go Green Gift and GreenSender,

7. Make sure their kids are green! Shop for children's clothing, toys, and supplies at Organic Keiki, Greennest, Kee-Ka, and Little Twig.

8. Buy your friend's pet a gift. Fido will drool his appreciation for a fabric a fabric chew toy made of recycled soda bottles (pictured) and rest easily on an organic, hemp, or recycled doggie bed.

9. Eliminate unwanted gifts -- let your friends and family know what you'd
like by starting an Alternative Gift Registry.

10. Still stumped? Keep searching by checking out these gift guides from Treehugger, Care2, E Magazine, Green Promise, Plenty, Salon, Shift Your Gift, Sustainable Travel International, and VegNews.

You can make it a green holiday season, the hardest part is just taking that first step and deciding to do so in the first place!

stuffed polar bear photo

You can get this polar bear puppet -- the same kind as the one
that posed questions to Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope on the
"Colbert Report" -- when you contribute to our Sponsor a Wild Place program.

See the TreeHugger 2008 Gift Guide as well.

2008 Gift Guide