Green Gifts for the Holidays

Doing your shopping for the holidays this year is a great time to check out the array of environmentally friendly products available. The selection seems to grow each year, as more people discover these high-quality, meaningful gifts.

Green gifts of food and beverages

These are traditional holiday gifts, and shoppers have many choices in coffees, teas and chocolates. Wine and beer are available as well, should those be on your list. There are many companies to choose from, both online and in stores. Some of your favorite brands, such as Starbucks, Bigelow and Endangered Species Chocolate, make the grade and are available at most supermarkets.

Eco-friendly jewelry

Choose gifts from fair trade retailer Ten Thousand Villages, or artists who use recycled material. In the hands of skilled craftspeople, even the most mundane materials are turned into dramatic pieces. Or choose a piece of fair trade jewelry. You'll help keep local traditions alive, support a community and promote the use of sustainably mined metals.

Organic clothing and household items

A number of companies now offer clothing and household linens in fabrics that are sustainably produced. Look for organic cotton and natural dyes. Bamboo is another sustainable fiber and is often blended with organic cotton.

Sustainably produced toys

What would holidays be without toys? And many companies are working hard to produce toys that are kid-safe, environmentally safe and responsible. One, Green Toys, offers a full line of toys made from recycled plastic free of Bisphenol A, known as BPA, and other harmful chemicals.

Go local to go green

Check out local craftspeople and artists. Buying locally produced items promotes sustainability in several ways. Less fuel is required to transport the item from producer to consumer. Locally produced items require less packaging to protect them in transit, so ultimately less packaging is produced and then discarded.

Local artists offer gift items in almost any medium: pottery, glass, textiles and wood, so the choices are terrific. Local craftspeople also make candles, bath soaps and lotions. Don't overlook the food items produced nearby, especially local wines, jams and jellies.

Wrap it up green

Pay for your purchases using a credit card that gives a percentage of your purchase to an environmental organization. Many environmental groups have an affiliation with major credit card companies.

Finally, wrap your gift in a sustainable, earth-friendly way. Choose a gift bag that can be recycled through many occasions, or a reusable shopping bag, such as those offered by Sierra Club or other nonprofits.

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From stylish and trendy, to tasty and organic, to useful and eco-friendly, sustainable, green gift ideas are becoming increasingly fashionable. An eco-friendly present shows your gift recipient that you care about them and the environment.

To avoid scams and inconvenient fees or regulations during the holidays, buyers should shop wisely for prepaid holiday gift cards. Know the tips for making a smart purchase, and gift recipients will have the chance to buy themselves just what they want most.

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