6+ Eco-Friendly Holiday Gifts

by heather

7637037Can you believe that the holidays are only eight weeks away? It seems like once Halloween hits, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and then the mid-winter holidays are there.

Yowza.

I thought I’d start a little early this year on my top eco-friendly gifts list. Why? Well first off, most people budget for the holidays. So if you see something you’d like to get for someone you love, you can save up for it.

Another reason is that I’m just really excited to share some of these things with you. I didn’t want to wait.

If you’d like to see last year’s list, “Eco-Friendly Gifts For Under $40“, you can click here.

How These Gifts Are Sorted

This year I decided to expand my list somewhat. In this post I’m going to focus on eco-friendly gifts, as well as artistic or handmade gifts.  In my follow up post later this week, I’m going to focus on frugal gifts, or gifts that you can make at home yourself for next to nothing.

Post-Publication Addition: Here’s the link for The Master List of Homemade Holiday Gifts, as promised!

So, let’s jump in!

Eco-Friendly Gifts

045d828fd7a0145f6d370110l1. Kill-A-Watt

I’m pretty sure I put the Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor on last year’s list, but there’s a good reason why I’m putting it on this year’s list as well. I’ve got one of these little things, and it’s so darn handy I can’t imagine not having one.

This little device not only helps keep me aware of how much electricity I’m using, but that awareness has helped me reduce my usage and make smarter decisions. And when I finally do start work on our off-grid home, it’s going to be an essential tool in helping me decide what appliances and electronics devices I can keep, and which ones have to go.

What does it do? Well, the Kill A Watt tells you exactly how much energy everything in your house (that plugs in) is using.

For instance, if you want to know just how much electricity you use every time you vacuum the floor, the Kill A Watt will tell you. And that pot of coffee? Same thing.

Like I said, using this gadget is endlessly fun and educational. I love mine! And the best news? They’re only $20.

The Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor can be bought on Amazon if you’re interested in checking it out.

smart-strip-lcg4-energy-saving-power-strip-with-autoswitching-technology-and-faxmodem-surge-protection2. The Smart Strip

Ok, I don’t have one of these, but I sure do want one.

The Smart Strip Energy Saving Power Strip helps you save energy by automatically stopping phantom power. You know, when your TV and DVD player keeps sucking down power even when they’re turned off.

Some reviewers on Amazon have reported saving $89/year on their energy bill with each strip. Wow.

I know that giving someone a power strip as a holiday gift might not be super jolly or romantic. But, it will definitely help reduce their energy use, and save them money in the process.

These strips work best in areas where there are several electronic devices plugged in. Like, your TV, DVD, cable box, and stereo system. Or, a home office where there’s a computer, printer, and perhaps some speakers plugged in.

So, what does a Smart Strip Energy Saving Power Strip cost? Around $30 on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy ReusableBags.com

Image courtesy ReusableBags.com

3. Reusable Organic Cotton Produce Bags

I have three of these babies, and I love them so, so much.

These organic cotton produce bags are meant for one thing: reducing the use of plastic produce bags at the grocery store. But an added benefit is that once you bring these bags home, they actually help your leafy vegetables stay fresher longer (because they don’t trap moisture like the plastic bags do).

The great thing about these bags is that they a) last forever, b) reduce our use of plastic and c) don’t cost a lot.

Each organic cotton bag is $3.95 at ReusableBags.com. The regular cotton bags run $2.55 each.

Artistic/Socially Responsible/Handmade Gifts

As consumers we can go down to the local Target to buy a gift. That’s an option.

OR, we could choose to support independents artists, socially-responsible companies, or people simply making cool, handmade stuff.

Me? I’ll opt for local, artistic, and responsible every time. It just feels good.

Image courtesy Twine.com
Image courtesy Twine.com

1. Hand-Embroidered Belts From Peru

Yes, my heart is lusting after these super-cool belts. Can’t you just see them with a pair of faded jeans and a summery t-shirt? It may be almost snowing outside as I write this, but I think of June and barefeet when I see these belts.

These embroidered, handmade belts are made in a woman’s co-op in Peru. They’re sold by Twine.com, and are $65.

Want to know what else is really cool? Each one is completely unique. No two belts look alike. And, they come in two sizes.

Want to see them for yourself? You can click here to find out more.

Jose Pulido
Jose Pulido

2. Calaveras Limited Edition Gocco Serigraph

I’m a huge fan of Spanish and Mexican art. To me, it’s so full of life and color!

This amazing print (and a lot more like it) are made by artist Jose Pulido, and sold in his Etsy shop.

Jose’s prints are usually 5×7, and they’re printed on rag paper, which is great for framing.

And the best part? Not only are you supporting an independent artist by buying his work, but you’re also saving a bundle.

Each print is only $10.

No, that’s not a typo. I said $10. (I’ve already bought three of his pieces!). Spend another $10 on a frame and you’ve got a completely unique, completely cool gift. For $20.

Thank you, Jose Pulido, for giving us amazing art at a price we can actually afford. You rock.

If you want to see everything in his Etsy shop, you can click here.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy SeaFindDesigns

Image courtesy SeaFindDesigns

3. Sea Glass Necklace

I just love these necklaces.

This artist, who runs SeaFindDesigns on Etsy,  lives on the Northeast coast and is an avid beachcomber. Every piece of sea glass she uses is glass she’s found herself. So, she’s taking glass that would other lie on the beach, and turning it into something beautiful for us to wear.

I just love that.

The necklace that’s pictured is $25, but she has a really amazing variety of designs to choose from. All of them are beautiful, and completely unique.

Want to see more? You can click here to go right to her Etsy shop.

Want More?

Want some more ideas for eco-friendly, artistic gifts? Here you go!

Courtesy GeekGear

Courtesy GeekGear

This cool Sun/Moon nightlight is made from almost all recycled parts. It’s sold by GeekGear, on Etsy, and is $16.99.

Image courtesy The Rainforest Site
Image courtesy The Rainforest Site

This recycled wallet is made out of old inner tubes. It’s sold on The Rainforest Site, and is made with Fair Trade Labor in El Salvador. $19.95

Image courtesy NanaBrown

Image courtesy NanaBrown

These reusable sandwich bags are made by NanaBrown on Etsy, and for $10 you get two handmade bags.

Image courtesy EcoArtware.com

Image courtesy EcoArtware.com

This recycled vase is made from old inner tubes. It’s $25, and sold at Eco-Artware.com.

The Grand Finale…

Image courtesy KnitsCrochetAndMoreil_fullxfull100030287Image courtesy KnitsCrochetAndMore

Ok, if you’re a Twilight fan then you know exactly when Bella wore these fabulous mittens in the movie!

KnitsCrochetAndMore, a knitter in Farmington Hills, MI has exactly copied the design from Twilight and produced a super cozy pair of mittens. Each pair of mittens is handmade by her, and you can see them on her Etsy shop. $35

I have to tell you that yes, I have a pair. And yes, they are exactly like the ones Bella wore in the movie. My old mittens were super raggedy and I bought them for a treat. Worth every penny, and I got to support  a Michigan artist.

Now, she sells out of these super fast (it took me three tries before I snagged a pair) so if you want to gift them to someone you should start now. Again, she hand makes these, and with New Moon coming out in a few weeks I’m sure she’s going to be swamped.

There are eco-friendly products for all sorts of things so I’m sure you can find a gift based on a lot of different interests. For example, if you know an avid surfer who lives near the beach where its warm, you might want to check out the Envirosurfer Online Surf Shop for gift ideas.

What other eco-friendly holiday gifts can you come up with?

{ 3 trackbacks }

Want a Green Xmas? You Should Probably Start Now | Strollerderby
November 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm
Simple Living News Update: Week of Nov 2
November 9, 2009 at 9:07 am
The Master List of Homemade Holiday Gifts | The Greenest Dollar
November 10, 2009 at 3:41 pm

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

heidi November 4, 2009 at 10:04 pm

It’s not etsy, but the gear is vegan – http://www.shophumanitaire.com/ – and one of my college friends is the brother of the brains behind it =) Love the t-shirts WAY too much 😉

Neil November 5, 2009 at 7:07 am

Hi

I really like the electrical monitoring/energy saving gadgets. A good practical gift for me (I can’t see my wife being pleased with receiving them!).

I’m not sure about the mittens – my daughter loves Twilight but I’m nit sure I want to encourage her to talk about it any more!

heather November 9, 2009 at 3:32 pm

@Heidi- Thanks so much for that link; I’ll definitely check them out!

@Neil- You’ll have to drop your wife a *hint hint* when the holidays get closer. Perhaps email her this article? 🙂

heather November 9, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Ooh, Heidi, I just checked out the site and you’re right: the t-shirts are WAY cool. Thanks for the link!

heidi November 9, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Heather, they’re also super responsive if you ever have questions or comments about products. Definitely a company that hears feedback =) /blatant promotion (wish I could do PR for them in exchange for shirts!)

heather November 10, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Heidi,

You could do promotion! You get put in charge of their social networking, creating buzz and spreading the gospel of their cool company, in exchange for clothing. 🙂 You never know, they might go for it!

heidi November 10, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Being half a country away does bad things for “check out the store for new……” type promos though =( Ah well, I push it when I can 😉

Nicole November 12, 2009 at 11:36 am

Lovely eco-gifts feature!
So nice to see my sandwich bags included
Thank you

Helen August 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I’m seriously eyeing that Smart Strip, my power seems to go out every time I blow dry my hair because I neglect to unplug the electronics I’m not using at the time! Have you ever heard of seed wrapping paper? A number of companies now sell biodegradable gift wrapping embedded with seeds that can be planted directly into the ground for a truly “green” fair. Thanks for the great list!

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