Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Green Gifts for the Holiday

By Tanis Roelofs


Green gifts can often be intangible presents that deliver green goodness long after the holidays and will not end up as clutter in your closet. 
·       Donate time and money to a charity in honor of the gift recipient such as a gift to World Wildlife Federation or Sierra Club.
·       Buy carbon offsets in the recipient’s name with TerraPass or similar company.  Along with cutting your own carbon emissions and fuel bills you can help your friends and family offset theirs.
·       Give a national park pass or a membership to the Dallas Arboretum or aquarium.
·       Give a gift certificate for a pedicure, massage, or other spa services.
·       Give a gift certificate to a restaurant that uses locally grown foods.
·       Wrap your gifts Japanese style in fabric which can be reused next year. Tie with ribbon or bandanas which also can be reused.

Stocking Stuffers for Adults
·       Energy-saving light bulbs
·       DVD’s such as “An Inconvenient Truth”, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”  “Food, Inc.” and “Kilowatt Ours”

Carry Bags and Jewelry
·       Give a gift of reusable canvas or cloth bags to take to the grocery store and an attractive designer looking bag for shopping mall. This will prevent billions of plastic bags from ending up in landfills.
·       Green Karat Jewelry Company curtails destructive mining practices by using recycled gold and other precious metals.  It uses only synthetic diamonds and seeks out ecologically responsible metal refiners.
·       Vintage and antique jewelry is available at a variety of stores and estate sales across the country. A Google search provides a long list of online sources.

Gardeners, Hikers, Bird Watchers and Bicyclists
·       Gardening tools, binoculars, bicycle accessories and portable solar battery packs.  Encourage friends and family to be more eco-friendly by buying a pair of walking shoes and a pedometer to keep them motivated.
·       Sports lovers would love tickets to an upcoming game.


No child’s stocking or Hanukkah gift would be complete without chocolate and organic is better for the environment.  Mass-produced cacao beans are typically grown with heavy use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on clear-cut forestland.  Organic beans are cultivated without the use of chemicals, and shade-grown beans help preserve the forest canopy that shelters migratory birds and butterflies. Some resources for organic chocolate are:
·       Thompson Candy’s – organic collection includes panda bears.
·       Chinaberry –holiday-themed organic chocolate.
·       Dagoba Chocolate – produced from organic beans grown in Latin America
·       Green & Black’s – gourmet chocolates made from organically grown cacao beans.

Expand a child’s mind instead of their toy collection with books and board games.
·       Instill the three R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle) early and have fun while doing it with Recycled Crafts Box by Laura C. Martin.  Available in bookstores everywhere for $10.95 or less.
·       Dr. Seuss’s rhyming classic The Lorax spins an unforgettable tale.  It is a whimsical way to introduce complex environmental ideas to young children.
·       Groundhog’s Garden and The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle both are excellent books about growing one’s garden and the intricate workings of an ecosystem.
·       Keep Cool: Gambling with the Climate! was developed by two scientists as an educational tool to convey the risks of global warming and the benefits of international cooperation.  The game can be ordered at 323-525-1948.
·       National Parks Monopoly provides plenty of educational trivia about Yosemite, Yellowstone and 20 other U.S. park jewels.  The game can be purchased through

Finally, start your own holiday on the green way by decking the halls and boughs with the latest in energy-saving light:  LED string lights.  They use much less electricity and last longer than conventional ones.

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