The 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

If ever there was a year for sustainable, economical gifts with an emphasis on the home-made (and therefore extra-personalized) — 1932, we mean 2008, is it.

By Plenty staff

You’re done!

For your ironic hipster friend:
• Ditto about the towels.
• Find a set of silverware at an estate sale and voila, s/he’ll never use plastic cutlery again

For the jaded college kid in your life:
• An affordable, green, charitable laptop. Nicholas Negroponte of MIT’s Media Lab hit on the idea several years ago of designing an Internet-enabled computer that’s cheap and durable enough to be handed out to every child on earth. The result is the One Laptop Per Child hand-cranked computer. For $399, you can give one to a child in the developing world, plus one as a gift for someone you know (or yourself, as far as that goes). The machine can work without electricity and is smash-resistant and waterproof, so it’s sure to survive dorm life. It also advertises its owner as someone concerned about environmental issues and about kids not lucky enough to be going to college in the US.  
• An iTunes gift card has zero packaging and zero waste.

For nearly newborns and new parents:
• An original, limited-edition print from New Editions. These are bright, colorful works by internationally-exhibited contemporary artists. Each is whimsical enough for a child’s room, yet sophisticated enough to display at any age. The prints are made to last and be handed down and enjoyed for generations — truly a gift for a lifetime. And the company is committed to sustainable enterprise, using folios made from FSC-certified paper that’s Green-e certified as zero carbon. And all mailing and other materials the company uses are 35 percent to 100 percent recycled or FSC-certified or both.

For kids ages 0-6:
• An original sock puppet, or perhaps even a whole sock puppet theater customized to the kid's favorite play/story/book/fairy tale. Instructions here

For kids ages 6-16:
• Teach them there’s more to the holidays than getting stuff and make a donation in their name to one of the charities listed below. Or, if that’s going to eternally exile you to lame-uncle-land, an iTunes gift card.

For your boss:
• Collect subscription inserts from magazines (you know, the really annoying things that are always falling on the floor) and cut them into uniform sizes to make cards for an address book or rolodex. You can find rolodex bases on eBay and cut the cards to fit.
• For the shutterbug or world traveler, get the Gorilla pod. It's a super-flexible tripod that stands on or wraps itself around virtually anything solid and will last till the ice caps freeze again. You can order one without packaging to save five bucks and some plastic.
• A card from supporting a project in the developing world — a very humanitarian kind of gift that has a way of totally disarming total assholes.

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The greenest of the green: find *locally* made green gifts

New online directory launches, emphasizes local, green goods: sets the Green Gold Standard!

In a world flush with “green” products, this new online marketplace will define the green gold standard – companies that make products sustainably, responsibly and locally – which all add up to ecobly.

Just in time for holiday shoppers, who are being more careful with their money than ever this year, the site will have tons of ideas for people who want to shop close to home for green toys, jewelry, home décor, garden products and accessories!

The local food movement has revolutionized the idea of ‘buy local.’ We all know that communities are healthier when we invest in our farmers, now it’s time to look at all the other products in our home – can we support our furniture makers? Our green jewelry suppliers?

Ecobly companies are masters of ingenuity and wizards of waste recycling. They are on the cutting edge of green manufacturing – there’s something ecobly made for almost every need!

It's great that you are providing ideas for green and do it yourself gifts, but on the 'For Your Sister, Girlfriend, or Wife:' options, I am surprised that you would insinuate that it is the woman who is the cook, and/or that one should give women kitchen related gifts. I would say your ideals are a little out dated, as about as many men as women cook these days, and as you look toward change in the modern world, I would hope that you would start to look toward change in more than just green products and politics. Try looking toward political changes at home too.


The website address for the "greenest of the green" site where you can find locally made green gifts is

Try a Hundred-Mile holiday - buy your gifts from local producers.

Enjoy Shopping!

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