Skip to main content
The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!

'Green' gifts top Christmas lists

By Camille Feanny

Organic candy and other treats can be ordered online.
Organic candy and other treats can be ordered online.
Environmental Issues
Home Depot Incorporated
Natural resources

CNN -- Christmas Eve is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. As many last-minute shoppers scramble to the stores, some people are opting for a more "colorful" choice this holiday season. They're buying green gifts.

From appliances to automobiles and computers to clothing, cool gifts with an eco-twist are a growing trend, experts say.

They cite high energy costs, record gas prices and scarce natural resources as growing proof that an eco-gift is a natural choice.

Thousands of items on the market that offer a green alternative to conventional products.

"You can get a green version of almost anything," says Jeanie Pyun, editor of Organic Style Magazineexternal link. "You can get gifts for the home, beauty products, clothing for kids and adults. And green gifts are really great because they are gifts that give back to either the environment, or communities, or people, or causes."

Natural selections

For a walk on the wild side -- environment groups such as Defenders of Wildlifeexternal link ("Adopt-An-Animal") and the Nature Conservancyexternal link ("Adopt-An-Acre") have programs that help conserve endangered species and forests around the world.

Businesses like American Forest Historic Tree Companyexternal link and Trees For Lifeexternal link give people the opportunity to help save a natural habitat overseas by planting a tree closer to home. And part of the proceeds from your purchase helps fund tree-planting programs in countries around the world.

For those on the run -- companies such as Eclipse Solar Gearexternal link and Voltaic Systemsexternal link -- have brought a bright new idea to light. Their solar backpacks let you store energy to recharge cell phones, PDAs and other electronics without missing a step.

Let's not forget the food lover on your list. "You can get pre-made or custom-made gift baskets that contain a combination of gourmet and organic items," says Cyd Crouse of Whole Foods.

She says there's a surprising selection of green gift items on the market. And your neighborhood farmer's market, local grocers like Whole Foodsexternal link, and even online vendors such as Eco Expressexternal link now feature full lines of organic treats, wines and beauty products that can satisfy even your most finicky friend or family member.

Pampered pets can also get in on the green action. From organic cotton beds, to leashes, treats, and cool hemp collars, e-stores like Abundant Earthexternal link give animal lovers a mountain of eco-friendly gift options.

Green cover

How about an organic outfit? From outdoor apparel stores like Patagoniaexternal link to shoe brands like Nikeexternal link, many businesses are now seeing the green benefits of offering customers eco-based items.

Many clothing companies have complete lines that feature organic wool, cotton, hemp, and other environmentally friendly products.

"We have jackets that are made completely out of recycled materials inside and out," says Hal Griffin of Patagonia. "All cotton items in the store are made out of organic cotton." And Patagonia also gives 1 percent of its profit to help preserve the environment.

Starting something new

Know someone with a need for speed? Many car companies now offer energy-saving selections like hybrid (gas and electric), hydrogen fuel cell, or natural gas vehicles that feature similar style and comfort as standard models -- with the added bonus of amazing fuel economy.

And even with the advanced pollution controls, many vehicles are priced in range of their gas-drinking cousins -- without sacrificing performance.

Some popular models include the Honda Insightexternal link, Toyota Priusexternal link and the Ford Escape Hybrid SUVexternal link. And in 2005, Lexus revs up the competition into high gear by introducing the first Luxury Hybrid SUV. The Lexus RX 400hexternal link is set to launch April 15.

There are smaller pollution-free choices for quick in-town trips. The Zappy Smart Cars and Electric Scootersexternal link provide a quiet, comfortable, clean-commute option. Or you can ride around at 14 mph on the Voy battery-powered scooter featured at Targetexternal link. Proceeds from each purchase goes toward supporting K-12 schools across the United States.

Powerful choices

For the high-tech toy fan, e-stores like PhysLink.comexternal link offer cool science-based experiment kits geared to inspire curious kids of all ages.

PhysLink CEO Anton Skorucak says the company's products "provide a fun way to learn about energy and the environment" -- from fuel cell model cars, solar robotic vehicles and other alternative energy science projects.

On the home front -- the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says consumers who switched to more efficient Energy Starexternal link appliances and electronics saved $9 billion in utility costs in 2004.

Vendors like Best Buyexternal link and the Home Depotexternal link say consumer demand is driving their bid to offer more natural selections, and that a growing population is choosing to spend their greenbacks on green gifts.

"Energy Star compliant is actually a selling point with many customers who are coming in more educated," says Travis Salley of Best Buy.

Dave White, a home energy expert with Home Depot, agrees.

"There's a move towards the greener products, because consumers are demanding it," he says. "So we're seeing a lot more sales on the greener items."

So if you are still looking for that special item, magazines such as Organic Styleexternal link, Tree Hugger.comexternal link, and The Green Guideexternal link offer lots of unique green gift ideas for any occasion.

Most of the online vendors interviewed by CNN said they can still ship gifts to reach recipients in time for Christmas.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Burgers, lattes and CD burners
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.