by Jim Flowers
Thinking about green gifts for Christmas might bring up a lot of unfashionable images of thick wool sweaters and Wellington boots, but the fact is there’s a huge choice of interesting, inventive and fun green Christmas gifts if you give it a bit of thought.
Actually, I like a nice thick sweater to keep me warm in the winter; I’ve been getting one from my mother for years and long may it continue. That’s not really the point I’m trying to make here though. Not only are there plenty of interesting choices, but it must also depend on what you consider a green Christmas gift anyway.
You could say anything to do with the outdoors qualifies. If you inspire someone to grow their own vegetables by giving them seed and trowel, isn’t that a green gift? If you give a child a bicycle so they get exercise rather than sitting in front of the TV, I would say that qualifies. Actually, if you give an adult a bicycle so they don’t take the car everywhere, that certainly qualifies!
But in case you think I’m being a bit flippant here, let’s look at a few alternatives across different price ranges. I saw a clock the other day that was powered not by batteries or electricity but by water. The clock itself could be recycled at the end of its useful life. Since Trevor Bayliss brought us the wind-up radio a few years ago — intended for remote places in the world where there was no electricity — we now have numerous wind-up torches, lanterns, battery chargers, radios and combinations of those things. There are solar powered chargers for your phone, iPod, iPad, or other devices — that’s a green gift for Christmas that works hand-in-hand with modern technology.
For the kids there are toys made from recycled or recyclable materials. What about a worm farm? There are lots of things to attract wildlife into your garden or to encourage an interest in plants and animals — and they certainly aren’t dull, boring, or the sort of thing that’s played with until the batteries run out and are then forgotten.
For grownups, there is no end of Fair Trade food products. There are candles, soaps, and scents. There are subscriptions to events or wildlife organizations that people are into (or you think they ought to get into). There are solar garden lighting and power for water features. And then there are slightly off-beat things like newspaper presses — a cheap and simple gadget that compresses old newspapers into “bricks” that burn much better and much longer than the paper would on its own. The list goes on.
If you’re looking for green gifts for Christmas, you are spoiled for choice. There’s something for all ages and tastes and these days, thanks to the internet, they aren’t even difficult to find. Have a great Christmas and don’t forget to recycle the packaging afterward!