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The Ultimate Green Gift Guide

Want to find something glamorous and green for your eco-friendly BFF, parent, or pet? Get the scoop here.

The perfect gift can sometimes be a tough find. Will she like the color? Does he even like to read? And what size was her 5-year-old again? But whether it's a holiday, birthday, or “just because” occasion, it's important to consider a present that is eco-wonderful. Whether it's a locally crafted necklace or art sculpture made from reclaimed artifacts, a green gift ranks high on the unique and earth-friendly scale. Here are a few ideas for choosing a gift that will knock the made-from-recycled-materials socks off of the guy or gal who is lucky enough to do the unwrapping.

For BFFs
Snag a few bars of Shaman Organic Chocolate and help support three Huichol villages in Mexico. The chocolate is Fair Trade Certified and comes in delicious flavors, including Dark Chocolate with Green Tea & Ginger and Dark Chocolate Ruby Raspberry. The chocolate’s proceeds have included the first Huichol to college—a young woman who aspires to be a lawyer. Other projects include building schools and supplying beads so the Huichols can continue creating visionary artwork.

For Kids
The name says it all: Green Toys specializes in authentic, high-quality gadgets for kids—including baby's first “keys” and toy cars made from 100-percent recycled plastic milk jugs—that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can also bet your booty that these toys are free from harmful BPA, phthalates, PVC, or external coatings. Even the packaging is made from recycled materials and printed with soy inks! 

For Mom
Whether it’s her birthday or Mother’s Day, she deserves a little something special, right? We say give her the gift that every mom loves—a bag that can do it all. Try Rickshaw Bagworks for totes made from eco-friendly fibers, and a variety of fun colors and textures. We especially love the City Tote, a stylish bag that fits on-the-go essentials and even a small laptop. 

For the Fellas
Let's face it: even though you’re unlikely to convince him to indulge in a spa day, every man enjoys a solid shave every now and then. Pamper his face with some Fair Trade Organic Shaving Gel from Dr. Bronner's. The formula is available in yummy scents including tea tree, peppermint, lavender and lemongrass lime. 

For the Animal Lover
A painting of an elephant by an elephant—wait, huh? That's right! This 5x7 print was created after Hong, an 8-year-old female elephant, painted the original picture after undergoing a bit of artistic instruction in her Thailand home. All proceeds are donated to keep Asian elephants in their native habitats and take care of those in sanctuary.

For the New Homeowner 
Share a bit of peace, love, and harmony with Core Bamboo's Bamboo-Ceramic Zen Entertainment Set. The serving dish is not only chic and functional, but the perfect way to serve your favorite hummus recipe with crackers or fresh cut veggies. Bamboo is a 100-percent renewable resource and does not enlist extensive irrigation, pesticides, or fertilizer.

For Companion Animals
Pooches and kitties alike will love Olive’s environmentally friendly, ethically made, and all around awesome toys and goods. The store works to discover items from around the world that are green, safe, and often handmade, and deliver them to our favorite furry friends. Favorites include pillows with bold lettering that have removable and washable slipcovers; handmade chew toys that are designed to hold an empty plastic water bottle (dog stays busy plus you repurpose a plastic bottle); and adorable coats and sweaters made from sustainable materials. 

Caroline Shannon-Karasik (carolineshannon.com) is a freelance writer and healthy-living blogger in Pittsburgh, PA.

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