There are gifts for every budget, listed in increasing order by price. The list will be updated as I find more unique, thoughtful gifts, so please check back.
NOTE: Many of these gifts are available at Amazon.com. An Amazon Prime membership will get you free 2-day shipping, plus unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and free eBooks. Our Prime membership saves us tons of money all year, but particularly during the holidays when we do more online shopping. Plus, 2-day shipping is awesome and convenient. Get a FREE 30-day Amazon Prime trial now!
Instead of sweating over a physical gift, give the gift of experience — at a steep discount. Give a night out at a restaurant, sports or concert tickets, an art class or one of a million other options. Sites like Groupon and Living Social are famous for deals of up to 75% off on local businesses. Save a ton of money and give a gift they will never forget — sans packaging and wasteful materials. (aff)
Does the teen on your list own an iPhone 4? Chances are, they’d be really happy to receive a cool, unique case for it. These laser-engraved, tattoo-like bamboo cases by Sugoi are both — cool and unique, that is. Ten designs are available including an octopus, a wave and a skateboard cityscape. Available for iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5S. (aff)
If your teen daughter asking to wear makeup? Is she already wearing it? In either case, you’ll want her to be careful about what she puts on her face. Nvey Eco is among the leading eco-friendly makeup brands on the market. She’ll love the fact that she’s getting to be a little more grown up (within limits, of course), and you’ll love the fact that you can choose which colors and styles she wears. (aff)
Video games are a fact of life for most teens, and there’s nothing green about them. Enter GameFly, which is like NetFlix for video games. For a monthly fee, your kid will be able to choose 1-2 video games at a time to play to their heart’s content and return once finished. If they’re a MOBA gamer, you can give them a League of Legends smurf account from unrankedsmurfs.com. Why is it green? You’ll cut back the waste and overconsumption inherent in buying video games, and you’re reducing demand for new products. You can also give your teen a gaming headset below $100 so that they have a better gaming experience. (aff)
Is the teen on your list always running late? Take away all excuses by giving them a great watch. These eco-friendly watches are lead and phthalate free and feature 100% organic cotton straps, biodegradable cases and buckles, bamboo face plates, a glass cover rather than plastic and a mercury-free battery. Further, 80% of the packaging is made of post-consumer recycled materials. Also available in adult sizes. (aff)
You know that color she’s been begging to paint her room? Give her a gallon and let her do it. Seriously. Paint is temporary, so you can always change it later. In the meantime, she’ll feel like a grownup because you’re letting her paint her own room. Look for a zero- or low-VOC paint brand. My favorites are Glidden Brilliance (Walmart) and Olympic (Lowe’s).
There’s probably a teen on your list who will ask for a pair of Beats by Dre headphones. Offer up this sustainable, studio-quality alternative. He’ll love these earbuds and headphones for their performance, but they’re also made from a variety of eco-friendly materials, including FSC-certified wood and recycled, recyclable plastic and aluminum. They are packaged in recycled cardboard and come in an organic cotton bag, and there’s the added bonus that anything bearing the Marley names comes with an instant cool factor. (aff)
Does she treat her guitar like an extra appendage? Then she’ll love this affordable, handmade guitar string ring. Artist Christopher Stiles sources the recycled, sometimes broken guitar strings from music stores and guitar shops around his California home, which he twists into attractive bows tipped with sterling silver-plated beads.(aff)
You may have noticed that fedoras are seriously in style these days, whether you’re male or female. Livity Outernational has put a sustainable spin on an old classic, making their hats from renewable materials like organic cotton, hemp, raffia and even recycled plastic bottles. Plus, they’re available in some great colors and patterns, so they can really show their personality. (aff)
Green living doesn’t have to come with dowdy clothes. Give them one of these tees and show them you can live green AND still look fly! The Eat Local and natural hair themed t-shirts are especially popular. Live Differently. Dress Differently. Disclosure: This is the t-shirt company I started with my husband. (aff)
Let’s face it: Teenagers care about how they look. It can be hard to keep up with what’s in their closet, so why not take an interest by contributing to it with clothes so cool they can’t resist? Reuse jeans are fashionable and fit well, but they’re also made of 70-80% recycled denim. They believe that environmentalism can coexist with fashion, and based on these styles, they’re right.
Most teen girls (and some guys) love making their room look great and would jump at the chance to change it. Give them high-quality organic bedding from Amy Butler to get their creative juices flowing, and offer to help rearrange the furniture. (aff)
Do the teens on your list love where they’re from? Give them a chance to show their state pride with these gorgeous necklaces from Kris Nations. Each state pendant is cut from sheets of recycled metal, and they are available in sterling silver or 14k gold. (aff)
Every teenager needs a great speaker for their MP3 player. The Chant portable audio system is just cool enough to keep them happy. All House of Marley products are made from a variety of eco-friendly materials, including FSC-certified wood and recycled, recyclable plastic and aluminum. They are packaged in recycled cardboard, and the headphones come in an organic cotton reusable bag.
As a little girl, I was nothing if not a bookworm, and there are several kids in my family for whom I can say the same. Even if you know a kid who’s not an avid reader, but you want to encourage their love of the written word, a Kindle is a great gift. Thanks to technological advances, there are several options ranging in price from relatively affordable to less so, from basic to color with a touch screen. You can decide what you’re willing to spend. (aff)
Your teen probably has several gadgets running at any given time. Cell phone, MP3 player, tablet, e-Book Reader, laptop…you get the idea. Help them stay charged with a solar powered backpack. They vary in price and charging power, but it will give you peace of mind to know that they’ll no longer be able to say they didn’t call home because their cell phone was dead. And if you’re shopping for a tech-savvy teen, SelectedBest has some reviews of great gadgets, including 3d printers, to help you find some ideas. (aff)
It’s not hard to find a cool-looking skateboard these days, but it’s much harder to find one with true eco credentials. These green beauties from Arbor go the extra mile. They are made of bamboo, sustainably-harvested birch ply, recycled glass and plastic, reclaimed wood and water-based finishes. You can’t beat that with a stick. (aff)