Its that time of year again. Christmas lists are handed out and you often find your self going from one side of town to the other looking for that perfect gift in just the right color, style, and price range. Not only are you spending precious time that could be spent with family and friends but you're also creating a bigger carbon footprint due to the increased travel during the holiday season. Luckily, in the twenty first century we have another option available when it comes to shopping for gifts. Online shopping. Online shopping not only lets you to stay in the comfort of your own home, but you can also do all your shopping at once reducing travel. Today there are countless websites to shop from. While doing some of my own shopping I've come across some great websites that not only make shopping easier but help the environment as well. Here are my favorites.
Carbonfund.org provides a tool allowing users to see how big their carbon footprint is. Carbonfund provides various packages in all price ranges for a gift donation to charity. 95% of every dollar is put towards offsetting your carbon footprint projects such as planting trees, supporting carbon reducing projects, and buying and retiring carbon reductions. When making a donation you receive a e-certificate with the name of the person who you are making a donation for. This is a great alternative to small stocking stuffers and gifts that would most likely end up in storage or worse on the side of the curb. This is also a great option if you're going to be traveling for the holidays, and you don't want to deal with getting gifts from one state to another without breaking.
Etsy is a diverse website that offers handmade items, many made from recycled and sustainable resources. This site provides items for men, woman, and kids. The website is also really organized making it easy to find specific gifts for pet lovers, techies, and DIYers which is my personal favorite. You can easily find everything and anything you need on the site while supporting handmade items from your community (yes, they even let you search for products from your local area). Etsy gives you the opportunity to give a one of a kind gift that you can't find in a department store.
Growing a Green Family is a great website that provides environmental friendly ideas year around allowing you and your family to live a green life. They have a great section providing over 30 homemade (and green) gifts. One of my favorites is how to make recycled crayons and give them as stocking stuffer. These gift ideas not only give you the chance to make something personal as a gift but they look like stuff I would actually buy at a store. Because the majority of the items you need to make these gifts are things laying around your home that you would probably throw away they let you spend less too.