Sustainable giving: who left the dogs out?

Last-minute Christmas gift-buying: think it’s a hassle?

You might assume so, especially if you’re looking for presents that are sustainable as well as enjoyable. The eco-Santas of the old days often faced a sort of Hobson’s choice between a hemp Santa sweater or hemp Santa socks – but things are changing.

These days, ‘green gifts’ are the gifts that keep on giving – and we’ve gone trawling the web to find some of the more intriguing items for you and your friends.

Inhabitat’s guide to the buying season is a good starting point for the sharp shopper, while the likes of the Huffington Post will assist you in finding that whiskey glass made of windscreen, plant pot made of 8-inch stiletto, and bracelet made from the debris of over-zealous DJs.

Here are some of our own favourites:

For the friend who likes to look like Kanye West via Daft Punk while simultaneously running and renewably charging their MP3, stop here.

For the sensitive, renewable-friendly gym bunny or muscle hound in your life, stretch that clicking finger and hit here. Actually, on closer inspection we’re not sure you can actually buy this one yet, but it might be one to long-list for 2011.  

For that friend with the slightly darker green shade of humour, why not give them a chance to make a big statement about sensible lighting in the home? (But maybe warn their kids first.)

And while we’re on the subject of kids – if you know one who already has everything, the chances are they don’t have a mid-century classic doll’s house with recessed LED lighting powered by working solar panels…  a snip at $329 (plus $219 if you want ‘classic contemporary’ furnishings). Microgeneration at its most micro.

After all that it would be a shame to leave Fido out of the festive fun…

And last, but by no means least – if you’re hitting the high street this week in pursuit of electrical items, and you want a gift that keeps on giving long after the third helping of Christmas Pud has settled, look out for that Energy Saving Trust Recommended label. We’ve identified the household appliances and gadgets that will use less energy – and cost less – to run.

Just call us Santa’s helpers.