• Tell Your Friends

Now that we’ve stuffed our bellies with turkey and the fridge with leftovers, time to focus on gift-giving season. Rather than trekking from mall to mall this Black Friday, do your shopping online — it’ll save you time, stress and energy (both yours and your car’s).

To inspire you, here are a few basic eco- and budget-friendly gifts that are perfect for friends, party hosts or even the office Secret Santa:


Recycled Bottle Platter, $18
Wine and cheese lovers will swoon for these platters, made from 100 percent recycled glass bottles. Whether sporting a selection of organic cheese and crackers or sliced fruits and vegetables, they’re perfect for a dinner party — perhaps even a holiday party if you ask the hostess to open her gift early. Add tea lights to them to dress up a sideboard or give some spoons a rest in the kitchen. Choose from cobalt blue or green; spreader included.

Eggplant Basil Planter, $12
Give the gift of fresh herbs this winter with this cheeky planter. Great dressing for a kitchen windowsill or a sunny desktop, the unglazed ceramic egg is filled with black sand soil and basil seeds. To start growing: gently tap with a spoon to crack open the egg, water the soil-and-seed mixture, and place it in the sun.

Bike Chain Bottle Opener, $10
Each month Graham Bergh and his team of crafty Oregon artisans collect 3,000 pounds of used bike parts from shops around the country. Bits that still might work go to a local non-profit group that teaches kids bicycle repair and maintenance, but the ones that are beyond repair turn into cool things such as this bike chain bottle opener — a quirky addition to any avid cyclist’s dry bar.


Plastic Bag Placemat, $18

Artisans in Benin (that’s in Western African) pluck plastic bags from the waste stream and hand-crochet them into these vibrant, circular placemats. Top one with a bamboo bowl (also under $20) filled with organic apples — voila, a cheerful eco-tabletopper!

Recycled Tree Ornaments, $0.99-$4.99

One clever eBay seller is transforming old soda cans — Coke, Sprite and Pepsi specifically — into small aluminum ornaments. They are perfect hostess gifts, stocking stuffers or small tokens for any soda-loving friends, but if your giftee prefers a more sedate tree, consider these simple bamboo ornaments ($10 for a set of four) instead.

Extra econo-tip: Whether shopping online or braving the crowded stores, check out this year’s Black Friday deals, including free shipping, one-day-only sales and even those much-coveted “door buster” items.

Plus, check out these other green gifts for the home, garden and kitchen.

Have you found any other cheap-but-chic home gifts? Share your comments below.

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