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Five Sites for Green Holiday Gifts

By: Eviana Hartman
WashingtonPost.com

The Web, like everything else these days, is going green, which means there are more ways than ever to avoid the shopping crowds this holiday season. Here are five standout sites for planet-friendly gifts to please everyone on your list.

Etsy. Sort of like an Amazon.com for all things artisanal, this site offers made-with-love gems that you won't find at the mall, many fashioned from organic or recycled materials. Click on "Shop Local" to search for goods by artisans in this area, such as Rockville-based ChrisCreatures's adorable magnets made from felt scraps ($4 to $10) and Manassas-based OfNatureDesign's delicate rings made from guitar strings ($13).

Discovery Channel Store. The locally based media company's Internet shop has an "Eco-Friendly" section that's a gold mine for mindful children's gifts. Plan Toys, for example, makes chemical-free musical instruments and toys from rubberwood trees that have outlived their usefulness as latex producers ($17.99 to $139.99). The Discovery Paper Recycling Studio, for pressing scraps into stationery, would be fun for the young at heart ($19.96).

Gaiam. This holistic lifestyle emporium and media company (known for yoga videos and gear) sells some of the most innovative eco-gifts out there. The site's solar-powered accessories, such as a camera gear bag for $149, are functional rather than gimmicky. For the ultimate in eating locally, give a mushroom-growing kit, which allows your favorite gourmet to cultivate shiitake or pearl oyster mushrooms in his or her own kitchen ($39).

The Nature Conservancy. There's a lot to be said for giving stuff that isn't stuff. This Arlington-based nonprofit organization offers more than just water bottles and tote bags: With a donation starting at $25, you can choose a location and a cause to support in your loved one's name, whether it's protecting a coral reef in Palau or adopting an acre in the Appalachians.

Organic Bouquet. The bouquets, plants and wreaths on this site are certified organic, as is the tempting array of holiday wines, cheeses and other edible goodies. Plus, the company buys credits to offset its carbon emissions from shipping. Consider a peace-sign-shaped wreath made from certified organic pine from the Pacific Northwest for $64.95.



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Sustainable Flowers Make The Perfect Gift For All Occasions

Organic Bouquet is the largest online provider of eco-friendly and organic floral gifts. All of our flowers are grown in a manner that is not only environmentally friendly but also provides outstanding resources for farm workers and artisans. Organic Bouquet partners with select flower farms in California, Ecuador and Colombia. All of our flower farms follow stringent growing practices which are monitored by multiple certification agencies and associations. When you purchase flowers from Organic Bouquet, you are helping to improve the life of a flower farm worker, their family and the local floral community.

Our eco-friendly flower arrangements include roses, calla lilies, tulips, gerbera daisies, hyacinths, sunflowers, alstromeria lilies and blue iris. In addition to a complete line of flower arrangements, we offer gift baskets, fruit baskets, nut baskets, gourmet chocolates, gourmet cookies, plants and  wreaths. All of these products are certified eco-friendly and/or provide for environmental benefits through our participation in Carbon Offset programs.

Whatever the occasion, our flowers make the perfect gift- birthday celebration flowers, anniversary flowers, holiday flowers, or floral arrangements simply to say thank you. Sending flowers from Organic Bouquet says that you care not only about the person receiving the flowers, but also about the environment. All of our gift items are shipped nationwide to all 50 states. So whether you need to send flowers to Florida, New York, California, or Colorado, we can guarantee overnight delivery to ensure they arrive fresh and ready to put a smile on someone’s face.

Whether you are purchasing online, or through one of our customer service specialists, you can be assured you are ordering the freshest quality of flowers and environmentally friendly gifts.