The best eco gifts for the holiday

The Environmental Working Group has just put out the list of items it's including in a holiday "gift box" -- items hand-picked by the staff.

It was mostly food-oriented, which I found really interesting. It certainly speaks to how big a food footprint most of us have, from the actual food consumed to the utensils we use to eat it to the napkins we use during the whole process.

It made me think about what would be high on my list of eco-gifts -- if I were giving them. My family already knows my passion, and my gifts to them are supposedly about their passions. But anyway.....

Here are some thoughts:

-- A huge pack of paper towels and toilet paper, made from recycled paper. Maybe by the time they finish it all, they'll realize it's just as good as the stuff made from trees.

-- An LED light bulb. This is the kind of thing that, when confronted with options at the light bulb aisle, a lot of people opt for the cheap option up front, ignoring the savings they'll get later. So give your giftee a boost into this energy-saving realm.

-- Failing that, a cheaper option is to give someone an LED nightlight. (IF they use nightlights. Obviously, you don't want it just sitting in a drawer.) These are cheap and work spectacularly.

-- Bird-friendly coffee. See my recent column.

-- A reusable shopping bag that's durable and washable.

-- Don't want something so overtly green? Find a local crafter and buy from him or her. This year, I'm giving a lot of soap from a maker who lives five miles away.

-- For a little kid, a magnifying glass with which to go inspect the natural world.

-- For older kids who complain about the thermostat being too low: A funky sweater and cool-looking thick socks.

I'm sure there are more good ones. I'll add as I think of them. I hope you'll add your own ideas in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, here's the EWG list:

:: "Weelicious Cookbook: 140 Fast, Fresh and Easy Recipes. One Family, One Meal."
:: EWG's "A Year of Healthy Living" booklet - 12 tips to help you green each month in 2013
:: A 4-pack of Klean Kanteen's stainless steel pint glasses
:: ChicoBag's travel bag - made just for EWG!
:: Core Bamboo's kitchen tongs
:: Two ECO LunchBox cloth napkins
:: To-Go Ware RePEaT utensil set
:: Earthbound Farm's organic granola
:: Seeds of Change certified organic seeds
:: EWG shopping guides
:: More than $70 of savings in coupons from companies like Organic Valley, Whole Foods and more