Here are some ideas for last minute presents that are also gentle on the earth.
* A live plant or gift certificate to a garden center. Go "naked" on the wrapping and tuck the certificate into a pair of gardening gloves. Cute!
* Give the gift of food! Cookies, brownies, breads, muffins and candy are always welcome. 'Specially at my house!
* Family Movie Night! How about a Blockbuster gift card tucked into a basket with some microwave popcorn and a big box of Milk Duds? Or what about gift cards to your local theater? Those would also be very welcome at my house!
* LED nightlights! I LOVE mine. They are cool to the touch and only use about 25 cents a year in electricity. You can find them anywhere, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, even the grocery store. I got mine at IKEA.
* Wind-up radios and flashlights! Larry got me a wind-up radio a few years ago and it is great for emergencies. I used it during some bad weather once when my electricity went out. Things weren't so scary with it closeby.
* Soy candles! My favorite brand is Old Virginia, sold at Cracker Barrel. Soy candles burn cleaner, they produce a lot less soot and are eco-friendly because they don't contain petroleum. And they smell better, too!
* Or how about just your time? Just spending some time with the ones you love. Chances are that gift that you spent so much time planning and searching for and then buying will be at the back of their closet by the end of January and thus, beginning its eventual trek to a landfill. The time you spend with someone will stay with them forever.