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There are lots of horrible gifts on the market. Most of them are functionless, lack thought or sense and waste the earth's valuable resources. It can be a nightmare of consumerism. However, you want to buy gifts for your loved ones. That's a fun and important part of the holidays.

Here are several things to look for in an eco-friendly gift:

1. Sustainability: Don't buy cheap gifts that will dissolve in a rain storm. Buy things that will last. Make your Christmas gifts matter. I would rather not receive a gift then receive something that is cheap, gaudy and functionless.

2. Function: A little piece of glass that has the word friendship engraved into it is lovely, but it sure is pointless. If you were really a friend, you would have bought me a sweatshirt or something I could use. Cash is a better gift than something like this.

3. Charity: If you are going to spend fifty dollars on some novelty item, like a mounted fish that sings, you might as well give that money to someone who can use it. Please, donate to charity instead of buying something like this. It may not be the "hit" around the office, but if a plastic singing fish impresses the people in your office, you may want to reconsider your line of work.

4. Thoughtfulness: A prefabricated keepsake is an oxymoron. There is no thought in an object like that. Make the person a card or knit them a sweater or just drive them to the doctor when they catch their winter cold. That's what they'll remember when they think about you.

5. Practicality: Above all, be practical. A fancy electronic gift may seem cool, but a lot of this stuff is just goofy. Movie glasses and robot alarm clocks and all that stuff might be an expensive and cool gift, but those things are impractical and will end up in the garage or in the landfill. Remember, what we manufacture on this planet matters. We have to live with the industrial waste of every mass-produced gadget. Please, don't encourage companies to make such junk.