More Holiday Gift Ideas, Part 2: Energy-Saving Alternatives

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I recently wrote a post on our top energy-efficient gift ideas  for the season from our BrightenSM Online Energy Store, a TXU Energy online savings solution. But combining the fact that it’s the holidays, my obsession with gadgets and my passion for shopping, I’ve put together a second list of cool gifts that you might consider for that “hard-to-buy-for” friend.

One of my favorite Web sites is They have a collection of strange and unusual gifts that make for good browsing. I reached out to Shane at ThinkGeek and he’s graciously offered some photos of my favorite picks on the site! These products aren’t necessarily rated as energy-efficient by ENERGY STAR®, but can serve as alternatives to other higher consumption electronics – plus they’re  just plain fun!

Here are my top picks of cool gifts from their Web site. (Click on the photos to go to their site.)


ThinkGeek Bluetooth Retro Handset
If you have your computer on all day for work like I do, you might want to consider using Google Voice and dialing from your computer rather than plugging in an extra phone into the wall.
Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard for iPad® or iPhone®
Fingers too big for your iPhone? Instead of turning on your computer which uses a lot more energy, you can hook up this Bluetooth virtual keyboard and type right on your table


MicroVision SHOWWX+ HDMI Laser Pico Projector
You no longer have to turn (on?off?) your media room equipment  to watch TV shows or movies. You can now run it all off your iPhone®, iPad® or iPod®.
Credit Card Light Bulb                  
I have a “small” purse – in fact, it’s a zippered bag with a handle that holds all my cards and a couple of folded bills. I don’t have room to carry a flashlight around and now I don’t have to. This one fits neatly among my cards!


SunArt Paper Kit
When we talk about solar energy, it doesn’t always have to be about electricity. These cards change color when set out in the sun and make for a great creative adventure for the arts & crafts hobbyist.
Photosynthesis UV-Sensitive Shirt
Similar to the SunArt Paper Kit, this hypercolor shirt takes us back to the 90’s and beyond. It’s not heat activated so you won’t get ‘coloration’ in embarrassing areas. Rather, the tree pattern in the center of the shirt only appears when it’s exposed to UV-light from the sun.



Staple Free Stapler
I’ll admit, this one’s not directly tied to energy, but it’s green and eliminates the need for metal staples (which eliminates any energy used to make them!). I got one last year and love it. Plus, it saves me the hassle of removing staples when I’m shredding pages down the road.
Coffee Cup Power Inverter  
Living in DFW, my commute to work can be up to an hour long in traffic. That drive is just enough time to charge up my portable electronics like cell phones and laptops. Now if I can only convince my carpool buddy to let me take over his car’s only A/C outlet…

Piggyback Solar Powered Gadgetbag
Going camping but can’t leave your gadgets at home? You’ll never be left out in the cold (or at least out of charge) with this solar powered backpack. Plus, it’s big enough to fit your iPad®.