This Christmas why not surprise and delight a friend or a family member with a green gift. There are many types of environmentally friendly products that make great and affordable gifts. It is a commonly held fallacy that green gifts are expensive. Well this is simply not so. Products to conserve water, improve energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emissions are often not expensive. Many green alternatives to conventional products are nearly the same price as the environmentally unfriendly products they replace. Renewable resources are often reasonably priced because they grow back so quickly.

Below I have compiled a list of 5 great green gift ideas that you can buy for under $50 from good retail outlets both in town and on the internet.

1) Bamboo shades and blinds. Bamboo shades and blinds typically cost between $30 and $60 and are a great window treatment. Bamboo is the fastest growing renewable resource and has the added benefit of being anti-allergenic. This makes bamboo shades and blinds ideal for people who suffer from allergies and asthma. Bamboo blinds create a soothing interior light and help insulate a room. They also bring a touch of the Orient to a room.

2) Bamboo charcoal. Bamboo charcoal is a completely natural product that can be used to remove odors. You can buy cheap bamboo charcoal bags to deodorize fridges, bins and kitchens. Bamboo charcoal makes an original gift

3) Earthmate compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75% less electricity than standard incandescent light bulbs and last 13 times longer. Earthmate CFLs contain 75% less mercury than other CFLs

4) Maggie's Nuts are made from the dried fruit of the Chinese soapberry tree. This fruit contains saponin that is a natural cleaning agent. You simply put a couple of nuts in a wash bag and throw it in with a load of washing. Normal washing detergents do untold damage the environment and water supply.

5) There are a few good models of power monitor available for under $50. You simply plug it into a wall and then plug in an appliance. You input the utility rate and the monitor gives you a forecast in kilowatt-hours of how much electricity the device uses in a week, month and year. Analyzing your electricity consumption with a power monitor is a great way to help people to find ways to reduce their bills.

It is hoped that these 5 ideas have given you a new perspective about the possibility of going green this Christmas.