5 holiday tech gifts that just might save the planet

Another holiday gift-giving frenzy is almost upon us. It's that special time, when all of your careful planning and shopping coverts — with seasonal alchemy — into smiles, squeals of joy and piles of discarded wrapping paper and boxes.

But did you remember to buy something for your mother? No, not the one that makes the best mac-'n'-cheese in the world. We're talking Mother Earth.

Click Continue to check out 5 gifts that give back to Gaia this holiday season.

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1. TisBest Charity Gift Cards

Gift cards continue to be a big holiday winner, and a great energy saver since it keeps you from going back to the mall to return your aunt's idea of "what kids like these days." TisBest goes a step further, providing a charity card with a stored dollar amount that lets the recipient pick the charity.

Choose from over 250 national charities to donate to via the TisBest website, as well as many more local charities. The cards come in six different designs, all made from recycled materials, or you can skip that step and email your loved one a virtual TisBest card.

2. Brando Workshop's Bamboo Keyboard and Mouse

One big eco-problem with gadgets is all that hard plastic that makes up the bulk of the cases for most home electronics. Brando Workshop solves the problem by using bamboo for its green keyboard and mouse, an easy-to-grow wood that can be easily recycled. Or even composted, depending on where you live.

The 106-key USB keyboard and optical scroll-wheel mouse works with most PCs, and sells as a set for $52, with free worldwide shipping til December 31. It makes for a great conversation-piece and romantic fireplace kindling for recovering workaholics in a pinch, too.

3. Ponoko's Prime Account

With websites like Etsy inspiring people to buy, give and make their own gifts this year, Ponoko goes a step further and lets your intended giftee design and manufacture the next hot gift we'll all be giving this time next year.

At $39 a month, Ponoko's Prime Account lets you design your own product, or edit and mashup product plans they have available to create something completely original, and then get it made in your own personal factory, usually by local businesses.

An account gives you access to free advice on how to create your own product plan or to download existing product plans, free instant online quotes to make product plans and secure online storage, all with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

4. NovoThink's Surge Solar Recharger

For that special someone who loves their IPod Touch or their iPhone and the planet, NovoThink's Surge lets them keep their favorite gadget juiced up with the power of the sun, all without looking too nerdy.

The Surge comes in 4 colors and sports an ergonomic design with a soft-touch, non-slip finish. At its core is an integrated rechargeable 3.7V lithium-ion polymer battery that offers 120% capacity of typical iPod touch, with LED indicators to show you how much energy is left.

The curve-hugging design allows full access to touch screen, and the USB connection lets you to charge or sync with iTunes without ever having to take your iPhone or Touch out of the Surge. Available now at $69.95.

Que.jpg 5. Plastic Logic's QUE e-reader

As seen in a previous list, this new entry into the e-reader category is sleeker and thinner other e-readers out there — about the thickness of an 8.5" x 11" pad of paper — but you may ask "why is the Que green?" If you've got a newspaper devotee on your gift list, or even one of those persistent Luddites who need to print every email and PDF attachment they get, this sexy beast might get them to break the habit.

A subscription to a 7-day-a-week newspaper consumes 700 lbs. of paper annually, not to mention the ink, the delivery trucks and so on. Get your news on an e-reader and you're doing your local landfill a solid.

No pricing yet, but the Que will debut at this year's big Consumer Electronics Show in January, with delivery set for early 2010. So you'll need to gift-wrap a raincheck for now, though there's always the Kindle or the Nook.

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Got the world all saved? Then check out one of our other gift guides, part of 12 Days of Gadgets here on DVICE:

Day One: 7 gadget gifts that will never go out of style
Day Two: 6 tech gifts billionaires are giving each other this year
Day Three: Giving a Kindle? Check out these 8 other e-readers first
Day Four: 8 offensive gadget gifts for the frenemies in your life
Day Five: 6 absurd gadget gifts your girlfriend will dump you over
Day Six: 5 classic sci-fi gadgets guaranteed to please your geekiest beloved
Day Seven: The DVICE guide to buying an HDTV in the off season
Day Eight: 7 awesome tech toys you can't buy in America
Day Nine: 7 gifts steampunks are giving each other this year
Day Ten: 6 gifts for if we lived in the retro tomorrow of yesterday
Day Eleven: 7 tech gifts you'll have to wait until next year to buy
Day Twelve: 5 holiday tech gifts that just might save the planet