By popular demand (or..not) I'm blogging my green & easy low budget Christmas (or anytime) wish list.
Cards - preferably made from recycled paper - are great. If your can't think of what to say, why not just write one thing you like about me? A friend of mine did that once and it was such a nice card she didn't need to get me anything else.
Donations are great. You can give any amount and there are charities or groups out there to support any interest. I've donated to a poor school so they could buy books in honor of my dad, and through Oxfam I've donated money so a family could get mosquito nets in honor of my brother.
Time is free, but it can be the hardest to give. I'd love it if my mom and grandmother could come down for the holidays, and I wouldn't need anything else. (ok, they'd have to buy a ticket)
Gift Certificates are usually pretty easy (although unfortunately they often come on unbiodegradable plastic) though a bit impersonal. Spa gift certificates are a no-brainer for women. (and the Little Green Spa in Orlando is green & great!) The first time I went to Ethos was because of a gift certificate - and luckily theirs (and many other small businesses) are paper.
If you make a mean pesto, or delicious cookies, edible gifts can be cheap to make and are well received.
As I try to green up my house and life I am trying to cut down on the amount of things I own that are neither biodegradable nor recyclable. Plus, living in a tiny apartment, I am trying to have as little "stuff" as possible.
As to wrapping, personally I go with "free". I have a little box where I keep bows and ribbons and tissue paper etc from gifts I receive, and I use them along with inside out grocery bags to wrap gifts. This year I've wrapped a few things in strictly tissue paper. Since its so light it only needs one piece of tape - or no tape and a piece of ribbon to hold it together. I think the result is attractive, and it makes me happy knowing I've saved something from the trash. When I did not have any old ribbon to reuse, I've used plain hemp twine, or coloured raffia.
Also, if you are shipping your gifts, consider eco-friendly mailers. Typical manila envelopes are not recyclable (so I've read) due to the high ink content, but at most office stores (Staples, Target..) you can find recycled/recyclable mailers which use paper padding instead of bubbles, and are made from post consumer content recycled materials. I forgot to mention it in the "comments" section at amazon.com, and the last book I ordered came in a nasty plastic mailer. Why?!
Now, if you have a bigger budget, I'd like a larger kitchen.