Earlier today on a round of errands, I noticed that Christmas was aggressively invading the inventory at my local CVS. Ugh. Then, as I walked along one of the main commercial thoroughfares in my area of Brooklyn, Court Street, I noticed that Main Street USA-esque holiday decorations were already hung and waiting patiently to be lit across intersections and on streetlamps. Double ugh. The holidays are officially upon us.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the holidays. But I always feel bombarded when they come. It’s like someone has flipped a magic switch and suddenly I’m overwhelmed by Maria Carey holiday songs and tourists in Santa hats.

Since I’m a bit of a holiday pre-planner, when late October hits I can’t stop thinking about gift giving. On a recent visit to the fabulous, nonprofit green pop-up shop, BoHo Bodega (pictured below), I picked up (for myself) a USB AA Double Battery Charger from Kikkerland (yes, I didn't own a battery charger since I don’t really use that many battery-powered things around the house these days aside from TV remotes).

This strikes me as the type of item that would make for a most excellent stocking-stuffer or what have you. Growing up, I used to get jumbo-sized packs of batteries in my Christmas stocking since I was into battery-powered gadgets and gizmos. Years later, a battery charger, not batteries, makes a whole lot more sense financially and environmentally. Kikkerland's USB charger is especially eco-forward since instead of powering up a separate charging device, you're consolidating your energy use by simply plugging a sleek little charger (it charges two AA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries) into the USB port of your laptop or desktop. The Kikkerland USB AA Double Battery Charger doesn't recharge at a rapid speed, so don't expect to look up from writing an email and find that your batteries have been fully charged. 

I admit, battery chargers don’t make for the most sexy gift items but this one (Energizer makes a similar, USB-based device) is quite unique. I'd recommend it for use in any battery-dependent household where a computer is frequently being used. 

Kikkerland USB AA Double Battery Charger @ Kikkerland Shop ($27)

BoHo Bodega photo: Amy Sarisky

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Charging ahead to the holidays
It's never too early (okay, sometimes it is) to start thinking of small but practical green holiday gift items like ... USB battery chargers.