I'm more cranky than usual and already regarding red and green as the world's worst pairing since Jon and Kate.

It must be Christmas.

That gets the bah humbug out of the way - if only for the moment - so here are the first of our 2009 green (the red will be your bank balance) ideas for the upcoming holiday.  Today's selections are for the sports and outdoor lover in your life.

New Balance Trail 20 running shoes are the first green shoes in NB's line.  The shoe is designed to reduce waste in manufacturing and the materials themselves are largely recycled.  The outsole is rice husk rubber, the insert and upper are both natural and recycled.  All synthetics on the shoe are made from recycled materials and the adhesives are water-based.  The shoe is light weight (8.6 oz.) and available in both men's and women's styles and sizes.  They are currently at a reduced price on the manufacturer's website (www.newbalance.com) for $63.99.


Even on the beach or the hiking trail, it is impossible to separate an American from his iPhone.  And heaven forbid the battery should run out.  A new Solar Skin battery charger juices up an iPhone from the sun while keeping the screen and the USB port free and the speakers audible.  The solar panels output 5.5V at 100 mAh in full sun.  Two hours of direct exposure to sunlight will provide 30 to 60 minutes of talk time depending on the network.  The skin is available in several colors.  $70 at www.NovoThink.com.

Whether you are looking for a ball for a rising basketball start or for dad to throw around the backyard with the kids, Respect Fair Trade Sports has a great selection; soccer balls, basketballs, footballs, even those saucer-shaped-things-you-throw for-your-dog-with-the registered-trademark-name-that-we-can't-print-here.  The equipment is all certified green and Fair Trade.  The balls are vegan rubber and union made both in the U.S. and abroad and all after-tax profits are given to children's charities.  The saucers are $15 and the balls are in the $30-$40 range.  http://retail.fairtradesports.amazonwebstore.com.

Walking the dog is a healthy pastime for man and beast so either of these gifts can be a two-fer, for man and his or best friend.  Dog collars and leashes made from recycled bicycle tubes are soft on the hands and the neck, dry quickly, and are less likely to get stinky than leather or nylon.  Cycle Dog, the manufacturer, claims that there are over 60 million bicycles riders - that's a lot of flat tires.  Leash and collar are $25.99 each and are available at a store with the neatest name ever www.TwoKnobbyTires.com.

Two Knobby Tires also stocks a backpack made of recycled PET plastic from drinking bottles.  The pack is 17.5" x 20" when packed and turns into its own 6" x 7.5" pouch when empty.  It has two adjustable straps, a flexible bottle pocket, and is made of 89% recycled materials.  $29.99.

My favorite green gift for the sports fan is the Recycled Fish SAFE Angling Kit.  Fishing equipment is lethal for many aquatic animals.  Sea turtles, dolphin, and fish swallow loose hooks and die or live for years with pain result.  Lead weights are toxic to waterfowl which frequently swallow them; likewise the rubber and plastic fake lures.  And those plastic bobbers - freed from a line the bob on for decades.

The SAFE Angling Kit features an assortment of lures made of biodegradable and digestible protein.  The bobbers are wood and sinkers are non-toxic tin rather than lead.  The two different kids of hooks are specially made for catch and release - snagging the fish on the outside of the mouth - and the kits come with instructions for defanging the barbs.  The turtles won't be completely safe but there is a better chance that the hook can pass through harmlessly.

The hook, including a tackle box to keep it all organized, is $15 at www.recycledfish.org.