With the holidays rapidly approaching once again, gift ideas have undoubtedly entered your mind at one point or another. Make this a meaningful holiday season by gifting your friends and family experiences they'll remember forever, or gifts that will last a lifetime.

Here are some at the top of my list:

For the Flea Market Futurist – EggDrop

Selling stuff you don't need any more is a good way to recycle/upcycle goods and materials that would otherwise end up in landfill. The free EggDrop iPhone and Android apps were developed to help buyers and sellers connect locally and make deals without the need for yard sales or conventional online advertising. Just snap a photo, set a price, and upload directly to the location-based EggDrop marketplace.

For the Backyard Farmer – Smart Gardener

Use this free online tool to plan, plant and maintain an organic home vegetable garden, with custom garden plans and "to do" lists based on climate, available space, and personal preferences.

For the DIY Surfer Dude – Grain Surfboards

Sure, you could just buy one of Grain's custom surfboards ready-made in Maine from locally grown, sustainable white cedar, but you'd be missing out on half the fun. Order a kit or book a Grain master class and the surfer on your gift list will get the satisfaction of carving the waves on a sleek and sexy ride of his or her own creation.

For the Student Activist & Short-Order Cook – Feel Good World

Members of this national youth movement aim to eradicate world hunger in our lifetime, one grilled cheese sandwich at a time. Not by delivering lunch to the hungry, but by running nonprofit college campus delis that funnel 100 percent of proceeds to international aid programs.

For the Savvy Explorers & Off-the-Grid Guides – Vayable

Launch your own specialty guide service or gain a distinctly local perspective on your next travel destination by registering with this international networking platform where travelers hook up with independent local guides who like to show off the best of their home turf.

For the Bay Area-Bound Biker – Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours

Whether the cyclist on your list is a Bay Area resident or just passing through, this home-grown and emissions-free tour service is a great way to explore the City by the Bay. Guided excursions ranging from three to six hours are priced from $65 to $110 person, quality loaner bikes included.

For the Lifelong Learner – P2PU

Who says you need an ivy-covered hall and a credentialed professor to expand your mind? Enrollment is free and open to all at this grassroots education project, which organizes peer-to-peer online educational opportunities and gives learners recognition for their achievements.

For the Modern-Day John Muir – AllTrails

This San Francisco startup is building a free interactive database for outdoor enthusiasts featuring Yelp-like user reviews of thousands of hiking trails in the United States and Canada, along with social networking tools for sharing advice and hooking up with other hikers. Free Android and iPhone apps available.

For the Horizontally Mobile – ZippGo

Anyone on your holiday list preparing to relocate? Consider giving the gift of a moving box rental plan from ZippGo, which delivers reusable plastic packing containers designed to divert disposable cardboard boxes from the waste stream.

For the Style-Conscious Apple Fan – Elvis & Kresse

This UK-based design firm creates eco-stylish bags and other personal accessories using various upcycled materials, including super-cool iPhone and MacBook cases made from decommissioned fire hoses, old coffee sacks, and reclaimed parachute silk.

For the Up-and-Coming Restaurateur – Guest Chef

Bay Area foodies who want to dip a toe into the restaurant business without risking a pile of money can sign up for a two-week stint at this new restaurant incubator, which offers temporary use of a fully equipped commercial kitchen and 20-seat dining room in North Oakland's popular Rockridge district. Participants pay nothing up front except the cost of ingredients, and the business takes a cut of the proceeds.

For the Gearhead Athlete – RunKeeper

Download the RunKeeper iPhone or Android app and your mobile device becomes a handy tool for tracking workouts and making your fitness program a more social experience. Also included: dedicated pages for organized foot races in more than 8,000 cities around the world.

For other great gift ideas this season, visit the Mesh Directory.

Eric Irvine


Eric Irvine

Program Manager at Lisa Gansky's Mesh Studios.