Happy holidays, everyone!

No matter what holidays you observe in December, chances are you are getting gifts for someone. Yes, okay, that's a little crude—there's a whole lot more to any of the holidays than gifts—but chances are, you got something, or got something for someone. And some of those somethings probably need batteries.

Back when I was much younger, batteries were one of the crucial elements of Christmas. We'd get a ton of toys, and then someone would have to have the foresight to buy a bunch of batteries. And while my family is blessed with someone who plans so thoroughly that we had a mighty stockpile of every type of battery on hand at any time, I had friends who had Christmas Day scrambles for batteries.

So, well, let's not scramble this year. And, while we're at it, why don't we plan a little in advance and consider whether rechargeable batteries are an option?

ENERGY STAR® has a list of what kind of products are certified, and they include a whole range of things, from products that have built-in rechargeable batteries to chargers for actual batteries (such as the AA kind).

So if you buy something that's going to go through a lot of batteries, you might want to look into buying some rechargeable batteries and an ENERGY STAR charger for them. There's a more efficient option than just buying a 16-pack of AAs and tossing them out in a month, so it's worth looking into!

Elizabeth Spencer is a communicator at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which assists EERE in providing technical content for many of its Web sites.