1. Shop at maker markets for bird feeders, birdhouses, bat houses, bug houses, and bee houses. You get the idea; attracting these creatures to your garden is essential to support our ecosystem, good for the environment and soothing to your soul.
2. Add a smart Wi-Fi thermostat with room sensors to your list. Efforts to heat and cool our homes produce the largest amount of household greenhouse gas emissions and come with costs that account for almost half your energy bill each year! Simple actions like properly using a programmable thermostat, along with changing your air filters and having your heating and cooling equipment maintained annually (by a licensed contractor), can save energy while contributing to your efforts to protect the environment. In fact, reducing your heating by 1⁰C can reduce your energy consumption by 8 percent.
3. Choose the gift of a light timer. While it may not be the sexiest thing to unwrap on Christmas morning, the person who has everything will appreciate this hardware-store gadget that will help save energy (and money!) when they hook it up to their indoor and outdoor lights.
4. Give a gift that gives back in the form of a charity donation in the recipient’s name. Select a charity that makes a real impact locally or globally and explain to the recipient why you chose to give that gift in their honour and how they can learn about the charity that has a meaningful place in your heart.
5. Impress with clean air houseplants. Furnishings, upholstery, synthetic building materials, and cleaning products in homes and offices can emit a variety of toxic compounds. Air quality indoors can be improved by purifying the air with houseplants that absorb carbon dioxide, such as Dracaena, Ficus, peace lily, bamboo palm and more.
6. Shop for flower, vegetable and herb seeds. Some of the most incredible varieties of flowers and heirloom veggies are grown from seed. Browse garden centres, seed catalogues and seed exchanges to gift these gems to your favourite green thumb (who will probably gift you back some of the bounties they have grown and harvested).
7. A bike or a scooter provides a clean energy source of transportation, good exercise and a vehicle for fun family adventures. Consider investing in a model that will last for years and be handed down (or traded in) to new owners as it gets outgrown.
8. Reusable items like coffee mugs, shopping bags and cool lunch containers and bags are gifts we all enjoy and will help to keep plastics out of our landfills and waterways.
9. Gift a beautiful kitchen green waste bin or a home-sized vermi composter. Because food scraps and yard waste make up 20-30 percent of what is currently going to landfills, this gift keeps giving. And, for every ton of food scraps separated from the trash before it gets to the landfill, the atmosphere gets saved from six tons of carbon dioxide that would have been released.
Jennifer Reynolds, our Editor-in-Chief, is a long-time authority in gardening, do-it-yourself projects, urban sustainability, parenting, placemaking and community matters. Her features and columns have been published in Canadian Living, Canadian Family, Gardening Life, House & Home, Globe & Mail, National Post, Toronto Star & more. Plus, her designs and expertise have been featured on dozens of HGTV, W Network and CTV shows.