With the holidays around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of gift ideas for your loved ones. And while the holiday season may look and feel a little different this year, it’s an important reminder that sometimes life’s best celebrations are our everyday ones. Given the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are trying to avoid malls. Yeah – online shopping is always available, but this year, I’m trying to avoid online shopping as much as possible to reduce carbon emissions.

So here’s a list of my top 6 not-so-average gift ideas that have a positive impact on the environment and will also bring a smile to your loved one’s face.

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    1. Support local businesses
      Local businesses are the heart of a city and really make a city feel like a vibrant community. But many small businesses like restaurants, boutique shops and gyms are being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, some even shutting their doors. The good news is many of these businesses are offering gift cards or virtual memberships to support them during this time.
    2. An annual bike share membership
      Transportation accounts for a huge proportion of Canada’s carbon pollution, as high as 35 per cent in Ontario and 25 per cent across the country. One of the most important changes we could all make is to drive less and walk, cycle or take public transit more.If you know someone who lives in a city with a bike share program, consider getting them an annual membership! It’s a great way to get them out of the house if they’re feeling the pandemic-blues of being cooped up in the house. It’s also a great way for people to try out cycling around town without having to invest in a bike of their own. At less than $100 (or less for shorter term plans), a bike share membership can be an affordable gift that keeps on giving.
    3. Zero-waste or toxic-free skincare kit
      Not everyone knows what steps to take to go zero-waste or toxic-free, so why not build them a starter kit?Some of my favourites for a zero-waste kit include: metal straws, beeswax food wraps, mesh produce bags, reusable water bottles, shampoos and detergents in refillable jars – all packaged in a cute reusable tote bag.

      For a toxic-free skincare kit, purchase products or makeup that don’t contain any of our Toxic Ten ingredients. Some of my favourite places to buy toxic-free products are Pure + Simple, Beautycounter and The Detox Market.

      Show your loved one the many ways they can avoid waste and toxics, I promise you, they’ll never want to go back.

    4. A smart thermostat
      With many of us spending more time at home during the pandemic, it’s important for our homes to be cozy. But home energy use is a major contributor to carbon emissions. If you find yourself constantly adjusting your thermostat, it’s probably costing you money too. This gift is ideal for homeowners, but can work for renters too if they can get permission from their landlord to install a new thermostat.Smart thermostats are clever devices that monitor and regulate the temperature in your home for you, saving money and energy in the process. There are many different varieties with fun features available ranging from less than $100 to over $300 with all the bells and whistles.
    5. Make your own gifts
      If you have the time, consider making your gifts! Some edible options include jams, chutneys, pickled veggies or cookies. These are perfect holiday treats, that are great for sharing with family and friends. You can also DIY things like bath bombs, candles and skincare products – just avoid adding glitter (as these microplastics collect in our oceans and lake) and toxics!
    6. Make a donation to a cause that matters to them
      Donations to charities under your loved one’s name can make meaningful and impactful gifts. Whether they’re interested in the environment, animal welfare, or supporting a local cause, donations share the joy of what their gift has helped achieve.

eco gift ideas wrapped pandemic

There you have it! My top 6 not-so-average eco-gift ideas – these really are the gifts that keep on giving, to your loved ones, to future generations, and to the health of the planet.

Check out my other blog on how to have an eco-friendly holiday season including tips on whether you should buy a real or fake Christmas tree!