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Eco Gifts

A Compost bin – It’s a gift that gives year after year, can save money buying bagged compost and it can give a lot of pleasure. There are lots of different sizes and styles of compost bin, you can also make your own. Dummies.com has a guide to the different styles of bin available, there is other advice online and you can ask friends for advice too. If you’re planning to buy a compost bin for someone, see if you can buy one for a lower price using the national Get Composting website or try Freecycle, Freegle or ebay for even more of a bargain.

Wormeries – Great for composting your food and giving you very nutrient rich compost and liquid fertiliser. For someone who has been composting for years this is a whole new experience and a bit of an adventure. Also good for small gardens that don’t produce green waste but need some compost for food grown in pots on patios etc as the liquid fertiliser is great for growing healthy plants. Wormeries are available through the Get Composting website in some areas, or search online.

Seeds and a growing plan – For someone who wants to start growing their own but isn’t sure where to start this could be a great gift to get them started and help build their confidence. Using your knowledge and expertise, or that of other friends and family you could put together a timetable, planting schedule and troubleshooting instructions to help someone grow their own next year.

  • There are some rather gorgeous and fascinating food storage containers and jars available in lots of shapes, sizes and colours to go with every kitchen. Storing food can keep it fresh for weeks longer.

  • Kitchen scales for a gadget fan, find appropriate portion sizes to avoid throwing away extra. They come in all sorts of designs and some are very hi-tech.

Re-use

Whether its things around your home being used again, giving someone the ability to do something again and again or finding a great object someone else doesn’t want but you know someone who’ll love it.

Buying second-hand – If it’s been a while since you had a browse in a charity shop you may find yourself surprised at the range of items you could buy and you donate to charity too.

Gift cards – As well as having no packaging, gift cards are great to re-use again and again. Check your purse/wallet to see if you’ve got any left from last year, get them re-charged with an amount of your choice and give them to someone who’ll shop there. If you’ve not got any used ones, buy a new one and suggest to the person you give it to that they could re-charge it and give it on next year.

Repair

Re-kindle love for something by giving it a new lease of life.

Most of us have something at home that we started doing and didn’t quite round to finishing, something we loved that has pieces missing or something we all mean to do but can’t find the time. Use your Christmas gift to give a helping hand, you could…

  • Get a bicycle repaired and you could get it re-painted too

  • Re-tune the piano

  • Service the sewing machine

  • Order the replacement part for the computer console or laptop

  • Buy or make alternate playing pieces for Monopoly so you can play it again

Recycled

It’s amazing what can be done with your rubbish and rubbish from lots of other places. There are purses made from juice cartons, clocks made from yoghurt pots, glasses and vases from recycled glass, bags from fire hoses and almost anything else you can think of. There’s something for every budget.

Give a different type of card

  • Use the alphabet magnets on the fridge to say your Mothers’ Day message

  • Get a personalised card with pictures of you and your mother together, so it can be framed

  • If you have young children, get them to draw a picture or make a card for Mothers’ Day

  • Call your mother and say “Happy Mothers’ Day” – especially if you won’t get around to seeing her

  • Send a e-card, text or email to your mother

  • If you’ve found the perfect card, make sure it gets recycled if it ever becomes unwanted

Don’t say it with flowers

  • Buy a house plant instead – they’ll stay alive for ages and are a great reminder of you!

  • Buy a fruit or a vegetable plant for the garden if your mother is green fingered

  • If you do want to buy flowers, ask for them to be wrapped in paper which can be recycled. Then, when the flowers die, put them in your compost bin

  • Buy a recycled vase for your flowers, there are lots of them out there, so browse a search engine for a unique gift

Give a gift from the heart

  • Let your mother have a lie in

  • Make her a breakfast, or invite her round for lunch or dinner – visit Love Food Hate Waste for recipes to use up the food in the house

  • Treat your mother by booking her a beauty treatment, or take her somewhere she has been wanting to go for a while

  • Spend time with her doing things that she likes to do

  • Make it a day free of chores for her!

  • Clean and tidy the house

  • If she needs something doing in the house, e.g. cleaning the windows or clearing the gutters, why not do it for her?

  • Repair or fix any items that your mother loves – you could replace their watch battery, or get a new heel or sole put on those special shoes they always love to wear

  • Arrange a surprise family visit (but bring the food and drink with you, so she doesn’t end up cooking!)

  • Buy your mother a membership to something they love (such as membership to DVD rentals) or a course that they want to go on (i.e. a soft-furnishings making course)

  • Buy some pre-loved jewellery – second-hand jewellery can have a lot of character and charm and be in great condition. You can buy it from specialist stores or charity shops.