Your Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide 2023

Tree Canada

Showing how much you care while minimizing your environmental impact is a tough balancing act!  

This year we asked Tree Canada staff for their sustainable gift recommendations, and they came up with a lot of great options! From education to self-care to fun and practical, we have a variety of ideas to treat your loved ones this holiday season. 

A Good Read 

There’s nothing like cozying up with a good book on a chilly winter evening. The following books are sure to excite anyone’s inner conservationist: 

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben 

Originally published in 2015, this has become a must-read for any nature-lover. Based on science but written for the public, this book explains the lifecycle of trees and how they have social networks and are connected as families to help protect and nurture each other.  

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold 

A classic conservation book that describes environmental changes from a seasonal perspective. This collection of essays is deeply personal and combines natural history and philosophy to advocate for a responsible relationship between humans and the land they live on. 

Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy 

A great gift for someone with a front and/or back yard looking to make a positive impact on the local environment. The book provides simple ways to support conservation that will help the reader take tangible action. 

You may also consider the author’s first book, Bringing Home Nature, which discusses the connection between healthy ecosystems and human well-being. 

Man with glasses looking through books on sale

Support Indigenous-owned Businesses 

Sustainability is not just about the impact your choices have on nature and the planet. It’s about the impact on humans and the wider economy. Indigenous peoples have been historically excluded from the Canadian economy, and supporting Indigenous-owned businesses is a small step towards supporting economic reconciliation. Here are some ideas recommended by our staff: 

Plant Trees 

You can’t go wrong with planting a tree! Tree Canada has some simple ways to gift green this season and help grow better places to live:  

  • Make a special donation on behalf of your loved ones and plant a tree in their name. 
  • Organize a celebration planting! They’re a great way to bring everyone together for a group tree planting activity and leave a lasting positive social and environmental impact in your community. 
  • If you’re a landowner looking to do something special this season, you can donate land for tree planting. 
Hands holding heart shaped leaf

Adopt an Animal 

The animal lovers in your life will definitely appreciate a gift like this. By symbolically adopting an animal in need or a member of a species at risk, you’re helping to ensure their care!  

A Little Something from the Heart 

Sometimes, personal gifts that take time and effort or have a lot of thought put into them are the way to go. Here are some simple but meaningful ideas: 

  • Bake a yummy dessert using local, in season ingredients. 
  • Gift one of your favourite reads. You can make plans to discuss the book afterwards over a nice cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. 
  • Arrange to do an activity together, whether it’s treating them to dinner or going for a winter walk among the trees. 
  • Start a photo album of your best memories together. You can keep it digital with a fun slideshow! 
  • Send them a thoughtful handwritten letter. 
  • Make them a personal coupon book/card for simple things they can ask you to do for them or with them throughout the year. 
  • Create it! If you knit, crochet, or cross-stitch, your next project could be their next favourite thing! 
Children baking

Make It Reusable 

There are so many reusable items out there that can help your loved ones live a bit more sustainably. If they have an item they dispose of frequently, get them something high-quality and long-lasting. A few ideas: 

  • Beeswax paper 
  • Reusable straws 
  • Reusable cotton pads 
  • Tote bags  
  • Steel water bottle 
  • Glass Tupperware 

Something Non-material 

As we’ve seen, not all gifts have to be wrapped! An electronic gift card, voucher or subscription makes a great gift, especially if it’s something they wouldn’t normally treat themselves to. This could be: 

  • A voucher for an educational workshop. 
  • A gym membership or physical activity classes. 
  • A subscription to a local food delivery service (an example is Lufa Farms in Montreal). 
  • A gift certificate to a local plant nursery, perfect for someone with a green thumb! 
  • Tickets to a sports game, theatre show, concert, etc… 
  • Time! Offer to babysit, look after the pets, water the plants, help them with their lawn or garden… Anything that will help them make time for themselves. 

There’s no need to wave goodbye to sustainability for the holidays. Whether it’s using newspaper to tastefully wrap your gifts or that heartfelt letter to a relative on the other side of the country, there are many ways to gift responsibly. 

Wishing you a joyful and green holiday season! 


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