As the festive season of giving approaches, many of us are mindful of our impact and seek to gift sustainably. But what does "sustainably" mean when it comes to gifting?

That's a great question! In this blog post, we'll focus on gifts that limit waste, are created out of materials that limit harm to the natural environment, and come from local businesses in Ontario's Southwest that give back to their communities and care for their workers. 


group on bicycles


WindsorEats offers numerous award-winning food and drink events, tours, and experiences like Drinks of Walkerville, Wine Trail Rides, and more in Windsor and Essex County. As a commitment to promote environmental, social, and economic sustainability in the local tourism industry, WindsorEats includes a contribution to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation, specifically to plant trees, from every ticket they sell! So not only do you gift an amazing experience you help grow the tree cover in the region!

In the spirit of saving trees, Michael Difazio Reclaim Artistry in Windsor creates charcuterie boards, custom wood furniture, and art pieces using only reclaimed or recycled older materials that no longer serve their original purpose. By selecting one of their pieces, you not only prevent something from going to waste, but you will also have something super unique because each reclaimed piece of wood is unique.

Continuing our woodwork theme, Ottercreek Woodworks in Tillsonburg creates one-of-a-kind charcuterie boards using only local hardwoods found in the Carolinian Life Zone of Southwest Ontario and is ethically sourced through urban removal, wind blow down, dead or diseased trees and sustainable logging practice. Check out their website for online shopping and retailers.

You can also gift one of their From Tree to Table Experience where participants learn about the woodland ecosystem on a nature walk and then build their own charcuterie board with expert advice.

The Spirit Horse Encounter is a unique experience where people walk amongst the historic Ojibwe Spirit Horses and gather around the fire at the authentic Metis fur trade Tipi encampment. This 3-hour experience is hosted by TJ Stables in Chatham all year long and directly supports the conservation efforts of the rare and endangered Ojibwe Spirit Horses.

Get them a ticket to participate in A Taste of Farm Life by Udderly Ridiculous. This experience takes place on a picturesque farm in Bright where guests will learn the zany stories of life on a farm as they do agility training with a lively pack of goats, get up close and personal with the chickens and spend some quality time out in the hay field with an alpaca guide.

If you have someone very adventurous on your list, then Long Point Eco-Adventures is for you. They offer glamping, zip lining, paddling tours, boat tours, mountain biking, and more – all of which you can buy gift certificates for. And since eco is right in the name, you know the business is environmentally friendly. They are EcoStay certified by reducing energy consumption, water, and waste. For every night you stay in their glamping suites, Long Point Eco-Adventure makes a contribution to the EcoStay Motherland Reforestation Project.

Also in Norfolk County, Meuse Brewing is a farmhouse brewery, farm, and market that is deeply rooted in sustainability. The farm fields have been transitioned to organic and the old irrigation pond has been transitioned into a native wetland surrounded by native tallgrass prairie to further make the land better than how it was found. If you can't make it to the farm to see all their practices for yourself, they have launched an online store so you can shop for their award-winning small-batch brews.

Speaking of local farms, if you are looking for a great gift that supports local farmers, Thames River Melons is offering gift baskets, a preserve sampler pack, and baked goods. These products are created using produce and fruit grown right on their farm which helps to limit emissions. 


SoHum Candles


If you want to treat the person on your list to some aroma therapy, SoHum Scent Bar makes candles using soy, which burns cleaner than traditional paraffin wax candles. Soy candles are made from natural, renewable resources like soybeans, which burn cleaner, producing very little soot and no harmful chemicals.​ In fact, all fragrances at SoHum Scent Bar are phthalate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.

For the person who doesn't need anything, consider a donation in their name to one of these amazing organizations instead of a traditional gift.

Respitality was developed and implemented by Family Respite to provide parents caring for children with disabilities an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate their mental health and physical well-being. This program is available because of donations from individuals and corporations to purchase.


Dishes by planter


Growing Chefs! Ontario is driven to teach kids about where food comes from, provide kids access to healthy, whole food, and teach about the impacts of our food systems on the environment and how to balance human needs and sustainability. Those in the local area can register kids for cooking classes where they’ll learn about what they are cooking and how to cook it from a chef. For those outside of the local area, donate and help Growing Chefs! make an impact on the next generation.

Now these are just some examples of gift ideas and there are plenty more so look for green options as you shop for a gift or for yourself. Shopping local independent businesses alone helps reduce your carbon footprint and when you eat and drink local, you’re supporting amazing food and drink producers who are committed to a sustainable and thriving local culinary scene here in Ontario’s Southwest.

Environmental protection and sustainability requires us all to take part. It can start with simple actions. Click here to learn more about some of the things you can do to be a responsible traveller.