Unwrapping the Joy: The Power of Service Gifts in Reducing Our Carbon Footprint and Building Stronger Communities

By The Shannon Household

In a world where we’re becoming more conscious of our carbon footprint and seeking ways to contribute to our communities, service gifts shine like twinkling stars on a cloudy night. They not only bring joy and excitement but also leave a positive impact on both the environment and the people around us. So, join us as we unwrap the benefits of service gifts and discover why they’re the secret ingredients for unforgettable experiences and sustainable living.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint: A Gift to Mother Earth

Choosing service gifts or experiences over material possessions can significantly reduce our carbon footprint. It eliminates packaging, plastic, excess waste, and the emissions of manufacturing and delivery processes. By opting for a service gift, such as an adventure, a spa day, or a culinary experience, you’re making a positive impact on the environment and bringing joy to the recipient. (And as a wise cartoon once told me, “Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?”) It’s a win-win situation that helps protect the planet and creates unforgettable moments.

Building Stronger Communities, One Gift at a Time


Service gifts benefit local businesses, skilled professionals, and artists (shameless plug). They create more economic opportunities and encourage creativity in our communities. We can nurture talent and strengthen our communities by giving a dance class, art workshop, or a local theatre subscription.

The Numbers Speak for Themselves

So, you want some quantifiable facts that will make you say, “Wow, service gifts do make a difference!” We’ve got you covered! Here are some eye-opening figures:

  • A recent study found that service-based gifts have 85% less negative environmental impact than material objects. Now, that’s a significant reduction in carbon emissions!
  • Supporting local businesses and service providers generates approximately three times more income for our communities than purchasing from national chains. Talk about an economic multiplier effect!
  • Did you know the service industry employs over 13.2 million Canadians, accounting for nearly 70% of the total workforce in the country and equating to approximately 70% of Canada’s GDP, highlighting its significant economic impact. (Source: Statistics Canada)

Nurturing Genuine Connection: a Symbol of Deep Appreciation

In the age of convenience and two-day shipping, it’s easy to overlook the importance of truly seeing and appreciating our loved ones. Social media trends highlight how stockings go unfilled for those responsible for the magic of Christmas morning. This serves as a reminder of our longing for genuine thoughtfulness and appreciation. By choosing a service gift, you demonstrate that you truly see and understand the unique qualities that make your giftee special. It requires thought, appreciation, and recognition of what makes them shine.  So, let’s embrace a shift away from the allure of material possessions and break free from a culture that values just any shiny material token of existence. Embrace the joy of giving something personal and meaningful – a gift that celebrates the beautiful traits that make our loved ones who they are.

Okay, you’re convinced; the incredible benefits of service gifts are illuminated brighter than Griswold’s house on Christmas Eve. We’ve been doing these in the Shannon house for years, so I’m excited to help you brainstorm some fantastic ideas to make your loved ones feel truly special. Inspired by the positive impact on our environment, stronger communities, and deeper connections, I’ve curated a collection of creative and thoughtful service gift options:

The Foodie Enthusiast:

  • Cooking classes
  • Okay not 100% service based – but buy right from the Ranch or Farmer! It’s always been a winner when I buy fresh meat directly from our Local Ranch for my husband to use on the smoker! 
  • Use apps like Open Table to make a reservation for a highly sought-after restaurant with a long waitlist. Don’t forget to book the babysitter at the same time!
  • Wine tour or FOOD TOUR. I had heard about wine tours before, but I never knew about food tours: https://albertafoodtours.ca/
  • Private chef experience. There’s a website for that!

The Outdoorsy Adventurer:

The Creative Artist:

  • Art Classes. In something they haven’t tried before or to refine a talent they already have
  • Passes to a museum where anyone can be inspired
  • Tickets to the theatre. Favourite musician or a keynote from an artist they like
  • Membership to a local Maker’s Space

The Tech Lover:

  • Code Ninjas. Okay, this is one we have personally done – and I wish they had grown-up classes because I wanna play too! https://www.codeninjas.com
  • Convention passes. Think of things like CES in Vegas and ComicCon; personally, I love ones like Adobe Max, which has online and in-person presentations. There is also a WPPI expo in Vegas as well.
  • Virtual Reality complexes
  • Arcade passes/tokens
  • Giftcards for memberships on Xbox, Playstation, Steam, Roblox, Minecraft
  • Laser Tag – okay, this can be for anyone. It’s just incredible.

The Fitness Fanatic:

  • Consider a fitness tracker, a gym membership, or a session with a personal trainer.
  • Passes for a new kind of class, like, say, Aerial Arts or Circus Arts
  • Personal Trainer or Individual Coaching sessions
  • Massage Therapist to soothe those aching muscles
  • Experiences like Trampoline Parks, Climbing Gyms, or indoor play places for your younger busy bodies.
  • Ninja Warrior Training Facility
  • Registration fees for their favorite Marathon like

The Music Lover:

  • Music Festivals or concerts
  • Music Lessons
  • Subscriptions to add free listening on Spotify or YouTube Music

The Animal Lover

The Wellness Seeker:

  • a spa day/treatment,
  • yoga retreat
  • a meditation app subscription.
  • Reiki or Acupuncture treatments

The Dedicated Teacher

  • Teacher’s Pay Teachers gift cards – Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where educators can buy, sell, and share educational resources created by other teachers, helping to enhance classroom instruction and save time.
  • Family Photography gift card – Every year, they take the same back-to-school photo that the rest of us have gotten to skip out on since Grade 12- let them commemorate their own family or even have a much more flattering profile photo than a mug shot.
  • Straight up Donations or Volunteering to your school directly.

The Film Buff:

  • Consider a streaming service subscription,
  • movie tickets or even memberships now
  • a film festival pass

The Hustling Entrepreneur:

The Busy Parent:

  • Maid Service or Personal Organizer.
  • Gift Certificate for a “Mother’s” Helper / Digital Assistant
  • Snow shovelling service
  • Spring Clean up service – lawn aeration, dethatching, overseed, fertilizer
  • A CSA subscription:
  • Handyman Service – Gift card or pre-planned project that hasn’t been done. Check it off their list
  • Babysitting or a Parent’s night out package from their local community centre, indoor play place, or code ninja’s
  • It’s been said before – and I’ll repeat it. Massage.
  • Prebooked hotel stay. One night away where they are not responsible for anything but their own relaxation and quiet.
  • Food Delivery Gift Cards like DoorDash, Uber Eats, etc.

As we bid farewell to the traditional notion of gift-giving, let’s embrace the excitement and fulfillment that service gifts bring. Not only do they take us on extraordinary journeys and help us create unforgettable memories, but they also positively impact our environment and strengthen the bonds within our communities.


So, whether it’s treating your loved ones to an adventurous day out, a relaxing spa retreat, or a mouthwatering culinary experience, remember that the gift of service is a gift that keeps on giving. Stay tuned for more inspiring tips and ideas for service gifts that will leave you feeling warm, fuzzy, and proud of contributing to a better, greener world!

Written by The Shannon Household

Read more of their stories as they vie with the other seven households to reduce their carbon footprint.

Meet the The Shannon Household
Back to top