This electric mower -- lighter, easier to care for and causing much less air pollution than a gasoline one -- can handle even a lawn larger than the standard half-acre. The Remington Cordless PowerMower (Model MPS6017A) has a rechargeable battery but also can be used with an extension cord. Charge up the battery for about 60 minutes of mowing in the outer reaches and have the cord for backup closer to the house. Or buy an extra battery (about $100) and charge up both for about two hours of cordless mowing time.
Here's a kit to make the magic of growing food easy. It comes with carrot seeds; a planter box with tray; labels; instructions; a pencil made of recycled wood; stickers and two 2-quart bags of potting mix made from recycled landscape waste such as lawn clippings, leaves and tree limbs.
800-247-6646 or agromin.com
No gardener has too many gloves. The all-synthetic, washable West County Gardener Classic glove has a mesh back, padded palm, high shaft and adjustable tab to keep out garden debris. The new Foxglove pruning gauntlet has a black goatskin palm and unusually flexible tan synthetic suede elbow-length shaft for protection.
Cost: West County classic, $27; Foxglove gauntlet, $34
Every Christmas tree needs an oddly shaped package beneath it to spur speculation. Here's a truly useful one from Radius Garden Tools, a bowed rake with powder-coated carbon-steel tines to grab leaves, sticks and other debris. It has a 61-inch-long lightweight fiberglass shaft (comfortable even for tall people).
Give pets that eat garbage: Red wiggler earthworms, which can compost kitchen scraps even indoors (learn how at chicagotribune.com/worms). At Pacific Garden Mission, 1458 S. Canal St., you can pick up a gift of worms while contributing to the Mission's good works.
Cost: $25 suggested donation for 1 pound (approximately 1,000); $75 suggested donation for 1.5-cubic-foot "wormerie" made from reclaimed wood that comes with bedding, worms and instructions.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. One week's advance notice required for pickup, Friday mornings through Dec. 19; no shipping and no walk-up business.
We feed the birds so we can see them up close, but then we're too busy, or we never have the camera handy when the cardinal comes by. That's why there's the Wingscapes BirdCam, a motion-activated digital camera that can be mounted to the feeder post or a nearby tree. It automatically takes either still photos or 10-second video clips of visiting birds that can be viewed on a TV or downloaded to a computer for online posting or e-mailing. Needs 4 D batteries about every 30 days, so consider seeking out rechargeable batteries and a charger too.
Cost: $249; shown with pole mounting arm, $29 additional