Bestowing a friend or loved one with home improvement-related items over the holiday season, be it a showerhead, a Stanley Steemer gift voucher or a baggie filled with loose assorted nails, will most likely one of two reactions: For some there’s the blank are you trying to not-so-subtly tell me some something by gifting me a canvas dropcloth and a handful of paint swatches? stare. For others, it’s a gleeful grin followed by the recipient leaping out of the room— hooray! A pneumatic caulking gun! — to immediately embark on their next project.

Below, I’ve wrangled up a few highly gift-table home improvement items, both utilitarian/low-tech and gadget-y, for folks whose reactions would closest resemble that second example: getting super-jazzed about fixing, mending, repairing, retrofitting, cleaning, organizing and conserving both water and energy around the house. While all of my picks have under-50-dollar price tags and make for excellent individual stocking stuffers, together they’d make for one heck of a DIY mega-assortment for a new homeowner. And since we're talking stocking stuffers, I've naturally included (char)coal on the list. 

Any thoughts on giving home improvement items, particular conservation-minded ones, as gifts over the holidays? What's the best/most useful — or worst/most unwanted — that you've recieved?

Klein Tools Folding Ruler @ Hand-Eye Supply ($24.95)

Binchotan Charcoal Purifer @ Poketo ($16)

Truce Scouring Power @ Truce ($7.49)

Sugru - Silver Grey in Limited Edition Gift Tin @ Sugru Shop ($17)

Philips SlimStyle 60W Equivalent Dimmable LED Light Bulb @ Home Depot ($6.97)

Waterpebble @ ($12)

Belkin Wemo Switch @ Target ($49.99)

"How Your House Works" by Charlie Wing (RSMeans) @ ($13.89)

Tool Pegs @ Brook Farm General Store ($15)

Evolve Ladybug Water-Saving Showerhead Adaptor @ ($23.75)

Wood Hammer Multi-Tool by Kikerland @ Walker Art Center ($16.50)

Fireplace Bouffleur @ Archer Hard Goods ($48)

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The festive fix-it: Stocking stuffers for home improvement nuts
'Tis the season to mend, modify, repair, tidy-up and perform (not too strenuous) energy- and water-saving tweaks around the house.