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11 Brilliant Gifts for the Gardener in Your Life

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A proven method of relaxation, gardening can ease the stresses of daily life and provide a rich resource for giving homes a unique and colorful identity. If you know someone with a green thumb, consider these 11 gift ideas sure to plant a seed of gratitude.

1. AMBIENTA GROW LAMP; $270

Cold weather doesn’t have to interrupt a gardener’s activities. The Ambienta acts as a kind of mini-greenhouse for an indoor table, showering up to six plants with nourishing LED light. The mushroom-shaped design is easy on the eyes; so is the optional dimmer switch for when your giftee wants a more relaxed atmosphere.

Find It: UncommonGoods

2. BOSMERE WATERING CAN; $86

Sure, your loved ones could use an empty jug to act as a water source for plants—if they enjoy drowning the greenery. Bosmere’s 1-liter watering can is tapered to allow for targeted and steady placement of the water stream, making it ideal for hard-to-reach places without running the risk of too much liquid. The copper material is unlacquered, meaning the can will slowly oxidize with use and eventually slip into a warmly lived-in finish.

Find It: Amazon

3. RACHIO SMART SPRINKLER CONTROLLER; $200

If you know someone looking to seize more control over their sprinkler system to help conserve water, the Rachio system is the one to beat. The module can replace virtually any existing central command center, connecting to the Rachio app and allowing for on-the-go control of the timer. Rachio will even synch the system to weather forecasts, easing up when it’s expected to rain.

Find It: Amazon

4. GARDENER’S TOOL SEAT; $30 TO $34

Foldable for storage, this seat cures two of gardening’s most annoying demands: not having a place to sit and not having the right tool within reach. A small stool saves wear on the knees, while 21 pockets and a large pouch under the seat offer room for any implement you need.

Find It: UncommonGoods

5. "THE VARIOUS VARIETIES OF FRUITS OR VEGETABLES"; $38

This sprawling 39 by 27-inch guide, detailing over 300 varieties of fruit, can be hung on the wall for easy reference. From citrus to mangosteens, your giftee will never have to guess how each is related to the other again. A vegetable-tree version is sold separately; both are printed with vegetable-based inks.

Find It: PopChartLab

6. RECYCLE A BOTTLE PLANT NANNY STAKE; $15 OR $17

Both eco-friendly and a sneaky way to avoid being asked to tend to plants while a friend is on vacation, these stakes sink into potted soil and slowly release water from upturned wine or plastic bottles.

Find It: UncommonGoods

7. MIRACLE-GRO AEROGARDEN; $160

If you know someone who wants to keep a supply of fresh herbs for the kitchen but gets lost in the details, Miracle-Gro’s indoor garden is a perfect solution. The soil-free bed can grow cilantro, parsley, dill, and other seasonings using a fool-proof on-board display that offers care instructions in real time.

Find It: Amazon

8. SUCCULENT LIVING WALL PLANTER KIT; $110

Vertical gardening is a conversation-starter, and you can help a friend ignite one with this startling frame that uses hardy moss and a thin layer of mesh to keep succulent plants hanging in there.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

9. MAKERSKIT HANGING AIR PLANT TERRARIUM; $29

Known as an “air plant,” the Tillandsia can thrive with little water and soil, making it ideal for this ceiling-mounted orb that’s perfect for the home or office. The box includes twine, moss, and stones for decoration and a coupon that can be redeemed for the live plant.

Find It: Amazon

10. KITCHEN COMPOSTER; $55

If making compost sounds unappealing, it’s probably because you haven’t come across the right tool for the job yet. This composter fits neatly under a kitchen sink and accepts food waste to mix with a Bokashi blend to create topsoil for gardens. The airproof lid guarantees no funky smell; the included spigot can also produce liquid fertilizer for houseplants.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

11. BAMBOO WORK AND GARDENING GLOVES; $9

The biggest inconvenience of gardening: trying to scrub the dirt off your hands. The second-largest: dealing with the sweat produced by rubber-coated gloves. Solution: bamboo, which allows the gloves to breathe, is naturally antibacterial, and ensures a snug fit.

Find It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
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Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

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