Winter mulch and compost
-- Mulch with snow. Perennials love snow. When shoveling, as long as the snow doesn't have salt in it and isn't slushy, don't worry about tossing it onto perennials and small shrubs. Fluffy snow is called white mulch and actually insulates against weather extremes.
-- Collect ashes from your fireplace. Then put them onto your compost heap to increase the potassium content, which is valuable to plants when you reuse your compost in the garden.
-- Recycle your live Christmas tree. Cut off the branches and lay them over plantings as a light winter mulch.