Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.. or that's what the song says, right? Whether you love Christmas or could care less, there's no denying it's a pretty big holiday. A lot of time and effort goes into making the perfect family dinner, wrapping presents with care, decorating to create a magical winter wonderland and oh so much more. There's traditions to be tended to, memories to be made and cheer to be spread but doing all that doesn't have to be a burden on the planet. With a touch of imagination, a sprinkle of compassion and a drop of determination we can reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season. Here are some ideas to help celebrate the season while caring for the earth.
01.Buy Less/Give Differently
Try to buy less and only stick to what you think your recipient really needs. If possible try making your gift - it's always nice to receive something handmade and heartfelt. If you do shop, try to focus on second-hand items or antiques. Many gifts or gestures don't have to be purchased brand new - try finding your fashion loving friend a thrifted gift or your music lover a used record.
Check out our blog post: Tips For Sustainable Giving for more sustainable gift ideas and options.
02. Connect With Nature
Christmas is a great opportunity to start a family tradition of giving back to the earth and instilling the values of sustainable living to your children, friends, and community. Start an annual, earth-friendly, Christmas family tradition with an annual nature hike, restoration activity such as planting a tree, or decorating a tree for the birds with seed bells, suet, pine cones and peanut butter and so much more. There's plenty of things you and your family can do to be one with nature and give back while celebrating the holiday.
03. Lower The Impact Of Holiday Lighting
Decorating is half the fun of the holiday, am I right? Cut down on your carbon foot print while still being festive with a few of these lighting tips.
* Have a smaller outdoor display. It will still be fun and cheerful, but will cut your electricity usage and bill in half.
* Use LED lights whenever possible. LED holiday lights use up to 95% less energy than larger, traditional holiday bulbs.
* Outdoor Mini-Lights Will Also Save Energy. A 100-light string uses only 40 watts. If you’re buying a new set of lights, compare based on equal ‘lighted lengths’.
* Turn off tree and outdoor house decorative lighting at bedtime and during the day.
04. Choose a Live Tree
Although plastic Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are the more sustainable choice. Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC), and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping. While artificial trees theoretically last forever, research shows that they are typically discarded when repeated use makes them less attractive. Discarded artificial trees are then sent to landfills, where their plastic content makes them last forever. Live trees, on the other hand, are a renewable resource grown on tree farms, that are replanted regularly. They contribute to air quality while growing, and almost ninety percent are recycled into mulch. Live trees are usually locally grown and sold, saving both transportation costs and added air pollution. Live trees also smell like Christmas!
05. Use Seeding or Homemade Cards
Store-bought Christmas cards are rich, elegant, and expensive. They also consume a huge amount of natural resources for a throw-away item. Try using your children's artwork, calendar/magazine images or creating your very own masterpiece this year.
If you really aren't the artsy type, grab some of our Holiday Seeding Cards that are compostable and contain a herb garden! Simply plant in the spring and voila!
06. Switch to Eco-Friendly Holiday Crackers
No not the food kind.. sorry! Try finding an alternative to everyones favourite dinner activity with one full of sustainable products or less plastic ones. Better yet, create your own crackers for a personalized touch to your Christmas décor this year! Use recycled kraft brown paper or DIY kraft crackers and fill with plastic-free surprises for a stylish, eco alternative.
07. Find Alternatives to Wrapping Paper
In Canada, the annual waste from gift wrap and shopping bags equals about 595,000 tons. If everyone wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or fabric gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks. This year try using environmentally friendly wrapping paper such as hemp paper or recycled paper. (Here's a link to our recycled/reversible wrapping paper in a ton of amazing holiday patterns). Reuse gift wrap when possible, and even mix and match your "end of the roll bits" to create your own design. Choose alternatives such as organic cotton bags (like ours here) or old t-shirts/pillow cases. If all else fails - grab the newspaper!
Reuse or recycle your gift packing materials and save any bows, ribbons or usable gift wrap. If you got a new electronic this year, properly recycle or donate your old one. Ensure you recycle your Christmas tree if your not using it for a DIY or return it back to nature.
09. Utilize Your Local Market/Farmers
If possible, shop for your holiday meals at your local farmers market or farm stand and if needed freeze or can any in season vegetables to reduce your food waste and environmental impact making trips to the grocery store.
10. Make, Make, Make!
Tis' the season for DIY's! This holiday season try to make everything you can, and better yet from things you already have lying around. The list is endless: new ornaments, holiday decor, place settings, handmade menus, gifts, etc! Get those creative juices flowing!!
Now that we've got all the tips and tricks needed... let's get our holiday on!!!