- Gifts do not have to be store bought. Consider making something for your someone special. Or look for a gift made or grown locally.
- Make your own decorations. A homemade centrepiece or wreath from a sustainable source, such as holly, evergreens, pine cones, fruit and/or popcorn, is both beautiful and unique. These items are also compostable after the holidays are over.
- Reuse your gift wrap or bags/bows/ribbon or use alternatives. There are many options for wrapping your gifts that don't involve buying new wrap every year. Consider using recycled newspaper, posters and/or calendars, purchase environmentally-friendly wrap, make reusable fabric bags from old clothes, or wrap your gift in a second gift like a scarf. The possibilities are limited only by imagination.
- Be aware of packaging. Try to buy gifts with minimal packaging. And if the item does come in a box, make sure to recycle the packaging.
- Reconsider traditional cards. Send something different this year. Instead of a paper card, try sending a holiday email to friends and family. Or resend a card you received last year to the same family member - start a new holiday tradition by encouraging an ongoing card exchange.
- Give battery-free gifts. Discarded batteries are an environmental hazard. Consider items like kites or model kits for the kids on your list. If you do have old batteries in the house, you can recycle them at one of the City's Household Hazardous Waste Days.
- Re-gifting is OK. Don't throw away that item you got but never used. Re-gift to someone who will appreciate it.
- Consider growing your own tree for the holidays. A Norfolk Pine is a lovely house plant that can be decorated every year for the holidays and enjoyed as greenery in the house for the rest of the year. Make it a new family tradition.
- Use LED lights in your holiday displays. LEDs use up to 95% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last longer.
- Use a holiday light timer or turn off your display lights when you go to bed. Timers can be inexpensive and easy to use.
- Recycle your live tree. If you choose to put up a live tree over the holidays, make sure to recycle it. Trees are chipped and used as cover for new plantings in the summer months by the City.
- Make that special Christmas/holiday meal a local feast - Purchase items grown locally to cut down on the transportation footprint of your meal. Or grow your own vegetables and preserve them.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Are you Dreamin' of a Green Christmas?
Does your Boxing Day involve hauling bags of used gift wrap, bows, ribbons, and boxes to the garbage bin? There is another way. It is possible to be earth-friendly during the holidays and still have all the fun you look forward to every year. You just need to plan ahead... Even small changes can make a big difference. Here are some green holiday ideas your family might want to incorporate into your traditions.