A Greener Holiday Season, One Step at a Time
December 10, 2018
Whenever I think of the magic of the holidays, I get a little giddy. And now that I’m a mom, the holiday season seems even more exciting.
So even though I love decorating, giving gifts, and planning fun family get‑togethers, this year I’d like to do things a little differently, a little more environmentally, so my daughter starts learning what she can do to help the planet.
Below are a few simple ideas to help make your holiday season greener, one little step at a time.
Not everyone likes giving gifts, but I sure do! Still, I had to ask myself what I could do little differently. I came up with a few good ideas to keep the wrapping paper and bows to a minimum and avoid giving the kind of gifts that are soon forgotten. Bonus: These are also great ideas for that someone who has everything!
- An RESP is a no‑brainer. It’s the gift that lasts a lifetime! And I can assure you your 6‑month‑old godchild won’t be disappointed.
- Your time, in the form of a homemade gift certificate for babysitting, cleaning, cooking, etc.
- An invitation to dinner. Just find a fun theme for the meal and your simple invitation becomes a unique gift!
- A family weekend at a cottage. Everyone chips in and then no one has to buy any gifts!
- Homemade cookies. Because who doesn’t love cookies?
- A special day for someone special. Be creative!
For kids: A winter picnic with hot chocolate, an afternoon of sledding, a backward dinner (dessert first!) and, to top it all off, a movie‑and‑pyjama party.
For adults: Breakfast in bed, an outdoor activity, and a favorite dish for dinner.
Reducing your wrapping paper and bows is already a step in the right direction. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
- Good old Christmas stockings. A classic you can use again and again.
- Reusable bags. Québec company encore&co has a great collection of cloth bags for the holiday season.
- A nice tea towel and a ribbon. A simple way to wrap a present that’s actually a second gift!
- Mason jars. So handy and so affordable! Just add a ribbon and you’re done.
- And of course, as much as possible, reuse the wrapping you already have at home.
Many of us take to the road during the holidays to visit family and friends. While public transit isn’t always a viable option, I’ve got a great alternative: buying educational carbon credits from Bourse du carbone Scol’ERE (in French). By offsetting your carbon emissions, you’ll help deliver a creative educational program on sustainable living to children in primary schools across the province. With just $7, you can offset 1,000 km of vehicle travel (in French). It’s totally worth it!
4. Family gatherings
Making your gatherings eco‑friendly doesn’t mean they’ll be boring! Here are a few simple suggestions:
- Do a tapas menu: Lay out a nice‑looking spread of appetizers and invite your guests to help themselves around the table. This minimizes the need for plates, so you’ll be less likely to resort to the paper variety.
- Instead of adding to your collection of scented candles, tell your guests in advance that you don’t need any gifts, but would welcome a donation to your favorite charitable organization.
- Opt for local fare whenever possible. I always find great products and ideas at my local Christmas market.
- If you want to have some fun with gifts, make it a regift swap party! Everyone is invited to bring an item they no longer use, but that could be useful to someone else. Extra points if you get your guests to wrap their regifts in newspaper!
Making a difference can be easy and fun. It just takes a bit of thought and creativity. Even if everyone took up just one of these suggestions, there’d be a whole lot less waste this Christmas.