I absolutely love this time of year – gathering with family and friends, decorating, baking and gifts – giving of course! What I don’t love is the environmental impact that comes along with celebrating the holidays. You may be wondering how to reduce your impact while still enjoying your favourite traditions. Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to make memories but keep the season a little more sustainable.
- GET A REAL TREE OR, A POTTED LIVE TREE. Since artificial trees are made from plastic – real trees are definitely the more environmentally-friendly option. However, some growers use pesticides so you want to look for a sustainable tree farm – not only do they use less pesticides but they plant more trees than they cut down each year. Some tree growers even offer potted, native trees that can be planted after the holiday season making those the most sustainable choice yet.
- BUY ENERGY SAVING LED HOLIDAY LIGHTS. Choose LED holiday lights that use 90% less energy and last longer than conventional holiday bulbs. Not only do they cost less to run, they reduce the risk of fire, they are more resistant to breakage and create fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
- USE SUSTAINABLE HOLIDAY GIFT WRAP. Most wrapping paper and gift bags are unsustainable and most likely not recyclable. Opt for options you have around the house – old maps, comics, craft paper or reusable cloth bags and wraps that can be used over and over again.
- GIVE SUSTAINABLE + LOCALLY MADE GIFTS. You can keep your holiday footprint small by purchasing locally crafted gifts from small businesses. If you can’t find what you need, consider more sustainable vendors for your gift-giving needs.
- GIFT AN EXPERIENCE. Some of the best gifts are the ones that can be enjoyed together like: tickets to a sporting event, show, concert, fun day trip, lessons or a meal together at your favourite restaurant.
- STUFF STOCKINGS WITH YUMMY TREATS – most stocking stuffers end up in the landfill because they tend to be small, plastic trinkets that we have no use for after a few weeks. Instead, fill your stocking with yummy treats and meaningful DIY gifts. Stocking stuffers don’t have to be wasteful!
- SEND A CARD THAT PLANTS TREES. If you’re looking for a way to send holiday greetings to your friends and family, consider e-cards or cards made from recycled or recyclable paper. If you want to kick it up a notch, consider cards that plant trees, mangrove forests, fight climate change and more.
- DONATE TO A GOOD CAUSE. Not sure what to get for the person who has everything? There are so many nonprofits and charities out there, so find one that resonates.
- ADD LOCAL + SUSTAINABLE FOODS TO YOUR HOLIDAY FEAST. Try to support local farmers that grow sustainable meats and produce this holiday season. The food is fresher, grown closer to home (has a smaller carbon footprint) and keeps money in the local community – don’t forget about your local vinters, brewers, and distillers. You can reduce the carbon footprint of your meal even more by adding more plant-rich foods to the menu.
- TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT. Get cozy in your favourite holiday themed PJs and enjoy a night playing board games, doing a puzzle or watching your favourite movie with family and friends. Spending time with those you love is the best part of the holiday season!
How do you plan to make your holiday eco-friendly?
Adapted by ecoCaledon from: