The holiday season can be a magical time spent with loved ones, but with all the gift wrapping and decorating, this time of year can also cause unnecessary environmental impact. There are ways to enjoy the holiday season in a more sustainable way while saving money.
Skip the synthetic décor. Try these green tips:
- If a Christmas tree is part of your holiday traditions, real trees are an eco-friendly choice when planted locally and without the unnecessary pesticides and herbicides. Look for companies that plant another tree for every one sold. Or better yet—consider a rented or potted tree from this Burnaby-based business or this tree vendor in Victoria (where trees are purchased from tree farms that don’t use pesticides). If you require an artificial tree, look for Polyethylene (PE) trees, which tend to not use Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), a type of plastic that releases harmful chemicals known to cause cancer and other health issues. Be sure to reuse your tree for as many years as possible and properly recycle.
- When using lights, if you haven’t already, recycle old lights and replace them with energy efficient LED lights. Using a timer will also save money and energy.
- Reduce waste by using creative and eco-friendly wrap and cards. A simple search for eco-friendly wrapping will provide endless inspiration from cloth and recycled paper to reusable boxes and bags. If you love a DIY project, you can even make your own paper or plantable cards. Consider giving more experiences as gift over things!
- Create wreathes and garland out of natural materials such as sprigs of greenery, garden herbs (rosemary and thyme work well), or even materials you can reuse from around your home like wine corks and old ornaments.
- Choose natural centrepieces using pine cones, local greenery, cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices and berries for a cozy, rustic style. My favourite is layering glass vases with cranberries, white lentils and sprigs of greenery for a festive contrast. Choosing LED candles will add some warm light to your table too.
Enjoy the many benefits of an extra green holiday this year and best wishes for a sustainable New Year!