• By: Keith Whittier

How to Give Yourself a Much Greener Christmas

Even though we love to shower our friends and family with gifts and special treats at this time of year, many of those holiday traditions aren’t very loving to our planet.

Canadians exchange more than two billion holiday cards each year.  It’s estimated that we spend about $4 billion on wrapping, decorations, and gifts, which already come heavily packaged – and most of it gets tossed in the trash.

This year, make a difference with these ideas:

• Instead of holiday cards, why not send a short personal e-mail to everyone on your list?  Or visit Hallmark’s web site to choose an e-card for the person you love.

• Visit second-hand stores for items like a sweater with the tags still on, a serving dish that matches their kitchen, or a toy that’s barely been used.  Wrap it in newspaper comics, or in a pillow case with a cloth ribbon tied on.

• Give an experience instead of a package.  Take your kids to the museum or the nearby ski hill, or invite your best friend to high tea.

• Got a foodie on your list?  Bake them some cookies, or sign them up for a cooking class.

• Give a charitable gift in their name especially one that matches their interests. World Vision, for example, will send your gift to a family who needs it the most. You can buy and send fruit trees, or school supplies, or soccer balls to delight a whole team of grateful kids.