I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas…

Many people dream of a white Christmas – but what about a “green” Christmas? While the holidays are notorious for being an environmentalist’s worst nightmare (think tonnes of extra waste, overconsumption, and chopped down trees, just to name a few)! This holiday season Ottawa Life magazine offers ten suggestions to reduce your eco-impact.

1. Use LED lights to decorate your home and Christmas tree. They come in the same styles and colours as your old incandescent lights, but only use about one tenth of the energy.

2. Recycle your fresh Christmas tree after the holiday is over. Not only does this clear up space in the landfill, but the recycled wood can be used as mulch, adding nutrients to soil. A real tree is an environmentally friendly choice this season, as most are found on tree farms and will be replanted (as opposed to being cut down in the wild). Real trees help to remove carbon from the atmosphere while they are growing. While an artificial tree can be reused year after year, they consume a significant amount of energy and petroleum-based materials during their manufacture.

Decorate with gifts of nature

3. Decorate with the gifts of nature. Instead of rushing out to buy fake wreaths and decorations, have a look in your own backyard. Pinecones, branches, and evergreen boughs can make creative and interesting conversation pieces. Alternatively, use decorations which have been recycled or are ethically and fairly traded.

4. Instead of giving traditional gifts, donate to your favourite environmental charity. The Nature Conservancy of Canada, World Wildlife Fund, and many other Canadian charities offer Christmas specials that allow you to give back this season.

5. Bring reusable bags when shopping for both gifts and food for your celebrations.

6. When possible, buy local and organic food for your feast. Buying local means you are supporting your community while simultaneously reducing your carbon footprint. Buying organic means you’ll be skipping the artificial ingredients, preservatives, and pesticides.

7. Get creative with your holiday cards. Consider switching to e-cards this year, reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill. Or, reuse last year’s Christmas cards to make gift tags. (After all, most people don’t write on the inside cover of the card). If you must buy a traditional paper card, buy one which is printed on recycled or hemp paper or one that donates a portion of proceeds to a charitable cause.

Get creative with your gift wrap for greener giving.

8. Skip buying new wrapping paper whenever possible, and get creative! Reuse last year’s paper, or find materials around the house – tablecloths, newspapers, magazines, sheet music, kid’s colouring pages, and more.


9. Host a mindful party. For your holiday celebrations and feasts, be sure to use reusable dishes and cutlery. Compost food waste, and buy your food products in bulk to cut back on packaging waste.

10. Simply cut back. The holidays are known for being a time of materialism, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The swiftest way to eliminate waste is to merely give less. If you have a large family, consider drawing names, that way each person is only responsible for one gift. Or, make gifts – handmade gifts are not only more eco friendly, but more sentimental too.

Now that we’ve presented you with ten eco-friendly holiday  ideas, why stop there? As we approach 2012, keep trying to make eco conscious choices in the year ahead and spread the green word to your family and friends. Christmas is all about sharing the love – so let’s share some love with Earth, too!