It’s certainly easy to get distracted by all of the cheery hustle and bustle of the holidays, but this time of year actually produces quite an immense carbon footprint. Turns out having an eco-friendlier holiday really isn’t as hard as you thought, the key is just taking those first few steps.
Here are some suggestions on how to respect the environment and give meaningful gifts that still spread the holiday cheer.
When it comes to decorating…
Remember that most of the time, less really is more.
Use a real tree and recycle it afterwards. Christmas trees are grown specifically for the holiday, so we aren’t contributing to deforestation by buying one. As soon as the tree is harvested, another is planted for the following Christmas.
Artificial trees, though convenient, are made of non-renewable resources and they usually end up in a landfill since they aren’t recyclable. Along with being better for the environment, we can also support our local economy by shopping at a nearby tree market.
[While you’re there, pick up some of the branch trimmings that they give away for free to DIY a wreath or use it for other homemade decorations.]
If Christmas trees aren’t your thing, go to any home and garden or plant store and choose from a variety of plants or terrariums that will look festive and will last throughout the year.
Switch to energy efficient LED lights. They will not only save you on power costs, but they will also last you much longer than any traditional light. If you don’t already, head to a home hardware store and pick up a light timer, to ensure that your lights will get turned off each night.
The Three ‘R’s
REDUCE items you will have to trash or recycle by foregoing disposable plates and paper napkins — use dishes and cloth napkins instead. If you’re worried about being short on dishes, hit up your local thrift store and pick up some mismatched china and dish sets
REUSE your ribbons and bows by saving them for the next holiday season
RECYCLE your wrapping paper (glossy or matte) through the City of Calgary’s recycling program. Learn more about It here
Why Not Give a Gift That Gives Back?
There are so many organizations that provide goods and services while giving back to the community and the environment. Gift giving is already an activity that make you feel good, so why not bring it to a whole other level by giving a gift that does good as well.
Here are just a few places that TreeEra loves…
Tribe of Lambs, a local Calgary jewelry company that designs jewelry ethically produced in India. Tribe of Lambs uses their profits to fund projects with HIV positive kids and kids who are affected by HIV.
The Giving Keys — they sell jewelry to provide jobs for people transitioning out of homelessness. So far through the purchase of Pay It Forward products they have been able to create 110,108 hours of work for those in need.
Playfield is a local YYC unisex jewelry company that designs high quality, hand-crafted bracelets. Their wood bracelets are made of wood beads which were repurposed from structures that were destroyed in tropical storms in the Philippines.
Conscious Step is a company that manufactures socks mindfully using fair trade organic cotton, vegan materials and natural dyes. They partner with effective and impactful organizations who provide solutions to the world’s biggest problems such as protecting our oceans, fighting hunger, treating HIV and many others. The socks are matched to key issues and embroidered to represent their support. With the purchase of Conscious Step socks, they have provided 27,837 days of HIV & AIDS treatment, 26,748 meals, 80,775 months of clean water, donated 82,02 books and planted 58,020 trees.
The Gift that Keeps on Growing — $30 plants 20 trees on behalf of someone on your Christmas list. A socially responsible gift for that person that has everything. Put some trees under the tree this year and help someone offset their carbon footprint.
These tips may not be groundbreaking, they may not even be news to you, but they are small steps that we can take towards a brighter and greener future!
We’d love to hear more tips and tricks on how to lessen the impact that the holidays season can have. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions!