Go Green This Holiday Season

Being green is on most people’s minds these days. How can we shift our habits to be more thoughtful towards the planet? The holidays are notorious for over-indulgence and, in all the excitement, it’s easy to fall into a trap of wastefulness. Luckily, there are some ways to curb a throw-away lifestyle and celebrate the holidays in harmony with the environment.

YOUR TREE

There’s no denying the delight of visiting a Christmas tree lot and picking out the perfect tree for your home. You’ll be pleased to know that when it comes to real versus fake, real trees are the more sustainable option (here and here are the facts). Did you know that the majority of traditional artificial trees are produced with harmful PVC chemicals and lead? Look for local tree farms that practice sustainable farming and be sure to check with your city for ways of responsibly recycling your tree into mulch after the holiday season.

An even greener option is to rent a potted tree for the season. These trees are replanted come spring-time.

If you aren’t sold on the real tree option, here are some environmentally-friendly, home-made trees.

When decorating, opt for meaningful ornaments that will be used and loved for years to come. Find treasures made from wood, glass, metal, or cloth (in other words, no plastic). Visit local craft fairs for hand-made ornaments. Lights should be energy-efficient LED bulbs and use a timer to conserve energy when you’re not there to enjoy the light display.

GIFTS

Piles of torn wrapping paper at the end of a gift-giving session are pretty much the norm during the holidays. All of that single-use paper will likely go straight into the trash – and, ultimately, a landfill. Choose sustainable, recyclable wrapping paper instead of glossy or metallic gift wrap. Save any pretty ribbons, gift bags, or carefully unwrapped paper for use on future gifts. Get creative with your wrapping – use unmarked paper grocery bags, pages from magazines or newspapers, or even scraps of fabric. Here are some ideas that look too beautiful to unwrap.

While we’re on the subject of gifts, why don’t you give experiences instead of an object? Or make a donation in the recipient’s name to their favourite charity? The most meaningful gifts are the ones people remember most.

THE FEAST

Dining on delicious food is a highlight any time of the year, but it’s extra-special over the holidays. The treats are never-ending and it’s hard to say no to that extra piece of chocolate, gingerbread cookie, sausage roll, or whatever speaks most sweetly to your insatiable appetite.

While you may have no control over what you eat when you’re celebrating at various holiday parties, you can certainly be more mindful if you’re planning the menu at home.

Look for organic and free-range turkeys and support your local farms. Or go vegetarian or vegan this season. There are plenty of mouth-watering dishes that are purely plant-based – take a look at these and these recipes. When you’re shopping for food items, look for goods that use less packaging or are locally sourced. And only make what you will actually eat. This time of year sees a lot of food waste.

It’s easy to have a remarkable holiday that celebrates family, friends, and the environment.

Image: Huffington Post