Alright, now that we've got that song stuck in your head (you're welcome), we've decided to take a note out of The Island Jar's book and share some tips with you on how to make your holiday season just a little bit greener.
Choosing a Christmas Tree
The debate between real vs. artificial Christmas trees is one that rages on year after year, but which one is actually the more environmentally-friendly option?
Well, according to the David Suzuki Foundation (our charity partner for this quarter), real trees are actually much more earth-friendly than artificial ones, and have a number of other benefits, too. For one, studies have shown that breathing in the natural essential oils (that Christmassy smell you get when you bring a real tree inside) that real trees release can be beneficial to your health and can help make you happier. Talk about a Merry Christmas!
Not up for the mess of a real tree? (We get it). Some other fun options include DIY trees made out of wood scraps, old newspapers, or even crates. Check out Pinterest for some fun and low-waste ideas.
Giving the Perfect Gift
This time of year brings so much pressure to find the 'perfect' gift for everyone on your list. While we don't love the idea of buying someone a gift just for the sake of buying something, we do love how this season brings opportunities to show your loved ones how much you care about them. Some unique and environmentally-friendly gifting options you might want to consider include:
- shopping local - reduce your carbon footprint and support local artisans + small business owners by purchasing from local shops and holiday markets
- buy quality products with minimal packaging - buy things that will last and that aren't wrapped in a million layers of plastic
- DIY - get crafty and make something handmade, whether it's knitting, art, baked goods, or preserves, your family & friends are sure to love getting something specially made by you for them
- make a donation - find out your loved one's favourite charity and make a donation in their honour
- gift experiences - rather than buying 'something' for a loved one, why not do something together? get them a ticket for that band they've been wanting to see, take a class together, give them a gift certificate for a massage... the possibilities are endless!
- recycle - regifting may have gotten a bad rap, but it's a great way to reduce waste and make sure items are repurposed rather than sitting on a shelf collecting dust
- buy from companies that give back - more and more social enterprises and social purposes businesses are popping up every day with great products and business models designed to support people and the planet; consider giving a gift that gives back this holiday season; Good Stuff Boxes are a great place to start, as are our product partners' websites (check out our previous Box Introduction blog posts for links to our 2019 partners' sites)
Alternative Wrapping Options
Did you know that Canadians throw out an estimated 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper every year? What a waste! We love wrapping (and unwrapping!) presents, but there are many greener alternatives to traditional wrapping paper:
- use recycled paper - old newspapers, old maps, paper grocery bags, or (gasp!) even paper saved from last Christmas
- kraft paper - our personal favourite; complete the look with jute twine for the whole 'brown paper packages tied up with string' feel (and you're welcome for now getting that song stuck in your head)
- fabric - why not try out the Japanese 'furoshiki' method? you can find many tutorials online, and can use just about any type of fabric you want
- avoid plastic - skip the plastic bows, ribbon, and other accessories that are just going to be thrown out anyway; opt for jute twine or other biodegradable decorations like pinecones or clippings from the Christmas tree
Light it Up
Christmas lights add a certain cozy element to the season that we just love, but they can be a bit of an energy drain. If possible, opt for LED lights instead of traditional incandescent ones, and put your lights on a timer so they're only on when you want them to be.
So. Much. Food!
This time of year always seems to bring with it an endless supply of snacks, treats, potlucks, and family dinners. While these are all lovely things, the potential for food waste is high and carries with it significant environmental impact. These are just a few ways you can work to reduce your food waste and food-related environmental strain this holiday season:
- buy less - who here has been at a family dinner where there was enough food to feed a small army? it happens all the time, but it doesn't need to; ignore the instinct to buy more than you need 'just in case', and buy just enough for the people you are planning to serve; there are a number of portion calculators online that can help you guess how much food you'll need based on the number of people you want to feed
- leftovers - make use of all those leftovers by repurposing them into something new; or, if you're tired of cooking and just want them gone, ask your friends & family to bring tupperware so they can take leftovers home with them after the meal
- skip the disposables - although it may be tempting to use disposable dishes and cutlery for your holiday dinner to cut back on the amount of dishes you need to wash, the amount of waste just isn't worth it; instead, use real dishes and ask your friends & family to help with the dishes after the meal; it's a bit more work, but it's also a great opportunity for some social time
These are just a few of our tips for a 'greener' holiday season. Even doing just one or two is a great way to tread just a little lighter on this Earth we call home. Happy holidays, friends!