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December 2009
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Thinking about making my holidays green while I wait for the white

As I wait for the weather to turn colder and Toronto to go from a murky grey to a glistening white, I got thinking more about what I could do to ‘green’ my holidays.

Thanks to @Greenopolis yesterday for posting a great list on their to 10 things you can do to be more green this year. Here were Greenopolis’ suggestions:

  1. Re-think Re-gifting: have two of something now? Don’t really need the gift? Just be sensitive to whom you re-gift.
  2. Buy Less: It’s the though that counts! Buy something meaningful, something useful. Even better make a gift for someone. My favourite gift to give is a mason jar filled with all the dry ingredients for cookies. Add a message around it about how much butter, egg, etc to add as well as baking instructions.
  3. Shop Together: The carpooling part saves on emissions but it’s so much more fun to shop with friends too
  4. Go the ‘Secret Santa’ Route: Instead of buying each family member a gift, put a maximum on gift amounts and have family members draw names from a hat. (if that’s not possible put one person in charge and have them email each person who their buying for)
  5. Keep it Local: go to local craft shows and marketplaces (I plan to go to the St. Lawrence Market this weekend for some unique gifts)
  6. Give it to others: donate old toys, books and clothes to charity. Or contact your local shelter about donating to their holiday feast. The Fred Victor Centre in Toronto opens it’s doors to those in need thru the holidays. You can purchase ‘units of turkey’ to help out those in need
  7. Lower your impact: Change all your lights to LEDs (if you haven’t already done so). And turn out all the holiday lights as you go to bed (OK maybe leave them on for the 24th, Santa needs to know how to find your tree and stockings!)
  8. Choose a live tree: Surprisingly real trees are more sustainable than plastic ones,, most of the research believes that you’ll keep your plastic tree forever, but most people throw theirs away once it’s tattered. Better yet buy a potted tree, it will last you for years.
  9. Make your own cards: Choose eco friendly paper, buy seed-cards that can be planted in the spring or send an e-card.
  10. Green your gift wrap: old news papers and brown bags make great wrapping paper. One of my friends actually puts her stuff in boxes/bins for everyone and covers them with a sheet with each child’s name on a card.

There are so many more things that we can do to make it a ‘greener’ holiday. Here are some that I think we can also do:

  1. Green you food: Try and get local, organic turkey and vegetables. Many butchers will order in exactly what you’re looking for. And with all the great markets out there you’re bound to find many organic vegetables. If you can’t go local, organic try and go local before you go organic, it’s usually a smaller footprint (The best local butcher shops in Toronto can be found here)
  2. Ask for things you need: Sure new frivolous things are great, but what do you really need this year?
  3. Gingerbread Decorations: Not only can you make whatever type of decoration you want, in whatever colours you want, they are also delicious!
  4. Think Minimalist: Isn’t that the style these days? You’ll see just how great your house can look with very few decorations
  5. Practice the 3R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, compost as much as you can and stick to your daily green habits