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Green Tips for Christmas

Christmas Tree

Christmas is a time that can bring out the best in people, yet it seems to bring out the worst of our environmental consciousness (think rolls of disposable wrapping paper clogging landfills and miles of twinkling lights stressing power plants). Despite the typical overconsumption of all that is disposable and energy-intensive during the holidays, making a few changes to your holiday preparation can allow you to have a white Christmas that helps to keep the planet green. Below are some tips compiled by Carlye Malchuk at

Buy a potted Norfolk Island Pine, which can survive indoors year-round and serve as your tree for many Christmases to come.

Switch your Christmas tree twinklers to LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights. LEDs come in the same brilliant colours as standard lights and use a fraction of the wattage of your older ones. They'll also hold up better to the task of putting up and taking down the strings every year, saving you from hours of searching for that one broken bulb.

Before heading to the store for decorations, check your backyard. Make a centrepiece out of pinecones, or hang evergreen tree boughs over entranceways. Decorate your tree with edible decorations like popcorn strings or cranberry wreaths (thread 10 to 15 cranberries on a string and tie to create a wreath).

Instead of buying trinkets or packaging-laden gift baskets for friends, give a gift certificate for a dinner out or theatre tickets. Or make your own vouchers, good for a night of free babysitting.

Instead of battery-powered toys and games, keep the kids on your list active with a gift of sporting equipment or a voucher for an outdoor activity.

For the person who has everything, why not donate to your favourite charity on their behalf? Sponsor a child or donate livestock to a village in need. Then send an
electronic greeting card, or one printed on recycled paper with details about the gift.

When wrapping gifts, go for reusable cloth gift bags instead of the paper ones, or skip bags altogether by grabbing some vintage cookie tins at your local second-hand store to use instead.

Instead of buying new rolls of chemical-laden wrap, go with what you already have at home. Use old newspapers topped with a colourful ribbon or bow. If your child has an artistic streak, add a personal touch to Grandma's gift by reusing their finger paintings. Reuse old Christmas cards to create brand new gift tags, and keep any wrap or bows you receive to reuse next year.

Green Quote:

"Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind".
- Mary Ellen Chase