How to Green Your Christmas

Christmas time is probably the worst time of year for sticking to your environmental (and diet, and money) goals. Everywhere you go there are shiny, overly packaged things beckoning you, whispering “you deserve it, but maybe if not for you, than at least for a gift”. Here are some things to keep in mind to lighten the load on the planet this holiday season.

Make some gifts yourself.

Buy used. For this tip it’s important to know your audience. Some people might be insulted with a second hand gift, but many won’t mind, especially if it looks brand new (they might not even know).

Buy locally made goods. If you can’t make it or buy it second hand, try to find things that haven’t traveled the globe to get to you.

Give an experience. This can be anything from a zoo pass, movie tickets, or even dinner out. Extra points for actually doing the thing with the person.

Give consumables. A lot of people already have way too much stuff. Give them a bottle of wine, or some fair trade tea. Or better yet, homemade jam and cookies.

Pass by those cheap, useless ‘stocking stuffer’ items. Especially crappy little toys for kids that will break, get lost, or be forgotten about in a day.

Give to a charity on someone’s behalf. I’m a big fan of Plan Canada’s Gifts of Hope. Many of them are matched (or way more than matched) so that even a small donation makes a big difference. People really seem to appreciate this because many people want to give, but don’t have the extra money.

Lastly, (especially for parents) give quality over quantity. You could buy 20 plastic toys that are great prices and fairly disposable, or you can invest in a couple of really well constructed toys made from natural materials that will last long enough to passed down to other children.

Any one have any tips to add?