A ‘Green’ Christmas

A Green Christmas

The holidays are here and even in minus 10 degree weather, I feel all kinds of Christmas cheer. I haven’t seen a ‘white’ Christmas in a few years, and my ‘tree’ has been nothing more than a tropical hangout for all the town iguanas. This year, I am excited to strap up my snow boots, get to the decorating and enjoy some quality time with the fireplace.

I have unintentionally done a ‘zero waste’, ‘minimalist’ Christmas every year in Costa Rica since 2016. I’d spend about 5 days camping by the river, catching food, taking naps and surfing the perfect waves at the Little Hawaii break that so magically showed up every Christmas morning.

Now that I am back in Montreal, figuring out how to ditch the endless wrapping paper, ribbons and bows feels like a bit of a daunting task, so I have done all the brainstorming for those who’d like to make this holiday a green one too.

The gift giving part.

A gift for the ones you love, and the planet too. Whether it is something handmade, ethically sourced, or something that will help someone do some good – like a zero waste starter kit to refuse single-use plastic perhaps – ensuring it is not adding to the mountain of ‘stuff’ just for the sake of ‘giving’ is a good place to start.

Some more ideas? Shampoo bars, bamboo cutlery, guitar lessons or don’t buy any gifts and do an activity together instead! After all, the best present is presence!

The wrapping of the things.

Swap out the fancy, shiny wrapping paper for these crafty alternatives:

1- Newspaper. Use the crossword section if possible, it looks quite cool.
2- Old maps. Check your glove compartment box.
2- Fabric. Check out the Japanese fabric wrapping technique – Furoshiki.
3- Mason Jars dressed up with jute or hemp ribbon!
4- Flower seed paper. Paper embedded with seeds that will sprout into flowers once the paper is planted come spring.
5- Old paper grocery bags.

For tying and taping. Brown paper tape (water activated) is the most eco-friendly, and you can replace ribbons with twine, hemp, old pieces of fabric and even makeshift bows from old newspaper.
It’s easy and a fun activity on a snowy day!

Decorating like you invented Christmas cheer.

1- Firstly, use what you have! Or see if anyone has any trinkets they would like to pass down to you, giving them a new home to be appreciated.

2- Ditch the fake plastic stuff and get excited for natures true embellishments. Leaves and pinecones make the perfect centerpiece decor, rosemary make for adorable mini wreaths and eucalyptus can be transformed into the most stylin’ garlands in the neighbourhood.

3- Get crafty. Spend a nice afternoon making dried orange ornaments, fill small mason jars with dried flowers or spices, get your DIY on.

4- Candles. Nothing brings about a sense of coziness more than candles. Buy them plastic free from a local market or make them yourself! Be sure to get natural soy candles and not Paraffin wax candles.

At the end of the day, holidays are for coming together and reminding us that our busy lives are not at the center of the universe. Having a waste-free and love-filled holiday is the ultimate goal here, and hey, I think it will unravel just as beautifully as the Furoshiki fabric wrapping I’m still figuring out how to do. 

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