Submitted by Bonnie White,member of Creston Climate Action Society
Welcome to the winter holiday season! However you chose to celebrate, there are many ways to make this time of year more sustainable, earth friendly, and less hectic. Here are some great tips to make a difference!
Use a potted or live tree that has been cut. A potted tree can be planted later to beautify your yard and produce oxygen. A live cut tree can be chipped to make compost for your garden. Both options help keep more waste and plastic out of the landfills!
Have a family craft day and make your own decorations out of evergreen boughs and other natural items like pine cones, twigs, and orange slices. Head out for a walk to collect items where it is permitted (bonus exercise!) and spend the day getting creative! Try making your own wrapping paper out of brown paper with stamps and use greenery with twigs and pine cones in place of bows and ribbon. Have the kids make homemade gift tags for a more personal touch. Use fabric and towels or re-useable gift bags for wrapping. Again, less plastic and throw-aways for the garbage. Many of the cheap Christmas decorations are made in developing nations where the employees are not treated well and are forced to work under horrible and unsafe conditions. There are many hidden costs connected to cheap items such as damage to the environment, inadequate worker wages and rights, and transportation miles. Let’s not support this!
Please use LED lights wherever possible and have them on a timer so they are not on all night.
Think quality, not quantity. Instead of a frenzy of gifts that many open and then forget about by the next day, focus on one or a few items that will last and stay out of the landfill. Most of us don’t need a whole bunch more stuff! Shop local to support our amazing stores here in Creston and all over the Kootenays. Trade items between families. Swap clothes with a friend for a party. Purchase experiences such as movie tickets, rec centre passes, zip lining or cave tours, admissions to hot springs…use your imagination to tailor a gift to the receiver’s interests.
If possible, purchase used items. For one Christmas, my husband and I challenged ourselves to only buy gifts from a thrift store and it was a lot of fun!
Another great option is to make donations to charities or other causes that are meaningful to you.
The winter season is meant to be a break from our busy lives and give us some time to rest and rejuvenate before springtime! This is part of the natural cycle of the earth and our environment, that everything has a rest before the next season starts.
We have the power to choose how our holiday time will be. Explain what you are doing to friends and family to help inspire them too. Go for a Christmas Day family walk and look for birds while burning some holiday calories. Slow down, be present in the moments, and take the time to savour the season. Connect with nature. Simplify, relax, breathe, and enjoy… this isn’t meant to be a stressful time. Our pursuit of materialism and unrealistic expectations can put a damper on this time of year and have lots of negative impacts for the planet. We can make a difference with our daily choices!
Please like our page on Facebook and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories about how you had a more sustainable holiday season this year.
Happy Holidays and all the best in 2023 to you all from the Creston Climate Action Society! Thank you for reading and all that you do to make a difference!