Sunday, November 18, 2007

Eco -Friendly Holiday Season

Looking for ways to simplify the holiday season? Here are some tips from local Hamiltonians on how you can curb over consumption, reduce your carbon footprint save money and celebrate the true meaning of the season!

Making wreaths or swags to adorn any door for the season out of collected pine cones and twigs etc. This is a great craft for kids at any age at after the season it can be go into the green bin or the compost. Sylvia

My family and I got overwhelmed with gifts one year and decided not to do it again. The following year, and the three years since, we have used Mission Services to find a family in need. Instead of spending the build up to the holidays running around the mall, be do our shopping for our family together in one day, and have dinner together after. On Christmas day i like to think of our family enjoying their day as we enjoy being around loved ones. OH! and this year we may try Geocaching..... Nancy

My siblings and I, along with my parents donate in each other's names, in lieu of gifts. Last year we bought goat's for my sisters and a donkey for my parents from Oxfam.

I try to buy second-hand toys, but I confess, children gift giving is still a conundrum for me.

I did just attend a 5-year-old's birthday whose Moms requested a $15 donation that Libby would take out to buy one favourite toy and donate the remainder to Cerebral Palsy. I really like that idea.


We try to wrap all gifts in reusable gift bags rather than paper. We cut up Christmas cards rec'd in previous years to make gift tags. We save and reuse tissue paper, bows, ribbon. We carpool to houses. We minimize exterior Christmas decorations. We don't keep our tree lights on when we're not home or throughout the night. We encourage donations to charities of our choice via rather than giving us gifts. We try to give to charities in others names in lieu of a gift to them.


I used to make preserves and baby spider plants and xmas card 'boxes' from used cards (which are kind of cool actually, but never knew what to put in them) and similar homemade stuff for teacher gifts.
Instead of giving each other gifts, my two daughters and I sponsor a
family at Mission Services and buy them all gifts and food for theChristmas Holidays. The two grandchildren join in too, but we do get
them a gift.

1. Pick names and place a monetary limit
2. Host a "white elephant" gift exchange with a mix of $10 and gag gifts
3. Put money toward sustainable development assistance for a family in a developing country (ie: world vision gift guide)

A few tips we do at home:
1. use newspaper to wrap gifts and then tie them up with twine or pretty ribbon.
2. reuse old Christmas cards as gift tags - just cut off the back and punch a hole through.
3. On Christmas morning have brown bags ready to receive the folded used gift wrap as you unwrap things and take them all out to the blue bin.
4. LED Christmas lights on tree and outside.
5. Put Christmas lights on timer so as not to take up so much energy.


Support local and Free Trade; Mixed Media on James st N has really neat stuff.
OPIRG McMaster has some free trade items and goodies too. Church bazaars and craft shows are nice places to support.

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