12 Days of Christmas

Posted on December 14, 2017

It’s that time of year again and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or just some time with friends and family, here are 12 ways to green your holiday cheer!

12. Get a real tree. It sounds counter-intuitive, but artificial trees are made with imported PVC, are non-recyclable, and may only last 7-9 years. If you have an artificial tree, by all means get as much use out of it as you can, but when it’s time to replace it, look to getting a living tree. A live tree is grown for that purpose, gives oxygen while alive, and can be composted after the season.

11. Shop smarter. You can make the season greener by giving gifts that are homemade, by doing a gift exchange where you only buy for one person, buying consumable goods like food, or buying local. Check out our blog on ethical shopping, look atlocal shopping guides, or head to a local grocery or brewery for consumable gifts! We also have online green gifts!

10. Decorations. Making your own decorations, exchanging with friends and family, and re-purposing other decorations are all ways to save your money and the environment.

9. Turn down the thermostat. Only 2 degrees lower will save you lots of energy and on your energy bills! Just make sure your furnace has a new filter, too, and get out the blankets and sweaters for being around the house!

8. Don’t idle the car. When you’re out shopping, idling the car to warm it up seems convenient but it really harms our clean air. Wear a good coat, carpool (warm bodies warm the car), and scrape your windows instead of waiting for them to thaw out.

7. Reuse Cards. If you have old holiday cards, use them to create new cards to send to family and friends. See how many years in a row to can send the same card back and forth, or cut them up to make entirely new cards!

6. Have a green party. Spending time with friends and family is what the season is all about, and we have a few tips for making it green. Simple things, like letting guests know where you want them to put their waste, can make big differences! Check out some tips and an event greening guide here.

5. Change up your light display. LED lights are a game-changer, and switching your light display over to all LEDs is a huge win for the environment and your electric bill. But, you can also reduce the size of your light display, and put it on a timer so that it’s only on when people might see it. These strategies will keep the cost to you and the environment down.

4. Pick the right wrapping paper. When giving gifts, you can make the whole process greener by skipping the wrap, using recycled or upcycled wrap (like old newsprint), or cloth bags. Check out this video for to see a comparison of holiday wrappings!

3. Make a donation. Whether in someone else’s name or not, making a donation to a charity or cause you care about is a great way to make a gift. Charities rely on holiday giving each year and even giving a small donation can be a big boon to them. You also keep other materials out of the waste stream, like packaging! If you’re interested in giving to Green Calgary, you can find our donation page here.

2. Be conscious about your food. Food is a major part of social gatherings and holidays, but here planning is key to not throwing away too much. Even though you can now easily divert your organics to a compost program, this is still a waste of perfectly good food and money. Plan ahead for your food, and buy local, quality ingredients. This way, you can reduce how much goes in the compost bin, while supporting local business!

1. Connect with nature. If you’re looking for things to do with family and friends, why not connect with the nature all around us? You can gosnowshoeing, hiking, winter cycling, skiing/snowboarding, and ice skating all within Calgary! If those don’t appeal to you, engage in your own little citizen science project and go for a walk and try to see how many different species of birds you can find! You could even make it a competition! Try eBird or NatureLynx for ideas or to actually help scientists!

Make your December a time of kindness and generosity, to each other and to our home. We share this city and this planet with many others (humans, plants, and animals all) and this is a great time to show you care. This is your last chance for the year to make sure #EveryActionCounts! Do something great – big or small – and let us know about it on Twitter or Facebook!

Happy Holidays!