Tired of the all-too-often excesses and overconsumption during the holiday season? If you want to reduce your ecological footprint during this festive period, Entraide diabétique du Québec has prepared a short list of tips to put into practice for a simple Christmas.
Natural or artificial fir tree?
In recent years, many people have been wondering which of the two options is the least damaging to the environment: a natural or an artificial fir tree. To get the answer to this question, we need to analyse the life cycle of the tree, starting with the extraction of resources, then the use of the product and lastly, its end-of-life. In the case of a natural fir tree, it improves air quality as it grows. In addition, it fully decomposes after use and most municipalities carry out a tree collection once January comes around. As for the artificial fir tree, it would have a carbon footprint up to three times greater than a natural tree. To reduce this impact, it would actually have to be used for more than 20 years! It is therefore obvious that priority should be given to a natural fir tree when making your choice. However, you may also decide not to buy a Christmas tree and simply add festive touches here and there with a few decorations.
Reduce your electricity consumption with smart lighting
During the holiday season, Quebecers’ electricity consumption increases considerably. For example, a string of 50 Christmas lights consumes up to 250 watts of electricity. It may therefore be wise to install a timer to turn on your lights according to the schedule you want. For instance, you could program the timer so that the lights go on at 5 p.m. and off around midnight. This way, you will avoid needlessly increasing your electricity bill and wasting electricity. Opting for LED bulbs is yet another little trick to reduce your electricity consumption, and don’t forget that there are solar-powered bulbs you can buy as well.
Give less, but better
To avoid ending up with a lot of gifts that you don’t really like or need, organize a gift exchange. This way, you will receive only one gift. The exchange can be theme-based, may have a dollar limit or require giving a pre-owned object.
Other ideas: Giving intangible gifts produces less waste than physical objects. Consider a spa session or treatment, theatre or show tickets, admission to a museum or to any other outing that will please your loved one. For children’s gifts, you could make your selection on websites selling pre-owned items. Sometimes you can find very inexpensive second-hand toys or clothing and often in very good condition. For your hostess gifts, consider homemade gifts: cookies, caramel spreads, candles or beauty products are all options that are bound to please and leave little waste once they are consumed! Purchasing local products to taste is also an interesting choice. In short, give priority to local shopping in order to support local businesses and avoid over-wrapped items. The idea is to buy fewer gifts, but to choose better quality ones that will last longer.
No more wrappings that end up in the garbage
When wrapping your gifts, consider using sustainable or recycled materials such as fabric, used shoe boxes or paper from magazines. If you plan ahead, keep the gift bags you receive. Tissue paper and some wrapping can also be reused. Over time, you will collect a nice assortment of used wrapping, so you won’t have to buy any needlessly.
At the table: Consider local food and long-lasting accessories
When preparing your holiday menu, consider buying local food. Some farms not only give you the opportunity to order an organic turkey in advance, but they sell a number of locally-grown vegetables as well. Quebec is also a proud producer of cheeses, which will perfectly round out your meal. To avoid waste and excess, try to estimate the amount of food to be prepared, so that you throw away as little as possible. Opt for long-lasting dishes; forget Styrofoam and cardboard plates. Once the meal is over, invite your guests to join in a small dishwashing operation. A great way to digest and chitchat! And lastly, if you can carpool with family or friends to get to the party, it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while strengthening ties.
At this beginning of December, it’s not too late to do a little weeding out in your closets to eliminate clothes you no longer want and your children’s old toys. You can then drop them off in a donation bin set up by Entraide diabétique du Québec or contact us to arrange a pick-up at home. The idea is to encourage the reuse of objects and simplify your holiday season! This will help you remember the true meaning of Christmas and avoid the frenzy of gifts and overconsumption. On behalf of the entire Entraide diabétique team, we wish you a happy holiday season!