Hello Everyone! I am a University of Toronto Student taking my Master’s in Health Science in Health Administration and currently working with the fantastic Energy and Environment team. This is be my first stab at the Talkin’ Trash blog so be gentle with me…

Here are some ideas for a greener holiday!

image credit: Hotel-R
image credit: Hotel-R

  1. Can’t think of what to give someone? Why not give a gift card to their favorite store instead! This way the recipient will not be in a dilemma not knowing what to do with an unwanted gift but would really appreciate the gesture more since it will be useful for them to give themselves a gift they need or want. No wrapping necessary (except for the small card –optional) and fits any budget from $5 coffee cards to unlimited $$$! You can also give a donation to a charity (like a hospital) on a person’s behalf – good for people who have it all!

    Donations do good and feel good. Image credit: Oklahoma Able Tech
    Donations do good and feel good. Image credit: Oklahoma Able Tech
  2. Do group gifts instead of buying individually-As they say quality is better than quantity. Less hassle, less waste, better gifts!
  3. Not sure what to do with old holiday cards you’ve received? Here are some ideas from people who’ve done it
    • use cards for a collage that can be framed as art

      Holiday Card Art
      Holiday Card Art
    • cut out portions of the card to be used as a gift tag
    • use the cut-out cards as additional tree trimmings

      Card Tree! Image credit: craftsnthings.com
      Christmas Card Tree! Image credit: craftsnthings.com
    • roll in papier mâché that can be used as trimmings.xmas-1
  4. You can also re-use holiday bags for your gifts next year. Think about it…you’ll never have to buy them ever again…you just keep re-using the bags you receive!
  5. Go online shopping instead of stepping on the gas to go to the malls- This will not only save you time, hassle and a lot of gas but also saves on a lot of stress of not having to deal with crowds and aggravated traffic during the holidays. Use your free time to de-stress instead and spend with loved ones. Sometimes, you can even get better deals from online than from shopping at the store! Best of all, most will deliver for free or a small fee (which is not even comparable to your gas usage!)
  6. Replace your festive lights with LEDs (if you haven’t done so yet!). They no longer cost significantly more than the regular incandescent bulbs and last way longer and consume a lot less energy! Frankly I find them to have a better look too!

    Whatever you celebrate, LED light it up
    Whatever you celebrate, LEDs light it up for Christmas, Diwali, Hanuka and more
  7. Use timers on any decorations that use energy. If you turn them on only about 5 hours daily compared to 12, well, you do the math on energy savings…

    Typical outdoor timer can save big bucks on festive lights.
    Typical outdoor timer can save big bucks on festive lights.
  8. Use green trimmings whenever possible. You can either make them yourself (see idea #4) or buy local from fair trade suppliers.
  9. Have a “green” feast – Avoid the use of disposables and if necessary, use reusable (best!) or recyclable materials for your plates, napkins, etc. If you’re not fond of the long-cooking turkey, try having chicken instead or some other entrée that doesn’t take too long to cook. Also, carpool when going to events instead of driving alone.

I am absolutely certain there are more holiday green ideas out there. If you do know of more, please feel free to share! After all, ‘tis the season for giving and sharing! Remember, every small action we do to protect the environment helps! Have a safe and wonderful “green” holiday and a fantastic 2017 to all!


For more holiday cheer at Talkin’ Trash see here, and here, and here.