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Green Christmas

Going Green over the Holidays

Did you know that up to 25% more waste is generated during this season than at any other time of the year?

You can enjoy the festive season by taking inspiration from these holiday ideas which won’t cost the earth. Your family can go green and perhaps save some green as well:


Give a gift certificate for a day trip to one of our wonderful National Parks in 2017.  To celebrate our country's 150 birthday, 2017 passes are free!
Promise to pack a picnic and make it fun.
   Decorate with fresh evergreen boughs, fruit and pine cones.  You can save the pine cones for next year and compost the rest after the holidays!
 A great gift for children to give to their grandparents (or parents) and it doesn't cost any money! Have them make up a gift certifcate for a tutorial on all the features of the grandparents computer, or to show them all the cool apps for their phones.  The kids will love getting to be the teacher for a change.  

Give the gift of reading! Host a book exchange and give the invitation as a gift at Christmas.

Have some tasty hot treats to warm up a January evening and have everyone bring some favourite books that they are willing to share and swap with others. You'll have fun exchanging stories of why you found a certain book compelling and why others should read it. 

Buy your books second hand in the first place and you'll really be following the REUSE rule!

Include your children or grandchildren in your Christmas charitable giving. Have them help pack a bag for the foodbank and deliver it.  Get their input on toys to donate to a toy drive. They may even offer to pitch in part of their allowance to pay for some toys.

Show them the CBC Harbour Lights tree and explain that each bulb lit up represents a $2 donation to the regions Food Banks. Even a young child can donate two dollars to a cause that captures their heart. 
 Create a family tradition of planting a tree together.  Choose a tree the same height as one of your young family members and they will always remember that both started out as the same height. Watch who grows taller over the years!  

Charity shops find that donations are slow during the holiday season.  As you go through your closets looking for last years wrapping paper, weed out some items that can be donated.

While you are dropping off your items you can browse for Christmas presents and practice the 'REUSE' part of Reduce Reuse Recycle! 

Give the gift of Green!
Create a gift basket that helps someone in your life become greener.  Pack it with a reusable water bottle, a travellors coffee mug, a colourful lunch bag with reusable containers inside...  Start a green trend!
 Lead the way with LED lights. They are up to 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours – that’s an amazing 20 years for seasonal light strings.

Send e-cards. If your loved ones don’t have email, buy greeting cards made from recycled stock or make cards from old ones.
Decorate a tree in your yard as a Christmas present for the birds!  Put up suet balls and seed bags or trays and watch the birds add colour to your trees!
Shop at charity shops for childrens clothing.  Many of these pre-loved items have never been worn, especially clothing for infants.  Children grow so fast and the clothing may have been bought originally in the wrong size for the wrong season. Young children will neither know nor care if an article of clothing is pre-loved!  

Phone ahead to stores to make sure your gift item is in stock, so you don’t waste gas driving all over town. For out of town presents, consider ordering on-line. Gifts can be packaged and shipped locally, saving you mailing money, and saving transportation costs.

Don’t forget your reusable bags when shopping. As a bonus, they’re ideal for concealing gifts as you bring them into the house!

Have friends join you for a Sunday dinner in January instead of exchanging gifts.

Create a cookbook of family favourite recipes. Take photos of the meals as you prepare them during the year.

Cook for those you love. Fresh baked cookies or homemade pickles make wonderful gifts.

Give an experience as a gift this year.

Go snowshoeing
as a family. Try DayTripping at Rockwood Park and rent your equipment.

Give a gift certificate for a walk in a local park and you will supply the thermos of hot chocolate.

Bring out the child in your adult friends by organizing an afternoon of toboganning.

 Offer a service as a gift, such as babysitting (parents will love you!), small home repairs, or house cleaning.
Choose presents with less packaging, buy event tickets and gift certificates, or make a donation to charity in another’s name.


Give gifts that promote environmental responsibility, such as reusable travel mugs, bus passes, and stationery with recycled content. Or provide a green magazine subscription or book to spread the message about protecting the earth. 

Stock up on rechargeable batteries, a great gift idea that keeps giving even after the holidays.

 Avoid wrapping paper. Wrapping paper cannot be recycled at the Recycling Depots. Please place all gift wrap in the garbage. Or try these ideas instead:

* Place your gift in a re-usable shopping bag, so the bag becomes part of your gift.
* Decorate old cereal or shoe boxes by pasting on images from last year’s holiday cards.
* Sew cloth bags, decorate with fabric paint, and reuse them every year.
* Wrap your gifts with cloth or tea towels and safety pins.
* Wrap presents with the funny papers or brown paper. Then recycle the paper.

If everyone in Canada wrapped just three presents in reused paper or cloth gift bags, we would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.

 Shipping a gift? Reuse the foam peanuts from another package, or use unbuttered popcorn for packing. Remember ~ Styrofoam cannot be recycled.

 Make room for new stuff by cleaning out closets and donating used items to charity.


Use reusable plates, cutlery, etc. and cloth napkins instead of paper when entertaining. If you must use disposable items, choose paper over Styrofoam, and remember to compost the paper plates and napkins.

 After the holidays, compost your holiday tree. (see Christmas Trees)

Take your cardboard, paper, boxboard, metal, plastic bags, and rigid plastic items to the local Recycling Blue Bins.
Save gift wrap, bows, ribbons, and cards etc. for next year.


Give a gift of a family membership. Spend the summer outdoors with a membership to our National parks including Fundy National Park for only $78.50!

Or bring the family to the New Brunswick Museum on rainy days! There is lots for kids and adults to do and a family membership is only $54.00 including tax.


Partake in the original recycling.  It is very classy! Browse in antique and vintage stores for beautiful old jewellery or antiques.  What is old is new again!