To turn a white Christmas green, I recommend the less-is-more approach – less energy use and less waste leads to more merriment.
Let’s start with good news for those craving the Clark Griswold experience: strands of LED holiday lights use between 80 to 90 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last about 10 times as long. If you haven’t already switched over, ’tis the season! Options from multicolour to “warm white” strands, which look less sterile than their initial LED predecessor, are now available for your curb-appeal pleasure. You can turn up the sparkle while dialing down the cost of your holiday hydro bill.
Inside the house, keep the decor as natural as you can. Think pine cones in wreaths, bowls and glass domes, and fallen or foraged branches and boughs tucked into a big vintage jug or vase on your front hall table for wow factor. Though faux trees and garlands can be reused year after year, they’re made from PVCs and will end up in a landfill eventually. Real trees are 100-per-cent biodegradable and closer to carbon-neutral. Plus, nothing beats the fragrance of real pine or balsam fir wafting through your home.
Instead of buying all-new ornaments in the latest trend colour, give a nod to nostalgia and pull out those frosted-glass vintage ornaments that have been in the family for decades. If your clan weren’t collectors, you can source retro baubles online or at garage sales and flea markets.
Let’s talk tabletop: Convenience is tempting when you’re hosting a crowd, but set your guests’ places with real cutlery and linen napkins – no single-use plastic or paper. A festive dinner isn’t complete without candlelight, but try to avoid paraffin candles, which are made from crude oil and emit chemicals and use pure beeswax tapers with cotton wicks to give your home that hygge ambiance.
For gift-giving, choose items with less packaging and wrap presents in recycled or recyclable paper – that alone will help cut back on the reported 25 per cent to 40 per cent spike in extra garbage over the holiday season, according to Zero Waste Canada, a B.C.-based advocacy group. Many cities will recycle plain paper as long as it doesn’t contain glitter and I tend to think brown parcel wrap, or kraft paper, looks ultra-chic. All you have to do is add a pretty reusable bow and sprig of fresh greenery. When putting the paper in your blue bin after the holidays, be sure to peel off all tape – it’s a recycling no-no.
Better still, go paper-free and make the wrapping part of the present itself. You could tie up a pair of slippers in a silk or wool scarf, use wooden clothespins and a linen tea towel to wrap a small kitchen appliance, or fill a lidded glass canister with sweet treats. … The zero-waste possibilities are endless and just as festive.
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