Are you looking for ways to celebrate the holidays and be kind to the earth at the same time? It’s really not hard to do. In fact, it’s easy: just focus on experiences, not things.
Build memories, not clutter
Instead of yet another toy, consider presenting grandchildren with a special date just for the two of you – perhaps a visit to the wildlife park, a Blazers hockey game or even a “Baking with Grandma” certificate where he can help make something sweet and take the goodies home to show off and enjoy afterwards. Did you know that local studios offer children’s art classes? Others on your Christmas list might enjoy attending a concert or play with you. Get creative: just focus on time spent together rather than a physical gift.
Give the gift of your time
Offer your volunteer time during the holidays and all year long. Help to serve a holiday meal to those who wouldn’t get one otherwise – it might renew your focus on what’s important in life. Spread cheer by visiting or calling someone you haven’t talked to in a long time. If they’re far away, use the magic of video conferencing to see each other on the screen! Use the Christmas season to strengthen connections with loved ones and with your community.
Enjoy the great outdoors
Make the most of the season and get your dose of winter sunlight! Skiing, tobogganing or simply going for a walk will bring a smile to your face. Invite a bunch of people, bring some hot chocolate, and voilá! You’ve got a merry event with little preparation and no clean-up!
Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
Give yourself a break -- don’t feel obligated to give all those gifts. You can organize a gift pool so everyone gives one gift instead of many. Make a donation to charity instead of buying a gift. Keep the holiday lights to a minimum and make sure they’re energy-efficient LED lights. Re-gifting is perfectly acceptable now, and of course gift wrap can be reused. Colourful cartoons also make great wrapping paper, or consider fabric or paper gift bags which can be used over and over.
Keep it local
If you must buy a gift, support local merchants and aim for something made in Canada with minimal packaging. Local food products or items made of traditional materials make great gifts. Keep in mind the shops that support local growers or sustainably caught seafood – most offer gift certificates. Feature local foods as much as possible in your holiday meals. Minimize travel; you can stay close to home and have fun with people wherever you are.
So keep it simple and enjoy the music and fellowship of this time of renewal.
The Kamloops BCSEA wishes all of you a safe and happy holiday season!