This article by moi originally appeared in the staff issue of the Telus newsletter a few years ago. I thought everyone might enjoy reading it.
With everyone conscious about going green this year, we can't justify buying bags and bags of cheap decorations from the store, nor a real Christmas tree. What can we do to have a very green Christmas, yet still have an enjoyable holiday season?
Let's start with the Christmas tree, as it's the largest decoration. If you have a big yard, you can buy a live tree, decorate it for Christmas, then plant it in the back yard afterwards. If you don't want an indoor tree, then you could add lights and water-proof decorations to a tree in the front yard.
If you don't have a yard, the best bet is an artificial tree. Many of the new artificial trees look like the real thing. These can be packed up in January, and put into storage. They come in all sizes, so if you don't want a huge tree, you can choose a table-top one. You will be able to use it for years to come.
Keep an ear out for stores that are offering a big discount on new energy-efficient LED lights. You take in your old light strings and they give you a discount for a new set of lights. Different stores are running different promotions throughout the season.
Now what to do if you don't have any ornaments or decorations? The first place I would go would be the parent's house, or aunt's or uncle's homes. Since the kids are grown up and gone, they likely don't go all-out for Christmas any more and have boxes of ornaments in storage. Maybe there are some that your Granny made, cherished heirlooms which you can clean and refurbish and put on your own tree. Worn ornaments can be fixed or covered with beads, sequins, and glitter. Even a slightly tarnished ornament from the 60s would be far nicer than the plastic junk you can buy now.
If you have youngsters who will be visiting for Christmas, perhaps you could raid friend's basements for those small plastic toys that seem to get forgotten for the latest computer game. Bring a smile to your niece's or nephew's faces by adding some hangers and decorating your tree with Disney or McDonalds toys. All houses with kids seem to have a big bin of these toys that get forgotten after a while. Maybe they'll even want to play with the toys again after seeing them light up the tree.
Instead of slaving for hours over the stove (and using up valuable energy) why not make a variety of salads and fruit salads to go with the main dish? I'm sure none of us need the extra calories anyway.
I hope everyone has a Merry Green Christmas this year!