Waste and Wonder, 7 Sustainability Tips for Christmas

man in santa claus costume

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Christmas is fast approaching, and like lots of families, we find our budget not only stretched, but when people ask what we would like for Christmas, they’re met with a long uuuhhhhh… We don’t need anything. Our wants are whimsical wishes like, a lottery win, so we can travel, pay off our mortgage and set up a university fund for our goddaughter!

Some of the strangest gifts I’ve received in the past were, toilet paper that looked like American money, a calendar with fish and quotes about fish, and a shovel (we live in an apartment). Don’t get me wrong, gifts are wonderful and I know for kids, Christmas is that time when they might get that remote control car, but ask yourself, do you need to spend $25.00 on a pumpkin spice scented candle?

Then there’s the wrapping (I’m heading back to the garbage room here, read my first post if this makes no sense). Christmas wrapping. You better make sure you’re the first one into that recycling room, because if not you will need a ladder to climb to the top of the paper pile to add yours to the bin. What a waste.

So here’s 7 sustainability tips for Christmas:

1. Keep the tissue paper or gift bags that arrive from Amazon, come from gift baskets in the run up to Christmas and use it for wrapping paper. If you have to ship gifts, keep the boxes too!

2. Save the Colourful Christmas ads from the newspapers or reuse old comics as wrapping paper.

3. I have a friend with a big family, so rather than buying his adult siblings a random ornament or gift, he writes them a letter and invites them to spend the day with him doing an activity and having lunch, so they can connect and catch up one on one.

4. Give something handmade, like a chutney, jam, baking etc. It’s easier than you think and people will love the personal touch, knowing that you went to the trouble of making something specifically for them.

5. Give vouchers by you! Instead of a plastic gift card, make up your own vouchers personalized to the person you’re gifting. For example: A night of Free babysitting, An afternoon of gardening, Dog walking hours. Be creative and try to come up with something unique for them.

6. Re-gift. It might not sound too classy, but people are more open to it than ever. Give something in good condition that is not being used, you’ll be de-cluttering and saving it from the scrap heap.

7. Buying for someone who seems to have everything? Consider a charitable gift. Sites like FH Canada have fab selections of gifts that make a big difference in the lives of people in places across the globe. You can even buy that sibling who is always sending the poo emoticon a Piece of Crap!

What are your ideas for Christmas sustainability? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Happy Holidays!

Dementors and Moon Snails

What the heck, our garbage recycling room looks like one of the floating islands in the Pacific Ocean! Garbage and plastic everywhere, no pick-ups and a provider refusing to take the bins unless they are properly sorted. Who puts a loaf of bread in a glass bin?!?

Up to my ears in refuse, I ask myself “how did it come to this?” We waded through garbage and recycling for a little over and hour before stopping, covered in filth and sweat, we reflected both on the inability of our building to properly sort trash, and also how much was in the dumpster that could have been up-cycled and reused.

That night we fixed three chairs, 2 lamps and a kid’s swing and gave them away on craigslist.

Sipping a cold one in our apartment we looked around and tried to list the stuff we have duplicates of. Can openers, pizza slices, and a couple of craft beer books. Appliances we don’t use and don’t need. It became clear that we are drowning in clutter which is weird because we’re not materialistic people. I am guilty of hording items that “might be useful” at some point in the future, but no one needs two can openers!

By drink three we were determined that we were going to change all this and purge, donate, fix, up cycle and learn how to live more cleanly. I was also determined to have a shower, the stench of the garbage room lingered like a dementor in a playground, and dinner was on the horizon.

We’re both creative people, and we like to work together. There is something satisfying about working with your own hands creatively in this age of screens and keyboards. We are one of those couples who are always talking about the changes we should be making to live clean, but we go to work in offices where we sit in a cubical trying to make the world a better place from behind a screen, while increasing the chances of carpel tunnel.

The following night over supper outside, I carved my first spoon from a piece of firewood and voila! Moon Snail Creative launched with gusto. By gusto, I mean we opened an Instagram account, and by launched, I mean we had no plan other than to be creative, research cleaner living and eat less meat. It may sound like no plan at all, but true to the “creative” part of our partnerships title, it gave us the freedom to fashion a plan from our experiments and mistakes.