14 December 2009

Maybe Scrooge is just misunderstood

So you may say “Bah, humbug” to the title alone, but perhaps Mr. Dickens was onto something more than just a famous Christmastime tale. Don’t we all value saving a little money? Keeping the temperature down in the office is an excellent energy saving tactic that saves money and also helps reduce greenhouse gases. Working by natural candlelight does too. From this story we can take away new meaning from its lesson of generosity and sharing. Make this holiday season one of giving back. Not just to friends and family, but also to the planet who has given so much to you.

Get a head start on that pesky New Year’s resolution to reduce your carbon footprint this holiday season by using some of these helpful tips.

Buy Less, Give More

Christmas is the time for giving, but giving doesn’t have to be wasteful, nor does it have to be expensive! Re-gift those two identical juicers you got as wedding presents in the summer. Or how about that painting in the basement your aunt Sue just adores that you have just as a space filler? Got a great old armoire that just needs a little sanding? I bet your niece who recently started university would love that refurbished piece for her bare-bones student apartment. Struggling to find an adequate Secret Santa gift for that boss who already has everything? Make a donation in his/her name. Your mother ‘s shelves about to collapse with all the dust collectors she’s been receiving over the years? Give her the gift of experience. Send her to the spa for the day, or treat her to a snorkeling lesson in the summer. Services make great waste-free gifts for just about anyone.
Come Boxing Day and you’re ready to head to the mall in hopes of exchanging the 10th wool sweater you got without a receipt? Why not let that sweater make someone else’s day? Donate unwanted gifts to charities in need.

Keep it Simple, Be Creative
Strapped for cash this year? Or simple sick of long holiday line-ups at the mall? What better time to get in touch with your creative side! Why not make all-natural beauty products like face masks and hair conditioner? Google is your best friend for quick, simple and cheap recipes that are eco-friendly and not tested on animals. Or make a DVD for grandma with a slideshow and some music featuring the adorable grandkids she hasn’t been able to see all that much this year. There are many easy-to-use programs like Microsoft Movie Maker or Apple’s iDVD, which most computers already have installed. Get the perfect finishing touch by making homemade wrapping paper, creating personalized cards, and using old VHS and cassette tape as ribbon (the vintage look is so in!) instead of scotch tape. Making your own paper sound like too much work? How about wrapping your gift in clothe? I bet you have an old flannel shirt you haven’t worn since the 60s. Cut off the sleeves for a unique wrapping look or use the material to make a cloth bag that can be reused year after year!

Save More Than Just Money
Helping the environment is an excellent way to really get into the Christmas spirit. This year send a message to the world that you care about saving our planet. Instead of chopping down a tree, rent a carbon neutral Holiday Tree from carbonsync.ca. Carbonsync, a local business, will deliver and pick-up the beautiful potted live tree and then replant it in a habitat restoration project where they will not get cut down. Buy local products like an organic free-range turkey and organic wine, which not only reduces C02 emmissions, but also boosts rural industry. Set the mood by using less light, and burning soy, beeswax or vegetable-based candles, as they are biodegradable and made from renewable resources. Or keep it minimal with LED lights and battery-free gadgets and toys. There is lots you can do!

Imagine a world without the beautiful smell of fir trees, without the pristine white snow blanketing your lawn on Christmas Day. Imagine no chestnuts to roast on an open fire, no mistletoe to kiss your loved ones under. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same. Consider me your Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Embrace these eco-friendly Christmas practices today so we can continue to enjoy the holidays as they are, and carry on Tiny Tim’s legacy for many more years to come.

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