Friday, December 9, 2011

I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas…

Not Literally.

I love waking up Christmas morning to a world buried deep under sparkling snow. What I mean by a Green Christmas is one that is environmentally friendly and socially conscious. Last Christmas my goal was to find gifts not made in China; a very difficult feat. This year my goal is to make greener choices while shopping for and wrapping my gifts; another difficult feat.

Here are five things I found that made my Christmas greener. I hope they make your Christmas greener as well:

1) Creative wrapping:
I really dislike all the waste associated with wrapping presents. Yes, a wrapped gift is beautiful, but it’s pretty much glorified Joy to the World covered land filler. I wanted to find a way to reduce my Christmas waste and make my presents look nice at the same time. Behold, reusable Rexall shopping bags with neat designs! They were only 67 cents a bag and people will be able to use them for their Boxing Day shopping excursions. I’ve also been inspired by my friend Jessica who wraps her gifts in newspaper. I love that she’s reusing paper and if you want to make her idea festive you can use flyers advertising Christmas specials. All of the colours of the season without all the waste.

2) Gifts made in North America:
If ever I’m stuck on what to buy someone I wait till the One of a Kind Show rolls around. It’s a craft show that has everything, from fridge magnets all the way to stunning way-to-expensive art. One of the rules vendors have to abide by is everything must be made in North America. This really appeals to my socially conscious goal because I know the people displaying their wares are the people designing and making the product. A lot their wares are environmentally friendly too and if you ask them they’ll go into detail about how their crafts are made. The One of a Kind Show is not the only craft show out there, so check out your community bulletins for a local craft show near you!

3) For the fellas who have a special lady in their life:
The holidays are rife with romance. The majority of marriage proposals happen over Christmas and nothing says Happy New Year like a sparkly ring that screams “spend the rest of your life with me.” If you’re a gent looking to wow your ladylove with gems this holiday you should try Tiffany & Co. The blue box on its own will impress, but the fact that Tiffany’s is an environmentally and socially conscious company will warm her heart even more. They use ethically sourced diamonds, refuse to sell coral, petition mines they see as unsustainable and use recycled materials in their packaging (gives the blue box a whole new meaning). Check out this Tiffany & Co. campaign for all the ways they’re leading the jewelry industry to greener pastures:

4) Dressing for holiday parties:
A large part of this festive season is going out and spending time with friends and family. It’s always nice to have a swanky new dress to ring in the New Year or to wow at the office party. But you know what’s even nicer? When that dress is made from renewable resources and manufactured in the Greater Toronto Area! My favourite clothes for all my holiday parties are ones I’ve found at Miik. They’re comfortable, they’re chic and they’re made in my hometown, and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy like no sweater ever could. Last New Year’s eve I wore a black Miik dress and at my family’s Christmas dinner I wore one of their shirts and a cardi. I went to their head office at Spadina and Richmond to purchase them and was able to avoid the hectic malls. It’s a personal shopping experience like I’ve never had. While I tried on clothes that an associate was picking out for me, my boyfriend was able to sit and chat with the owner of the company over refreshments. If you want a new wardrobe for the New Year, but hate lines and crowds, Miik is where it’s at:

5)For the people who have everything:
I don’t know about you, but there’s always one person on my list that has it all. For the people who have everything, why don’t you get them the gift of giving to those who have nothing? World Vision is just one example of a charitable organization that has a gift guide for donors during this season. If you go to you can purchase farm animals, medical supplies and school supplies for communities in need. These gifts can be donated on behalf of others and you can present them with a card letting them know that a goat is providing for a family in Somalia in their name. I’ve done charitable gifts on behalf of others before and the recipients are always touched by the thought. It’s the gift that keeps on giving and often inspires more charitable donations in the future.

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