Yes… We are a little late in bringing you these tips from the Trout Lake Community Centre Green Committee. BUT we really hope you will read on anyway and incorporate whatever you still can. Every bit counts in our waste-filled world!

And next year, to prepare earlier, you can start anytime by surfing through online search terms like “sustainable, eco-friendly, green, Holiday Season”. It won’t be hard to find tons of creative, often inexpensive ideas shared by members from the worldwide waste reduction community.

In the meantime, here are a few quick “How to have a Greener Holiday Season” tips for those still prepping:

1 – Shop locally

Reduces the carbon emitted by shipping AND helps keep your town/neighbourhood more economically resilient.

2 – Choose greener gift ideas

  • Experiences, outings, classes, performances
  • Your time — to visit, look after pets or children, prep a meal, walk
  • Re-gifting
  • Lovingly handmade anything!

DID YOU KNOW?  Shiny, foil, or glittery paper cannot be recycled!

3 – Use more sustainable gift wrapping

  • Reusable fabric or paper gift bags
  • Kids artwork on newsprint
  • Pages from magazines, comics and such
  • Fabric that can then go back into the ‘stash’ for re-use
  • Recycled and/or gently used paper

4 – Trees

  • Investigate live potted trees
  • Be sure a cut real tree is collected for mulching
  • Aim for a ten+ year relationship if you favour an artificial tree

DID YOU KNOW? Real trees win the ‘smaller impact’ crown in the real VS artificial sustainability comparison!

Want further details about the impact of Christmas trees?

Below is a comparison previously shared on a blog by Iona Bonamis, one of Trout Lake Community Centre Association’s Board members who, surprise-surprise, sits on Trout Lake’s Green Committee! (Interested in joining one of our Committees? Get details here.)

Quick breakdown of the artificial vs. real tree issue

By Iona Bonamis

Artificial trees

  • Are typically made abroad (e.g., in China, Taiwan, and South Korea) where there are fewer environmental and labour protection regulations
  • Are made of petroleum products (PVC) that are toxic
  • Can’t be recycled
  • Use up resources in both the manufacturing and shipping processes

Real trees

  • Are grown locally
  • Can provide a natural habitat for wildlife
  • During their growth, sequester carbon dioxide
  • Can be mulched — many cities in Metro Vancouver such as Vancouver, Burnaby, Langley and Surrey will pick up your tree and mulch it for free — and eventually composted after the holiday season

If you have ample natural light within your home, you can even opt for a live potted tree!

Some good options include:

  • Norfolk pine, which need to be kept indoors year-round
  • Fir
  • Spruce
  • Pine
  • Cedar, which can be planted outside after the holiday season

If you buy a small tree in a large pot, you may be able to reuse the tree for 2- 3 years without having to plant or repot the tree. If and when you do you need to replant, transferring the tree into a larger pot will help you get a few more years out of the tree.

If you aren’t able to take care of a potted tree for the rest of the year, you can also opt to rent a holiday tree. Evergrow Christmas Trees, for example, offers potted trees you can rent, and they even deliver to your home!

So, I hope I’ve answered your questions about which is better. The obvious choice here is real trees.