The holiday season brings a lot of joy into our homes but it can also bring a lot of extra waste. Packaging and wrapping paper, plastic toys that often aren't loved for as long as they last, it all adds to the local waste stream. The good news is that it doesn't have to. Following the principles of the ‘3R pollution prevention hierarchy'—reduce first, reuse second and recycle third—can help to reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season.

Here are some simple ways to create a holiday that's memorable in all the right ways!

Green gift ideas

  • Experiential gifts: Gift a membership or subscription to a service they enjoy, a gift card to a local restaurant, tickets to the museum or Butchart Gardens, or take them for a hike in one of our spectacular regional parks
  • Homemade gifts: Because who doesn't love a homemade gift? Examples include preserves, cookies, a knitted toque, bath salts or a painting
  • Gift your time or services: Offer to baby/pet-sit, take a few family photos or cook a meal for them
  • Gifts that are made to last: Such as heirlooms, quality camping gear or cookware
  • Low-waste gifts: Assist them in reducing waste with gifts such as reusable to-go cutlery or containers, beeswax wraps or cloth napkins
  • Second-hand gifts: Peruse online classified ads, local thrift or vintage stores for gifts

Green wrapping ideas

There are many ways to hide what’s inside without the traditional giftwrap/tape/bow combo.

  • Use materials you already have at home: Newspaper (especially the comics section), paper bags, old calendar pages or maps
  • Reuse old gift wrap/gift bags: Instead of recycling old wrapping paper and gift bags, hang on to them and reuse them the next season
  • Wrap your gift with another gift: A sweater can double as a gift and be used as an alternative to wrapping paper, or if you're wrapping a kitchen or food-themed gift, use a pretty tea towel

Additional Resources

Check out Metro Vancouver's website for more on how to celebrate with less waste this season.

  • Merry Memory Maker - gift ideas by price range
  • Wrap wise - simple, eco-friendly ways to cut down on wrapping waste
  • Decorating - ideas for reusing items and borrowing from nature
  • Food - shopping and prep to entertaining with less waste
  • After Christmas - once holidays are over - reduce, reuse, recycle