Keeping It Simple, Happy and Green for the Holidays.

My car smells like the holidays.  The fragrance of freshly cut boughs has brought back memories of Christmas as a child and how simple pleasures can make the season beautiful.  Here's some of our favorite ways to enjoy a more healthy, happy and sustainable holiday season.

Buy local and steer clear of the mall.  Homemade, locally-made or fair-trade gifts keep you out of the craziness of malls and get you out into your community. Try doing all your shopping on foot - what local business is around the corner and can add personality to your gift giving this year?

LED lights.  Who doesn't love the look of Christmas lights?   LED (light emitting diodes) lights are the most power-saving and smart solution since they don't burn out, are free of toxic chemicals and materials and are 100% recyclable.  They are rugged, great for indoors or outside in our climate and produce very little infrared light or UV emissions.  If you haven't made the switch yet...please do!  

Make the tree real.  Research by Well Ellipsos has confirmed that a real tree is the more sustainable choice in comparison to artificial options.  The greenest option is a living tree like a potted Norfolk pine that you can use every year.  Having said that, if you have an artificial tree and give it good care it should last 20 years when it will surpass the real tree in terms of its impact on climate change and resource depletion.

invest in reusable and natural decorations. There is nothing festive or merry about toxic plastic decor, tinsel or artificial snow.  Build beautiful memories with long-lasting and non-toxic products made from natural wood, ceramic, felt or up-cycled products or materials.

Less is more.  Celebrate the holidays AND take a break from consumption!  Carefully select treasures or give gift cards for services that improve a loved ones life to create a holiday that celebrates kindness.

Give back to the earth.  Start a family tradition of giving back to the earth and instilling sustainable living values with your family.  A peaceful walk through nature on Christmas day will be remembered and valued while piquing everyone's appetites for the feast ahead.  Bird-friendly gifts like suet, seed bells or feeders full of mixed seed types can be part of an annual tradition of decorating a tree in your yard.  Enjoy watching the birds from your kitchen window and be sure to keep the feeders full until spring.

No matter what holiday you celebrate....may the common themes of love, joy, beauty and peace on earth make your days memorable.

Colleen Alexander

Colleen Alexander offers tailored human resource solutions to organizations who want to build capacity, strengthen internal capabilities and increase employee engagement. Individuals seeking professional career transition services benefit from Colleen's expertise and extensive network in seeking a new job or career. Colleen's management consulting background includes writing winning proposals and grant applications, customer surveys and marketing. Colleen is the Founder and Creative Director of The She Shed (www.thesheshed.ca).