Thompson Rivers University

Twelve Days of Sustainability: Holiday Edition

December 16, 2014

The holiday season can be a fun and busy time with shopping, travelling, and spending time with family and friends. Unfortunately, with all the gift-giving and celebrating comes more consumption and garbage than at other times of the year. But don’t despair because amidst all the flying paper, ribbons, and bows, it is possible to green-up the holidays while not cutting back on the fun.

“We can all make choices to help cut back, save money and make this time of year more sustainable,” says James Gordon, environmental programs and research coordinator for TRU’s Office of Environment and Sustainability. “Together we can all take small — little actions — to help make this holiday season a little bit more sustainable.”

Learn more about the Environment and Sustainability efforts TRU is committing to as part of its recently-released Strategic Sustainability Plan covering 2014-19.

With little actions in mind, the elves in the Sustainability department have been in the workshop re-designing the holiday classic The Twelve Days of Christmas into The Twelve Days of Sustainable Holidays. What follows is their bulleted list, with an expanded-upon list at their news blog.

Day 1 — Replace indoor and outdoor Christmas lights with LED Christmas lights.

Day 2 — Rent or buy a locally-grown or locally-cut Christmas tree. Better yet, use a potted tree.

Day 3 — Stay warm this winter with a favourite holiday sweater.

Day 4 — Instead of buying a lot of gifts, support a local family in need.

Day 5 — Save energy by using a timer for indoor and outdoor lights.

Day 6 — Give it a go and try making Christmas gifts: knitting, crocheting, or baking. Not up for it? Go shopping for locally-made gifts.

Day 7 — Carpool with friends and family to shopping, parties, gatherings, and outings.

Day 8 — Cut back on plastic and paper bags by taking reusable shopping bags when holiday shopping.

Day 9 — Reduce landfill waste by using regular cutlery and dishes instead of single-use items.

Day 10 — Cut back on wrapping paper by using newspapers, old magazines, or cloth to wrap gifts. If using paper wrapping, remember to recycle it afterwards.

Day 11 — Make meals with left-overs and compost scraps rather than throwing food in the garbage.

Day 12 — Remember what the season is all about: spending time with loved ones. So bundle up, get outside and spend time with family and friends. Take a walk around the neighbourhood, go tobogganing, skating, or build a snowman.


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