Christmas – has it become an unhealthy holiday?

Noël © cc Flickr (Joe Buckingham)
Christmas – has it become an unhealthy holiday?

The holiday period’s a time for celebrations, for get-togethers, for abundance – and even superabundance! But has Christmas possibly become unhealthy? Here are a few suggestions for restoring a more streamlined character to your holiday.

Greenhouse stars

Christmas lights are often too intense and they shine in every direction, especially towards the sky instead of the ground. They’ve become the pet hate of astronomers because they interfere with observation of the stars, the most visible of which, at this time of year, are unfortunately found at the tops of Christmas trees! In addition to causing light pollution, Christmas lights add considerably to your energy consumption. Here are some tips to help you lower your electric bill :

  • Shorten the period in which you light up your decorations, for example by waiting until December before turning them on;
  • Connect your Christmas lighting to a timer, since what’s the point of leaving them on all night;
  • Use LED bulbs. According to Hydro-Québec, these bulbs consume an average of 90 percent less energy than ordinary bulbs and last seven times longer.

A Christmas with zero tolerance for trash

Are you inviting more people over than you have plates in your cupboard? Not partial to the concept “bring your own wine”? Then what do you think of the concept “bring your own plate”? Disposable plates and cutlery constitute an important part of the volume of trash produced during the Christmas meal. Whatever you do, avoid disposable dishware made of plastic number 6, since this particular plastic, polystyrene, does not get recycled in Québec. When putting together your menu, think about local and fair-trade products. In order to avoid waste, try to estimate exactly how much you’ll need, and if there’s a lot left over, share it either with your guests or with an organization like La tablée des chefs, which can pick it up and redistribute it. You can also offer it directly to the homeless. If you’re going out for the evening, consult the list of restaurants available on the Tourisme Montréal website with sustainable practices.

Christmas trees: Is real or fake best?

The choice of tree often comes up in discussions. For the straight goods, I invite you to read my post Un arbre de Noël naturel ou artificiel?

A social and community-minded Christmas

And on the subject of your Christmas presents, try not to go overboard: buy less, choose local and ethical products, and think about offering useful and lasting gifts. For some advice on purchasing responsibly, have a look at my post Acheter vert coûte-t-il plus cher? Barter. A number of bartering activities are organized before Christmas. Exchange toys or any other object that someone else can use. To learn if a bartering activity is being organized in your neighborhood, consult the website Troc-tes-Trucs.Donate, reach out to people. Give to food banks or donation centers. For wrapping your presents, bear in mind that there are lovely reusable bags. If you receive wrapped gifts, reuse the paper. Tear pages from magazines or newspapers to create original wrapping. And why not offer children a present hidden in a cereal box? To avoid disappointment, make sure they’ll prefer the gift they find over the cereal! It’s the best time to get back to basics –largely by reducing the basics!

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