Green Christmas by Of Houses and Trees | Make this year a green Christmas by reusing, recycling and, most importantly, reducing. Here are five ways to do just that!I hate throwing things away. Many times I’ve caught myself hovering an item over the trash. An item most wouldn’t hesitate to call “garbage,” but that I can’t seem to let go. “Can it be reused? Recycled? Made into a hat?” (I’m convinced that all garbage can somehow be made into a hat.) I’ve been known to rant for tens of minutes about what is and isn’t allowed in our blue bag. “What do you mean you can’t recycle pickle jars? What – I’m just supposed to throw them out?”

For me, no time of the year is this more painful than at Christmas.

The wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, the live Christmas trees, the tinsel, the plastic and cardboard packaging on gifts, the leftovers we meant to eat, but then we just couldn’t stomach mashed potatoes for another day. (Okay, maybe I’m reaching here because, really, who throws out mashed potatoes?) Of course, these things come from a well-meaning place – and only grinches bemoan presents, decorations and feasts, right?

Maybe I truly am a grinch. Maybe I’m even worse, because at least the grinch, after realizing Christmas doesn’t come from a store, still merrily returns the paper ensconced gifts to all the little Whos – never once worrying if there’s an eco centre in Whoville. Certainly, I’ll happily participate in the exchange of gifts, but when it comes to throwing things away this (and every) season, I’ll be anything but merry.

This Christmas, let’s do all the usuals. Give. Receive. Love. Eat. But let’s also do something else. Let’s think about this beautiful planet we live on and give thanks for all its wonders by reusing, recycling and, most importantly, reducing.

Give Experiences, Not Things

This is one of my favourite ways to reduce waste and green Christmas. Instead of a gift, inside a box, inside a bag, give a loved one a simple gift card for a dinner out, classes at their favourite yoga studio or a night in a nice hotel. Or give them a handmade coupon book filled with things you can do for them to make them smile. Bonus points if the gift card is for an eco-friendly establishment!


Perhaps once a tacky practice, I feel (or maybe just wish) regifting has become more acceptable. My mind immediately goes towards presents for kids, as I think most of them really wouldn’t care if their gifts are brand new –  as long as they’re new to them. For example, my daughters are getting my old dollhouse for our eco-friendly Christmas this year. I know they’ll be ecstatic. And I’ll be ecstatic watching them play with a beloved toy from my childhood.

Shop Local

If you’re going to buy new, then buy new from small, local businesses. This keeps your money in your community, supports people just like you and reduces the carbon footprint of your gifts since they have a shorter distance to travel. However, if you do want to do some online shopping, try going through Etsy as it supports small local businesses in other towns and cities – some of whom love themselves a green Christmas as much as I do. Check out my Etsy gift guide featuring eco-friendly Christmas gifts.

Make Less Food

A controversial suggestion. I mean, what is the holiday season without the FOOD. Well, it’s a lovely time spent with family and friends being thankful that we have each other and any food at all. If your family and friends are anything like mine, there is always way too much food, which leads to overeating, feelings of regret and – inevitably – waste. You don’t need to make five different kinds of Christmas cookies, three different salads and two kinds of stuffing. Make one of each. Enjoy. Move on.


When all is said and done and we’re left with wonderful memories, a sugar hangover and the boxes and bags and packaging, take those boxes, bags and packaging and turn them into something new. I’ve already started saving the toy boxes from early Christmas gifts for my daughters and am planning on using them for crafts in the New Year. Sustainable… and fun!

Have any ideas about using the three Rs to create an environmentally friendly Christmas? Feel free to share them in the comments! Don’t forget to subscribe for posts on architecture, interior design, DIY projects, sustainability, gardening, home decor and healthy eating.

Note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase a small percentage of the sale goes to yours truly. Please know that I only link to products that are good for the earth, good for the soul, or both!


Green Christmas | Make this year a green Christmas by reusing, recycling and, most importantly, reducing. Here are five ways to do just that!

Posted December 3, 2017v

Former architectural technologist. Current treehugger.

I’m here to help you green your home – and your life.


Plant a tree with Click a Tree. It really is that easy!

Like what you’re seeing? If so, please consider supporting Of Houses and Trees on Patreon – and get a few perks for yourself!

Subscribe to the Of Houses and Trees monthly newsletter and I’ll send you my FREE list of “The 8 Best Places to Buy Eco-Conscious Decor Online.”

Here are a just a few eco-conscious items I own and love.  Visit the Sustainable Products page for more!

Find out more about our 40 acres of land in Parkland County, Alberta and the sustainable home we built amongst the trees.

5 Ways to Green the Holidays Without Being a Grinch
Tagged on:         

4 thoughts on “5 Ways to Green the Holidays Without Being a Grinch

  • December 4, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Gift me your left over mashed potatoes. You will make a friend for life.

    • December 6, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Done and done.

  • December 28, 2017 at 10:10 am

    The food thing is always difficult….especially when you’re the host, you want to make sure there is enough food for everyone….which inevitably turns out that there is too much food for everyone. Not sure how to fix that scenario other than encouraging people to bring containers and take home some leftovers….ugh!!! that is if you ever want to eat again, which most of us have sworn not too.

    • December 29, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      It’s so hard to judge how much to make that’s for sure. Encouraging people to take leftovers is a good way to deal with extra food. Also, freezing yourself little meals or reusing leftovers like turkey (if you eat meat) to make soup or casserole after the holidays… just like my mama used to do 😉 Thanks so much for the comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.