How to have a more eco-friendly holidays!
When the holiday season rolls around, even the most conscious shopper can sometimes throw their mindful habits out the window. We have dinners to plan, gifts to buy, and relatives to visit... all while trying to stay on top of work, family life, relationships, and your own needs.
Take a deep breath, relax, and spare a moment to plan. It's pretty easy to still make more environmentally friendly, mindful choices during the holidays!
Edmontonians are lucky to have year-round farmers’ markets that provide us with fresh produce, baking, jams, and desserts all through the winter. Instead of visiting a chain supermarket, visit a farmers’ market. This not only stimulates the local economy by supporting homegrown vendors, but it also means you’re making mindful purchases.
Make a day of it and visit us at a farmers’ market on a Saturday morning. St. Albert Christmas market will be running each Saturday until December 16th inclusive. Old Strathcona Market and the Downtown City Market (now in City Hall) will be running strong throughout the winter. You can find a list of all the other Edmonton markets here!
Get to know the people behind the stand. When you make a purchase from the farmers' market, you're supporting someone's passion and buying something that you know was grown or made with love. There are also great locally-made gift options to be found at farmers' markets! This can make a huge environmental impact, as your purchases haven't had to travel across the country (sometimes the world).
Bring your bags and jars!
If you are looking for more speciality items or you just can’t make it to a farmers’ market, you can still make an environmentally friendly choice by bringing your own produce bags, shopping bags, and jars to your grocery store.
Most people already bring their own reusable shopping bags, which shows the times, they are a’changing. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to stand in line at the grocery store and watch everyone turn down plastic bags?! Go one step further and bring your own produce bags. These can easily be made from scraps of fabric, but can also be purchased at local, independent grocery stores (or via Amazon if you’re in a pinch!).
When bringing jars, make sure you visit customer service beforehand so they can properly tare out the weight of your jar. Then you can visit the bulk section and fill up on all the nuts, grains, pasta, and flour you want! This is such an easy way to eliminate extra packaging and plastics. A bonus is that you’ll get exactly the amount of dry goods you need… and you won’t have extra chestnuts sitting in your cupboard long after Christmas.
Make your own gifts!
Handmade gifts can make a statement. They can also be incredibly cost-effective for the giver. Your special someone will know that you put time and effort into a thoughtful gift. Bake cookies, go old school and make a mixed CD, crochet, knit, paint, tye dye… the possibilities are endless.
If you want to think outside the box, try one of these: a DIY mini spa kit, homemade lip balm, or a reusable coffee sleeve!
Shop second hand!
If you’re not a crafty person, but you still want to give a thoughtful, unique gift, consider hitting up some antique malls, second hand stores, and vintage shops! You might have to do some digging, but rest assured there are treasures to be found.
There are a few local vintage and second hand stores around Edmonton. One of which is Swish Vintage, located in Manulife Place. Swish has a carefully curated selection of vintage clothing, accessories, and unique homeware. The Junque Cellar on Whyte Avenue also has a large collection of oddities and interesting pieces. Of course, we can't mention shopping for antiques without bringing up the Old Strathcona Antique Mall. With over 300 vendors, you're sure to find something one-of-a-kind.
Donate in their name!
This truly is the season of giving. While it’s sometimes very nice to open a perfectly wrapped present that’s been sitting under the tree, consider gifting to your loved one a donation to an organization or charity close to their heart. Not only does it show that you know what they are passionate about, but it does everyone good.
Charities are always in need of donations to put towards funding, purchasing supplies, and general maintenance. Boyle Street Community Services, Elizabeth Fry Society, Edmonton Humane Society, and other local charities are always in need of monetary donations, as well as extra clothing and/or supplies.
If they're an animal lover, you can always adopt or sponsor an animal in their name! WWF, one of the largest worldwide organization dedicated to conversation, has many different animals that you can adopt for a monthly fee, including sea turtles, wolves, and elephants. FARRM (Farm Animal Rescue and Rehoming Movement), a rescue center based out of Wetaskiwin, is home to chickens, pigs, horses, goats, and other farm animals that have been rescued from lives of abuse and neglect. You can choose to sponsor the animals per month - and if you're an Alberta resident - you can go visit them!
It's so easy to get wrapped up in the holidays. It's a busy time for a lot of people and can often wear us down. Remember that you can still make a difference with every purchase and give support to those who need it most!