Looking for ways to make your Christmas a little less ‘wasteful’? Here is a collection of ideas from around Vancouver to be more environmentally friendly at Christmas.

Rent a Tree
Did you know that you must keep your artificial Xmas tree for 20 years before it has a lower carbon footprint than a real tree? Want to go one step further than a real tree? Several companies in Vancouver now rent out live, potted Christmas trees. A live tree is delivered to your home or office from your choice of varieties and sizes. The trees are potted and watered reducing the fire hazards associated with live trees. Once the Christmas season is over the tree is picked up and returned to the nursery. Trees that have grown too big to be Christmas trees will be planted so they can grow to sequester carbon and produce oxygen. Simple and sustainable. Check out EVERGROW Christmas Trees and CarbonSync.

If you do purchase a real tree make sure to take advantage of the City’s Christmas Tree Chipping Events that will take place on Saturday and Sunday, January 10th and 11th from 10:00 to 4:00 at four locations.

Gift Cards
Gift Certificates and Gift Cards can save on both packaging and wrapping and are great for those on your list who you never know what to buy for. For the ‘Foodie’ on your list there are some great choices in Vancouver. Both Green Earth Organics and Spud sell gift baskets that can be made up of local and/or organic products as well as gift certificates. Edible BC offers gift cards that can be used both online and at the retail store on Granville Island. Their gift cards can also be used for tours and special events. Two of our favorite restaurants that offer great local menus and make great gifts are O’Doul’s Restaurant and Bar and Raincity Grill.

Looking for Corporate Gifts?
Stay away from those big gift baskets with all of the extra packaging in favor of responsibly packaged local and organic products. The Gourmet Gift Boxes from Saul Good Gift Company are a great choice. Whole Foods gift baskets are a bit heavy on the packaging but do include local, artisan and organic options.

It’s the thought that counts
Many charitable organizations provide the opportunity to give unique gifts with special meaning that will benefit others around the world. The Ten Thousand Villages Living Gift campaign provides items such as farmyard animals and education to those in need. The ‘Give Green’ gift is only $20 and funds provide tools, seeds, organic fertilizer and sustainable agriculture training for one farmer in Guatemala. World Vision also offers many similar giving options.