As the holidays approach it is best to take time to prepare now as this will reduce stress on you personally and can also reduce the stress on the environment. If you consider the amount of resources consumed at Christmas time, you may feel motivated to do something about it. Make this the year that you plan ahead and give the Earth a break.

Change out old Christmas lights for the new LED lights and consume less electricity and expect a lower power bill. Check with BC Hydro Power Smart program–in past years they have offered a rebate on LED lights when old lights have been recycled.

·Only leave lights on for a few hours a day–having them on timer makes this easy.

·Write out a shopping list and avoid impulse buying.

·Consider giving gifts of your time (babysitting, car cleaning, or a special dinner).

·Craft a gift from something old (like a new scarf from an old sweater, or a quilt from old pyjamas).

·Make a donation in someone?s honour, and give him/her the receipt for a tax time gift too.

·Reduce your number of road trips by combining errands and visits.

·Use your dishwasher, not disposable plates, for family get-togethers. Only run your dishwasher when it is full.

·Actually string a garland of popcorn instead of using tinsel (you can add dried fruits for different effects). Stale popcorn works better than fresh.

·Email Christmas greetings or phone instead of mailing cards.

·Replace paper wrapping paper with reusable boxes and bags ? and actually reuse them!

For more ideas on giving the Earth a gift this Christmas, contact the Waste Reduction Office 1-888-689-6328 or visit the website at