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Tips for a Sustainable Holiday

'Tis the season to be festive and the City encourages everyone to think about celebrating in a sustainable manner.

Christmas Trees

After the holidays, drop off your tree at the City Firefighters' Annual Christmas Tree Chip-Up, which supports the City's efforts to keep our parks and gardens naturally lush and green.

Holiday Lighting

The City's popular festive lighting program has featured state-of-the-art LED technology for several years. LED lights add sparkle to your home and Christmas tree without draining natural resources or your budget. On average, LED lights use less electricity than standard incandescent lights.

Create smaller outdoor light displays, which can be both attractive and energy efficient. To save electricity and energy, turn off your decorative holiday lights during the day and at bedtime.

Heating & Energy Use

Several buildings in Lower Lonsdale presently enjoy cost effective and energy efficient heating service through the City's Lonsdale Energy Corporation. An additional measure to reduce energy consumption includes turning down the heat when you are not at home. Studies show that you will save on energy costs when you lower your thermostat by up to four degrees Celsius over a minimum four-hour period. If you are away for longer periods of time (e.g. at work from 9-5), consider purchasing a programmable thermostat.

Other ways of conserving energy at home:

  • Putting on extra layers of clothing and turning on lights only when necessary
  • Making large batches of food - it is more efficient to turn on a stove once for cooking and warming up smaller prepared meals
  • Using your drapes to control the temperature of a room: open them on sunny days to take advantage of passive solar heating and close them when it's cold to help trap heat inside.

Wrapping Paper

Reusing wrapping paper is a great sustainability idea. Avoid wrapping paper with a glossy or metallic coating - it is difficult to recycle. Why not try environmentally friendly alternatives, such as festive fabrics, which can be reused as decorative accents around the home. Gift bags come in all shapes and sizes and are more likely to be reused. Look for paper with a recycled component and use tape sparingly.

Green Gift Giving

Sustainable gifts come in many forms. Locally made products help reduce the negative impacts of transportation and greenhouse gas emissions. As well, there are many unique gifts available made from sustainable resources and recycled materials. Try choosing toys that do not require batteries. Etiquette aside, re-gifting is also a sustainable way to get rid of something others may find more useful.

For family and friends, consider giving an experience, such as tickets to a play, concert or sporting event that you can attend together.

Less Means More

It makes sense to purchase less during the holidays. Many people are moving toward smaller celebrations where no gifts are exchanged. Not only do you eliminate the stress of finding the perfect gift, but you will certainly save money.

A gift represents a thoughtful gesture and the same sentiment can be expressed in more sustainable ways. Consider exchanging time instead of gifts or because the holiday season can be difficult for some individuals and families, make a socially sustainable donation to a local charity with the money you save. Fewer gifts mean more green, both financially and environmentally. More tips at

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