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'Tis the season to think even greener

Geste - Cette année, célébrez Noël en vert

For some, the first snowfall marks the beginning of the holiday season. For those who celebrate at this time of year, it can be a challenge to find new ways each year to show heartfelt appreciation for family and friends without falling into a consumerist trap. If you are looking for some new ways to green your holidays even further, here are some socially and environmentally responsible tips, inspired by Equiterre’s fields of action.

Treat your guests to an organic, local feast

Every family has its favourite recipes for special occasions. Debbie of the Ferme le Crépuscule in Yamachiche likes to make her grandmother Laurette’s recipe for Lac St-Jean pie, a kind of tourtière, which features her very own organic pork, veal and chicken, as well as a secret ingredient wildcrafted from her farm.

Breathing new life into your favourite recipes by incorporating more local and organic ingredients is a way of modernizing traditions while reconnecting with a past where eating local and organic was the norm.

  1. Delight your guests with a menu featuring organic meat from a local farm. Order directly from one of Equiterre’s family farmers. To find a farm that delivers near you, use our "Find a drop-off point" page (in French only). But act quickly, to be sure to get your order in time.
  2. If you don’t already receive a basket of winter vegetables from a family farmer, shop for such vegetables as kohlrabi, turnip and winter squash at a farmers market, grocery store or greengrocer. You may even be able to find Quebec-grown greens.
  3. You don’t see winter vegetables on the shelves at your grocery store? Ask the manager to carry them.

To go further: If you offer your guests alcoholic drinks, remember to serve organic or local options (e.g., organic wine, Quebec cider).

Give gifts that support artisans at home and around the world

1. Buy fair trade – In Quebec, the best known fair trade product is coffee. But there are many other kinds of fair trade products that you can give as presents, including:

  • beauty products
  • chocolate
  • clothing
  • spices
  • soccer balls
  • wine (fair trade Shiraz from South Africa, Malbec Syrah from Chile), vodka, liqueur and beer (see promotion of the month by the Quebec Association of Fair Trade, in French only)
  • olive oil
  • banana, citrus fruits, avocados, mangoes (consider assembling a fair trade fruit basket)

2. Support the social economy – Choose products (furniture, games, jewelry) made in Quebec. Shop at:

  • an Economuseum
  • a social entrerprise
  • artisanal salons 
  • public markets

To go further: Give non-material gifts, e.g.:

  • donation to a charity
  • tickets to events (plays, concerts, sports games, etc.)
  • registration in a class (cooking, dancing, etc.)
  • a coupon for a service such as babysitting, renovation, shoveling, a meal...
  • a gift card to download books or music
  • homemade confections
  • a letter filled with love

Plan your transportation carefully

Prioritize:

  • public transit
  • carpooling, e.g., team up with a neighbour for a trip to the grocery store to stock up for the holidays
  • carsharing

To go further: Are you looking for a New Year’s resolution? Why not replace your vehicle with a registration at a carsharing service?

Opt for environmentally friendly lighting

Your old lights do not work and you would like to replace them? Choose LED bulbs. They can generate energy savings of up to 90% compared to conventional incandescent bulbs, and have a lifespan that is 15 to 25 times longer.

To go further: Some Christmas lights for outdoor work with solar energy. This is a great opportunity to discover the beauty of renewable energy.

Get moving outdoors

Enjoy the pleasures of winter during the holiday season by cross-country skiing, skating, sledding or snowshoeing. Opportunities to have fun, to create memories and to recharge.

To go further: Look for eco-friendly accommodations.

Don’t forget to share your suggestions for an eco-friendly holiday season in the comments section.

Wishing you happy holidays and see you in 2013!