Climate-friendly ideas for a sustainable Christmas in Vancouver

Dec 7 2021, 11:13 pm

Whether it’s wrapping or packaging, there is no shortage of plastic and paper during the holidays, but these items often go directly into the trash once the goodies are unwrapped, and that’s not great for the climate.

With the planet facing an increase in climate emergencies every year, especially in light of what we saw in BC over the course of 2021, it might be time to rethink the way you gift.

Thankfully, there are plenty of helpful tips and resources to help you get started, which will hopefully promote a reimagining of gift-giving over the Christmas holidays for years to come.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is running a holiday sustainability campaign called “Create Memories, Not Garbage.”

Gift ideas

Gifts don’t have to be material goods or possessions. Giving people the gift of an experience is a trend that is increasing in popularity.

Metro Vancouver

  • Visit a trampoline park
  • Snow tubing
  • Bird watching
  • Yoga class
  • Live theatre tickets
  • Take someone grocery shopping
  • Cooking class
  • Music lessons
  • A thrifty shopping spree


Metro Vancouver

Wrapping is one of the biggest sources of waste over the holidays. While brightly covered wrapping paper with festive decorations might be a nice surprise for someone, it can be incredibly wasteful.

Reusable alternatives:

  • Fabric that can be reused (tablecloths, towels, pillowcases, sheets, socks, etc.)
  • Newspaper
  • Brown paper bags
  • Old maps
  • Calendars
  • Coffee cans
  • Boxes
  • Gift bags

Or just don’t wrap your gift.

Second-hand gifting

Metro Vancouver

The folks over at UBC Beyond have put out some interesting ideas for a sustainable holiday.

Carolyn Ali, a writer with UBC, talked to Dr. Katherine White, a professor of Sustainability, Prosocial Consumption, and Consumer Insights.

One of the solutions she points to for this Christmas climate conundrum is second-hand gifting.

There is no shortage of vintage and thrift stores in Vancouver to buy second-hand clothing or other second-hand items like vintage heirlooms.


With more people choosing to shop online, that means more packaging for items being delivered.

Be sure to check in with Metro Vancouver Recycles to figure out the best way to recycle shipping packaging.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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