Larraine Roulston December’20


By Larrain Roulston

It seems almost impossible to imagine hosting zero waste holiday events. Without a doubt, most holiday waste stems from excess food, non-recyclable sparkly wrapping paper, and other disposable items from Christmas morning. Despite all of this, it is still possible to offer eco-friendly seasonal gifts, practice the 3R’s, and enjoy the festivities.

GIFTS: In general, we purchase what is promoted. On advertising, Don Draper said in the beginning of every television episode of Mad Men “Advertising is based on happiness. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing, it’s okay.”  Therefore, with the environment in mind, choose gifts that make you happy. You can support your community by purchasing local honey, maple syrup, or utilizing community services. The gift of an experience – such as a treatment at a spa, a restaurant gift coupon, or a yearly pass for the swimming pool/gym – is also a viable option. Shop at thrift stores where you’ll find great gifts at bargain prices. Energy efficient light bulbs or shower heads are practical and useful. There is pleasure in giving a bicycle or electric scooter to enjoy travelling without causing emissions. There can be gifts of giving your time to babysit or walk a dog. Send a donation in someone’s name to an environmental organization. Crafting gifts from fabrics, wool, wood, art supplies or essential oils are especially appreciated. If you love to cook, savory baked goods are always welcomed. Seeing as home gardening was also on many people’s radar this year, purchase composters.

WRAPPING: Gifts can be creatively presented in towels, scarves, fabrics, cloth napkins, newsprint, mason jars, decorated paper bags, and chip bags once rinsed and turned inside out. On Christmas morning, open your gifts carefully so that the paper can be reused. Avoid purchasing foil gift wrap that cannot be recycled. 

FOOD: Be creative with leftovers. Turn what organics cannot be consumed into a natural soil conditioner.  

RECYCLE RIGHT: Rinse all your food and beverage containers and flatten cardboard/boxboard containers before taking them to the curb or rural recycling depot. This season, break free from disposable oil based plastic to reduce the vast amount being produced in the first place. Due to the variety of density and colours, plastic is problematic to recycle. Hosting an environmental Christmas is your gift to our planet.

Larraine writes children’s books that highlight the joy of composting and pollinating with the adventures of Pee Wee at Castle Compost. With illustrations, songs and poems, the stories unearth the miracles of nature’s cycle of life. Fun & factual for all ages. To order, visit