Skip to content

Let’s Talk Trash: Tips for homegrown holidays

If time is not on your side to make something with your own hands, supporting locals who do could be the next best thing

Wherever you find yourself for the holidays, you’ll still be on the one planet we all share. In that spirit, how might we gift each other while respecting the earth?

Nowadays there are plenty of low-to-no impact gift options available. Just stepping out into nature with that perspective can transform fallen evergreen bows into wreaths or driftwood into a mobile.

Nature has treasures to offer up this time of year and your pantry may have preserved some from the summer’s more obvious bounty. Gifting canning, garden herbs and other preserves impart a burst of sunshine and good health altogether.

Crafters are probably already scanning their piles of projects searching for the perfect ones to finish off for friends and family. Even those who don’t self-describe as the creative type can lend their talents to personalized gifts.

Perhaps this means touching up and printing off some family photos, learning someone’s favourite song on the guitar to serenade them with, or secretly mending a broken zipper on a winter jacket.

If time is not on your side to make something with your own hands, supporting locals who do could be the next best thing.

Despite the near disappearance of in-person crafting markets, there are new ways to access local talents. A group of local artists have collaborated once again this year with a collaborative display at the Town Centre mall called the Soapy Dragon Holiday Boutique (Mondays to Saturdays, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm).

Online forums continue to give opportunities for locals to sell, trade and even give away creations. Purchasing locally is a wonderful way to keep the local economy thriving while avoiding transportation costs to the earth and your wallet for buying from elsewhere.

Perhaps this is the year you think outside the gift box entirely, opting instead for gifting experiences. Experienced backcountry skiers might take a friend on an afternoon in the back forty followed by a warm meal at their house by the fire.

A twist on the above could be to teach someone a new skill. Maybe a friend of yours is aching to learn the basics of guitar, baking or car mechanics. We all have specialized knowledge that we can share along with the gift of time together with a loved one.

If your budget is limited, and you still want to do something special and also practical, offer the gift of doing something others would rather not.

If you love organizing, you could spend an afternoon reconfiguring a friend’s kitchen cupboards, garage or deep freeze. An oil change or tire rotation might be easy for you, but a pain for someone in your family. Or, the tech-savvy might offer to tidy up desktops and get printers and the internet working smoothly.

Gift cards are another option and can be personalized in a few ways; favour eco-friendly stores that the person on your list would enjoy. Many second-hand stores, family owned businesses and cafés offer gift cards this time of year. You can sweeten the present by offering to go with a friend on their shopping spree, or driving an elderly relative to a bulk-buying food store to stock up their pantry for the winter.

Whatever you do, try to avoid getting on the planet’s naughty list with chintzy plastic gifts that provide a smile for a moment, and landfill for a century. If a gag gift is a must for you, stick to pre-loved items from thrift and consignment stores.

Happy holidays to you from Let’s Talk Trash.

Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste reduction education team. For more tips, check out their Holiday Green Guide at