Written by Denise Deby.

Tiny tree by Sandra Regina on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandraregina/379661136/

Tiny tree by Sandra Regina on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandraregina/379661136/

Here are more ideas for making this time of year merrier and brighter.

Greenery

Still thinking about whether or not to get a Christmas tree? Here’s a great idea: you can buy a Norfolk Island Pine tree from Beau’s Brewery and they’ll deliver it through their Buy Your Beau’s Online program. The delivery fee goes to Operation Come Home, and Beau’s will also arrange for a tree to be planted for each one it sells. The tree comes in a recycled, reusable ceramic bottle, too.

If you buy a tree from The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, the funds all go to support patient and family services. (The trees are balsam firs from Nova Scotia.)

OttawaStart has a helpful list of Ottawa-area Christmas tree farms.

If you’re not sure whether to go real or artificial with your tree, check out the David Suzuki Foundation’s Queen of Green post about the options. (Spoiler: real wins out.)

Wrap it up

Go usable, re-usable or recyclable with gift wrap. Cloth gift bags are a great choice (I used to buy them from Arbour Environmental Shoppe, but you can make your own). Other options are old newspapers, comic books or kids’ art, scarves or tea towels, cloth grocery bags, or last year’s paper remnants. You can even make your own plantable wrapping paper using seeds and old paper.

Give and take time

There are many organizations and causes around that could use your support. Check out Volunteer Ottawa for a variety of different ways that you can get involved. Charity Village has a directory of non-profit organizations.

Remember that this is a tough time of year for people who’ve lost loved ones, are dealing with a difficult situation, or don’t have access to adequate resources. Give them–or yourself–support and breathing space.

Don’t forget to slow down and take time to reflect, re-energize and spend time with family and friends if you can. Try heading outdoors!

More inspiration

Have a look back at Alette’s December 2007 posts on simplifying the season and “thingless giving.” UsedEverywhere.com has Christmas greening suggestions, from do-it-yourself gifts to clearing clutter, and The Centre for a New American Dream has plenty of ideas on its Pinterest page.

Finally, see Christopher Zumski Finke’s thoughts on “Less Stuff, More Heart” in YES! Magazine.

Happy holidays!

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