The Ultimate Guide To A Sustainable Christmas

"Zero Waste Canada, a Vancouver-based advocacy group, estimates each Canadian tosses about 50 kilograms of garbage over the holidays, 25 percent more than the rest of the year" [1]

The holidays are filled with joy and beautiful moments! While this time of year is mostly spent having fun and socializing with family and friends, it is also a time of excess and unnecessary waste. Between the end of November and the beginning of January, household waste can get 25 percent higher than the rest of the year. This increase is mainly due to additional food waste, numerous packaging as well as old items that are thrown away or donated simply because they have been replaced by more recent versions [1]

Realizing that we collectively produce millions of tons of additional waste in a very short period of time, participating in the tradition of giving and receiving gifts with our loved ones can seem like the opposite of a sustainable lifestyle. Eco-friendly gift-giving, is there even such a thing? Is it really possible to be more sustainable during the holiday season?

In this article, Samara & Co presents some of its favorite tips to help you maximize the holiday cheer while minimizing your environmental impact.

The Gifts

To be a conscious consumer has never been more important! Let’s not forget that our consumption habits have a direct impact on the environment and the use of natural resources. Now is the time to shop with care and intention! Here are some ideas to help you prioritize sustainability when choosing your next gifts.

Shop local

Supporting local businesses helps reduce your ecological footprint while encouraging the local economy! A simple and effective solution when you take the time to choose quality Canadian brands. Here are a few sustainable gift ideas from local brands.

  • Sustainable Clothes - FIG Clothing

    FIG Clothing perfectly combines fashionable clothing and eco-responsibility. True to its sustainable values, the Canadian company works with Canadian manufacturers for part of its production in addition to selecting quality sustainable fibers for the manufacture of its clothes. Among the main ones are organic cotton, recycled polyester and eco-friendly TENCEL fibers.

  • Face Care Set - BORÉALIE

    Boréalie is a sustainable cosmetics company using natural ingredients from the St-Lawrence River. A beautiful brand that offers quality products with true authentic and eco-friendly values. We also love brands like Idoine, Herb Market Botanicals, Agricol, and Eluo.


    100% natural cork yoga mat, plastic-free and non-toxic. Scoria World is a Canadian company making a positive difference by offering sustainable products and supporting its community by donating a portion of its profits to organizations like Feeding the Children and Right to Play.

A growing number of brands are doing things differently by choosing ethical, responsible and transparent processes! Several Canadian brands, including all of our partners, are committed to leaving a smaller ecological footprint by prioritizing simple and sustainable ingredients, by supporting zero waste values ​​or by giving back part of their sales to non-profit organizations!

Experiences rather than material

Why not give an experience rather than material? Concert tickets, a comedy show, a spa package, a gift card to a fine local restaurant, a national park pass or even cleaning services are all great gift ideas! Take the time to listen to your loved ones to find out what they really need. Or simply ask them what they want but don't dare afford!

In the same vein, why not give a workshop or a course? Pottery, knitting or cooking classes, workshops on meditation, fermentation or about native plants are some cool gift ideas that give both a rewarding experience and new skills. Psst.. A local distillery or microbrewery tour is always highly appreciated as a gift!

Sustainable Gifts

The holiday season can also be a great opportunity to introduce the zero waste/ plastic free lifestyle to your friends and family!

  • Zero Waste Safety Razor Set

    Well Kept offers a beautiful safety razor kit with all the essentials to reduce the use of plastic when shaving.

  • Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

    A sustainable alternative to disposable makeup removal pads. TruEarth offers a 14-pack, reusable, machine-washable bamboo makeup removal pads.

  • Sustainable Starter Kit

    Samara & Co has selected its favorite eco-friendly items and compiled them in kits to help someone start their sustainable lifestyle.

  • Reusable Sanitary Products

    Introduce reusable sanitary products like Aisle’s period panties or Öko-Créations reusable hemp pads by offering them as gifts. Who knows... maybe your friend or sister will fall in love and could not do without it!

A good way to be more sustainable is to buy quality items that will last a long time. You can also reduce the waste associated with the gifts you give by choosing items without unnecessary packaging, plastic or made from recycled materials.

Second-Hand Gifts

Gifting an item that you already have at home or that you bought second hand is totally acceptable! You just have to give the recycled item (in good condition of course) to someone who will appreciate it, really needs it and will use it. Maybe a book, a plant, decorations, clothes or accessories!

Canadians will send 100,000 elephants worth of wrapping paper to the dump this year and Christmas presents are a big culprit. [2]

Gift wrapping and packaging

The majority of nearly half-a-million tonnes of holiday waste that goes to Canadian landfills each year is made up of discarded gift-wrapping, ribbons and shopping bags [2]. This year, be creative and try to find packaging options that won't end up in the trash after being used once!

Forget the wrapping paper, why not try the art of Furoshiki by using reusable pieces of fabric from your house or the second-hand store. Furoshiki is a Japanese fabric folding technique that allows you to wrap objects of different shapes and sizes in a single piece of fabric, a sustainable and affordable alternative to gift wrapping [3].

Reusable bags, newspapers, recycled boxes or recycled paper are also great ways to wrap your gift sustainably!

Did you know that about 40% of holiday food is wasted! [4]

The Food

During the holiday season, it's not just gifts that create waste and packages that end up in the trash... Many of us celebrate the holidays by getting together with family and friends to share delicious and big meals. Did you know that about 40% of holiday food is wasted [4]? This is huge!! Here are some practical tips to help you reduce food waste during the holiday season.

Celebrate without wasting food

The easiest way to reduce food waste during the holiday is to only buy and prepare the food you really need. To do so, you must plan meals and needs in advance. Keep in mind that proper planning will save you a lot of stress and may even save you some money!

If you have any leftovers (which is very possible during the holidays), don't throw the food in the trash! Provide containers for guests so they can take leftover food home, freeze them for a later date, or eat them over the following days.

Reduce packaging

Leave the foil and plastic aside, instead opt for reusable beeswax, stainless steel or glassware food wrappers to keep the food fresh. To further reduce your waste, why not try to buy your food in bulk or without packaging when it is possible.

Samara & Co believes it’s possible to have a fun holiday season while respecting the environment! We just need to be prepared, consume consciously and consume less. Let’s have a beautiful, sustainable Christmas and make a difference together!

Ressources :
3* “Green” gift ideas :
4* 10 Tips to Reduce Food Waste, Save Money and Protect the Environment this Holiday Season :