12 Days of Sustainability

12 Days Sustainability Feature Image

Celebrate 12 Days of Sustainability with Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL). Join us in making environmentally sustainable traditions. We’ve compiled tips on shopping, gift giving and decorating to help you celebrate an Earth-friendly holiday season.

1. Switch to LED

Did you know that seasonal holiday  lights can be seen from space? There are a few ways you can save energy when it comes to your holiday lights this year. Switch to LED lights, or only turn on your lights in the evening.

2. Shop Together

Make your holiday shopping a time to reconnect with friends and family. Plus, make it an earth-friendly tip by carpooling.

2. Wrap It Up (Sustainably!)

Canadians produce 545,000 tonnes of waste from gift wrap and shopping bags every year. That’s a lot of waste! Instead of purchasing gift wrap that is destined to be tossed, get creative! Here are just a few low-waste gift wrap ideas:

-Kids can create their own gift wrap with drawings.
-Use newspapers or flyers.
-Repurpose boxes or other packages.
-Gift food in reusable containers.
-Give gifts in reusable bags, dishcloths, or other non-disposal materials.

4. Go Local

There are so many local businesses you can support this season. Whether you are preparing a holiday meal, or participating in a Secret Santa tradition, consider purchasing gifts from a local vendor. We love this directory of local businesses from guide to the good!

5. Get Crafty

Give a homemade gift! Learn how to knit, bake, or draw your own Christmas cards and share your homemade crafts with friends and family. 

6. Focus on Experiences

One way to have a more sustainable holiday is to focus less on consumption. Experiences, like carolling, gathering with family and friends, or giving back through volunteering are all ways you can refocus the holiday season on the non-material wealth in your life.

7. Bring Back Traditions

Enjoy holiday traditions that emphasize spending time with one another. Host a kitchen party, visit the Mummers Festival or local holiday parade, make your own Ugly Stick with some old boots and bottle caps, or take a stroll to enjoy the lights and decorations.

8. Give Back

Consider giving back to your community with a donation or through volunteering in lieu of gift-giving. Giving your time and energy is a sustainable and meaningful way to recognize the spirit of giving this season.

9. Spend Time in Nature

The outdoors can feel less welcoming in the winter months, but finding ways to enjoy the unique beauty of the season can brighten cold days. Find ways to spend time in nature, such as taking walks, trying a new activity like skating or skiing, or enjoying winter activities like sledding.

10. Repurpose Your Tree

Many municipalities have programs to reuse trees for mulch chips. If you want to repurpose your tree at home, give “hugelkultur” a try! This gardening technique is used to create raised garden beds.

11. Try Alternatives to Fireworks

Fireworks leave toxic gases and pollutants in the air. They can frighten pets and people sensitive to noise. To welcome in the New Year, enjoy nature’s lights and try star gazing!

12. Slow Down and Savor the Season

The holidays can feel overwhelming, rushed, or difficult for many people. Lead with kindness for yourself and others by slowing down and practicing patience as you go about your day.


CCNL is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing youth with training and employment in environmental and cultural heritage. Learn more about CCNL’s programming here.