Create memories not garbage

create memories not garbage this Christmas

Metro Vancouver has a campaign called “create memories, not garbage.”

The aim is to reduce waste during the holidays. I love this idea, as simplicity and being frugal are hobbies of mine.

Create memories not garbage this Christmas

Excessive consumption, food waste and unnecessary consumerism upset me. We live on a beautiful planet with finite resources and few of us seem to realize when enough is enough. Fortunately there are lots of positive things you can do to make a difference.


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Three years ago my family decided not to buy Christmas or birthday presents unless we knew the person really wanted something. It’s not that we don’t buy presents at all; we usually share a “present list” in October with simple items we would like. We don’t buy frivolous things or unwanted items that are a fad. Often we give experiences: a day out, a cinema trip or a family pub lunch.

Initially it did feel odd not trawling the shops stressing, but three years in it feels great. I bought some simple presents (I won’t say what as my family reads this column!) and sent them with Canada Post yesterday. The post cost far more than the presents, but it is worth it as I know my mother and father will get immense joy from their present on Christmas Day.

Black Friday sales tempt and encourage even the most restrained of us to swipe our credit card. “But it’s such a good deal,” I hear you cry — or is it?


take your own shopping bags when shopping to reduce plastic.


Buying something at 25 per cent off is still 75 per cent more than you need to spend if you don’t really need it.

This Black Friday I bought a greeting card to send to my sister, some crackers and Brie, and there were no discounts on those, unsurprisingly.

The Metro Vancouver solid waste initiative “create memories not garbage” has many gift giving ideas that ensure you have a meaningful and enjoyable holiday season without creating excessive garbage and going into debt. Setting a budget is wise as is keeping receipts; it helps to know how much you’ve spent. Be sure to add up as you go along so you know when to stop.

All that said, sales are a great time to do your Christmas holiday shopping if you know what family and friends would like. You often do save money but communication is key; ask what family members would like. Granted it won’t be a surprise but it won’t waste your money either.

Create memories not garbage this Christmas

The “create memories, not garbage” campaign is impacting regions far away from Vancouver; there is interest from various U.S. states, as well as Ontario and the Okanagan. I can see why as it is a wonderfully replicable program that we all need to adopt as current consumerism isn’t sustainable.

It will get us all thinking of ways we can reduce garbage by giving meaningful presents.

In our busy lives the simple act of stepping back from the melee of consumerism and “must-dos” is one of the best presents you can give.  Simply listening to others is a gift money can’t buy.

create memories not garbage this Christmas

Gift / present ideas:

Offer your time — give baby siting vouchers to new parents or “driveway clearing” vouchers to a neighbour.

Get outside together — meet with friends or family for a walk or ski followed by a tea or hot chocolate.

Give nature — a plant to brighten the winter home.

Beeswax candle — give warmth and light this winter.

Edible gifts — homemade roasted nuts, cookies or granola in a jar with a re-usable ribbon.

A good book — give the gift of escapism in a book. Got a book you’ve enjoyed? Pass it on.

Write a letter — encourage someone by sharing what you love and appreciate about them.


Learn more about creating memories, not garbage at

– See more at, this article first appeared in The Whistler Question