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A Holiday Survival Guide

14 December 2021 | By Elise Karcher
HighlightsTips and tricks

The holidays. That time of year that feels like a warm crackling fire as we reunite with loved ones. The season we’ve been waiting for at least as long as we’ve been dreading it for all the surprises it holds.

Whether we celebrate the holidays or not, the end of December is often an opportunity to sit down at the table with distant relatives, people we only see once a year and who will not fail to remind us why rather quickly.

Between comments on the meal and invasive questions on sensitive topics for guests, there will be some graced moments where YOU are the target.

So just for you, who has the difficult mission of defending the planet around your holiday table, a survival guide written with 6 hands that we hope will keep you going until next year.

We won’t eat it for 3 weeks!

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THE VICTIM: The zero-waste sibling, overwhelmed and concerned by the abundance of food during the holidays and… the amount that gets wasted!
LAST SEEN: Frowning when a large ham, barely touched, is headed in the direction of the garbage whilst casually being referred to as ‘just one ham’.
THE CULPRIT: Any self-respecting wholesome family planning a feast with their neighbours.

TELL THEM:
– One third of what we produce in Canada is wasted. That’s like buying three nice hams and throwing one away!
63% of what we throw away could have been consumed. We eat, we waste, we eat, we waste. The result? We need more land, more water, more fertilizers, more workers, more oil, more more more…

RECOMMEND THEY WATCH:
The documentary Wasted! The Story of Food Waste is a shocking look at global food waste.
The documentary The Fight for True Farming to explore alternative farming techniques to grow food differently

OFFER THEM:
The ‘Waste Free Kitchen Handobook’ to get recipes and tips on how to reduce food waste in your kitchen
• Beautiful glass dishes to clearly see the leftovers in the fridge to know when to put them in the freezer!

Some meat with that?

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THE VICTIM: The only vegetarian in the family, for 10 years now, who gets the same pitiful look at every holiday meal.
LAST SEEN: Swallowing a little too hard after hearing that famous phrase: “But you, my dear, what are you going to eat for dinner? You can’t eat anything! We’ll find you something…”
THE CULPRIT: The aunt who is well meaning and doesn’t understand why “you refuse to eat”.

TELL HER:
0.8 g per kg of body weight is the daily protein requirement for any human on the planet. That’s 48 g for a 60 kg person, a need that can be met by a chicken breast that fits in the palm of one hand… and by a good number of cereals, nuts and legumes already on the table.
• So you can eat to your heart’s content, satisfy your protein needs and… not eat meat! With the often-excessive amount of food prepared for the holidays, a block of tofu won’t make a huge difference at the end of the meal.

RECOMMEND SHE WATCHES:
At least one of these documentaries to help open your eyes to the meat (and fishing) industry
Any of these vegan podcasts served hot to teach her how to get inspired by vegetarism

OFFER HER:
Your favourite vegan recipe! Mine: the ultimate winter couscous from the UK chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

Would you like some more trash?

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THE VICTIM: The creative, who wraps her gifts sustainably for the third year in a row and has to account for her actions.
LAST SEEN: Offering a gift wrapped in newspaper. Paper that has the audacity to leave the recycling bin that it was intended for!
THE CULPRIT: The father-in-law, who only sees the beauty of a gift if there are snowflakes adorning it.

TELL HIM:
• Commercial wrapping paper is non-recyclable and is therefore created to be used for a few short hours, then torn up and thrown away. Each year, 540,000 tons of wrapping paper and gift bags are thrown away in Canada! Not such a great gift, is it?
• Have you ever received a home-wrapped gift? It’s much nicer with a nice fabric and more touching if you personalize the kraft paper or newspaper by writing messages directly on it.

RECOMMEND HE WATCHES:
A furoshiki technique gift wrapping tutorial, an ancient Japanese art.

OFFER HIM: Some elegant fabrics or fabric bags that he can use for his next gifts.

How’s your car?

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THE VICTIM: The electric car hyper-enthusiast.
LAST SEEN: Having dared to say that an electric car can be less expensive than a combustible.
THE CULPRIT: The really frugal uncle who thinks “it’s way too expensive” and makes a point of letting you know.

TELL HIM:
It is 60 to 80% cheaper to plug in than it is to drive to the pump and other expenses are reduced or even eliminated: insurance, oil changes, technical controls, maintenance costs, toll bridges. On average, after 5 years of use, the electric car is less expensive than its thermal counterpart.
• If you go from an SUV to an electric car, the difference can be much greater! And that’s not counting the smoothness and discretion of the engine and the ability to recharge at home overnight with full peace of mind.

RECOMMEND HE CONSULTS:
The CAA Driving Cost calculator to evaluate the real costs of the vehicle you’re intending to buy and see if you could switch to electric.
The ‘Electrified’ documentary to get a snapshot of the current state of electric mobility and vehicles

OFFER HIM: A roadtrip in your electric car, if you have one, to prove your point in a quieter environment.



Advisor – Waste management and Speaker

Elise Karcher

Always ready for a good debate, Elise is convinced everyone plays an important role when it comes to protecting the environment! Curious, funny and a lover of Italian cooking, she dreams of the day mobilization and citizen engagement is within everyone’s grasp. On nights and weekends, you can find her in her urban jungle of 37 tropical plants, a book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

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