The 12 Days of “Sustainable” Christmas

The 12 Days of “Sustainable” Christmas

The spirit of Christmas Giving, comes from opening your heart and lending a hand. The holiday season is a simple holiday for most, but for some it can feel foreboding. It is a time of giving, but for many families this simplicity is overshadowed by the consuming side of Christmas.

The Grinch said it best…

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. “
– Dr. Seuss

Therefore, this holiday season “Spread a Little Cheer, for All to Hear” and give back to your community and to others, share your love of the holidays.  Free hug, a warm smile, a simple hand shake and hello, can go further then you think.

Taking that extra step and donating your monetary gift of hard work or spare a little time to work with those who may not be as fortunate and offer them the gift of empowerment. It gives families and communities the power to improve their own lives.

Sticking with the spirit of the holidays I have chosen to illuminate some of my own personal experiences around the holidays, as well as Vancouver’s amazing gift giving options with a favorite song, “The 12 Days of Christmas;” which was first published inEngland in 1780.

12 Days of Christmas Gift Giving …

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Upstanding values from the family tree

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

2 open arms ~ (for free hugs)

And upstanding values from the family tree

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

3 “Adopt a Project” – (Vancouver Police Foundation PALs, Hope in Shadows, Portland House Society )

2 open arms

And upstanding values from the family tree

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

4 Sponsored Families ~ (Presents of Peace – YWCA)

3 “Adopt a Project”

2 Open arms

And upstanding values from the family tree

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

5 Golden Reasons (Compassion, respect, community, integrity, accountability)

4 Sponsored Families

3 “Adopt a Project”

2 Open arms

And upstanding values from the family tree

~~~~ (keeping with the theme of the song, but shortening the scrolling feed, here are the full list of the 12 days of Christmas)

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

12 months of Photos ~ (buy your 2012 Hope in Shadows Calendar today)

11 Pals-a-Paling ~ ($400 raised for the Vancouver Police Foundation and VPD PALs Program)

10 Co-ops –a Coping ~ (Vision Vancouver’s low cost housing strategy for 2015 supported)

9 (99%) Occupy local markets  ~  (buy local, support fair trade consumerism)

8 Happy Jigs a Jiggin rather then rioting ~ (perform 30secs of your happy dance….mine is the Snoopy dance) 

7 dwarfs –a- ELfing ~ (Operation Elf Team 2011)

6 Cows-a -Mooing ~ (sponsored herds for small enterprise and empowerment through international development agencies like CARE Canada and Free the Children)

5 Golden Reasons ~ (Compassion, respect, community, integrity, accountability)

4 Sponsored Families ~ (Presents of Peace – YWCA)

3 “Adopt a Project” ~ (Vancouver Police Foundation PALs, Hope in Shadows, Portland House Society )

2 Open arms

And upstanding values from the family tree.”


I hope you all enjoyed this witty banter and I wish you all a very merry and happy Christmas holiday season.



Celebrate this holiday season, and bring well-being”om” for the holidays.

For many, the festive season is the perfect time to escape on a rejuvenating yoga retreat – either at home, or somewhere a little more warm! The dark, cold Winter months can test our bodies and minds – yet there’s plenty we can do to bolster our immune system and maximize the chance of staying healthy. As well as, maintaining a committed yoga practice, there are many ways to help yourself get through the Winter months with body and soul intact The yoga philosophy tells us, resisting something – in this case, the Winter – we have no control over only brings us pain (ahimsa).

So why not actively embrace the coming Winter – accepting the ups and downs of this Season, and opening up to its possibilities, rather than closing up against it? For some it can be a hard time to find the time, with all the hustle and bustle and swirl of commercial and social pressures. Around the holidays, you can find a heap full of stocking fun filled Yoga karma classes around town!  Sometimes, giving the gift of community and investing in a community charity project, can help remind you (and others) the meaning behind Christmas. And it’s a great way to stay in touch with your inner “santa’s little helper” and stay healthy!

Apart for yoga and community giviing, here are some tips to stay healthy and keep your well-being from getting frosty this Winter:

  • Favor a warm, nourishing diet. As human’s we’re designed to eat more in Winter, adding a few pounds without guilt! However, it must be the right types of foods to nurture whilst minimizing congestion and maximizing our immune systems. Rice, barley, rye, healthy oils (ghee, coconut, linseed, avocado, hemp, olive), and seasonal root vegetables in soups and stews are all recommended.
  • Fancy a glass of organic Merlot? The good news is that Ayurveda suggest an occasional glass of warming wine may be beneficial in Winter. You can make a warming wine punch with added cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, fennel, cumin, coriander, nutmeg and black pepper.
  • Saunas, steam rooms, hot yoga and massage are key to staying warm in the winter months. Ground yourself with a massage with a warm sesame oil or olive oil followed by a warm shower/ bath to prevent feelings of coldness, and stiff, aching joints.
  • It’s a good idea to be up by 7am latest and to do some vigorous exercise to get the lymph system moving  towards preventing congestion.  Sun salutations and modified vinyasa flows are ideal as they build up heat and work all the major muscles. Add in corrective movement and you have a reciepe for endured holiday merriment!
  • Herbal help: Chyvanaprash can be taken daily to strengthen the lungs and boost the immune system. For recurrent colds, take Trikatu made of ginger, black pepper and long pepper, which dry up mucous and clear channels. It is traditionally taken with raw honey. Turmeric is a natural antibiotic for all respiratory tract infections. Boil half a cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, add a little milk then use as a gargle. Chew a clove a day to keep infections at bay. Raw honey (such as from your local farmers market) is also excellent for clearing mucous as its heating, drying and channel clearing. However make sure to never heat honey; Ayurveda considers this makes it toxic.
  • Every year in just about every town, unique individuals come out of the philanthropic wood word and embody the message of the holidays, by creating their own traditions—whether that means giving back to their community, reversing the swirl of over-consumption, reaching out to those overwhelmed with suffering, or celebrating the gifts of life and love.

Whatever your holiday routine is, remember to take time out to celebrate yourself and your health!

The Kitchen Yogi

What is The Kitchen Yogi you ask? It is a company created by certified yoga instructor Karen La Du, and Amy Wolochowicz who were both inspired to spread the message of yoga through a unique form: asana shaped cookie cutter kits. Their goal is for people to learn about yoga and maintain a healthy & happy lifestyle, expanding their creativity –  all while baking and decorating delicious cookies!

Each kit includes a cookie cutter, recipe (offering organic, gluten/sugar free ingredients for those with special nutritional needs), and asana instructions.

You can place your order online and they ship to Canada. These would make perfect stocking stuffers this season (set of 3 kits for $20, or purchase kits individually for $7.50 each), especially to get children interested in yoga. Not a baker? Tie a ribbon around the cookie cutter and it instantly becomes a tree ornament! Also, crafty kids like to use them for tracing asana inspired art projects.

The great thing about The Kitchen Yogi is that they donate 10% of their profits to the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, an organization that serves and educates about animals in need.  Yogis making a difference and putting a smile on peoples faces – who doesn’t love cookies!

Yoga Gifts For The Holidays

Unsure of what to get the yogi in your life for Christmas? Fret-not, we’ve rounded up some of the best presents any yoga enthusiast would adore. (Click on photos for information on how to purchase):

Sustainably constructed Adidas by Stella McCartney Yoga Performance 7/8 Recycled Polyester Tights are luxuriously soft while sweeping away heat and sweat:

Yoga Performance 7/8 Recyc. Poly Tights

Pre-shrunk, extra soft, bamboo/organic cotton, fair trade, and eco-friendly – “Practice Kindness” t-shirt:

Practice Kindness Eco Tee Shirts - Cherry Red

Eco Yoga Kit includes Stirlen Chi Yoga Mat Spray all natural cleaner, 5mm mat, blanket and blocks:

Eco Yoga Kit

Silk Eye Pillows with Lavender, come in a variety of colors and have removable covers – perfect to relax during savasana:

Small Silk Eye Pillow Lavender

A personal favorite of mine, and made in Canada, Yoga Jeans by Second Denim Co. come in a variety of styles.  I love their dark, skinny jeans as they really do feel like a second skin. And yes, you could practice yoga in them! I ordered mine online from Montreal company, Yoga-à-Porter:

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