“Western civilization is a loaded gun pointed at the head of this planet.”Terence McKenna
COVID has certainly changed the Christmas landscape this year, and I urge you to celebrate with gatherings based upon the medical advice for your home state or town. Staying home, and keeping things small, is better for everyone. Let’s stop the spread, and do our part to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
Here are my top tips for a Festive Season that doesn’t have to cost the Earth:
1. Get Thrifty and Re-Use – Choose quality over quantity. Create a box in which to store all of your decorations. Re-use them every year. Use the same tree (if it’s not a real one), the same tinsel, the same ornaments. Stop buying new ones. Just stop. You don’t have to compete with what all the advertising and Better Homes shows tell you. At Christmas task someone to save all of the re-usable ribbons, bows and other paper or packaging. Store them too and re-use them throughout the year when you wrap other gifts. Keep postal packaging and useable bubble wrap and plastic and re-use it. Stop feeling like everything has to be new. That’s so last century!
2. Don’t buy Gag and Gimmick gifts – You know, the ones that are funny or that evoke a strong reaction when you unwrap them, but will never be used, or will be quickly discarded and end up in landfill within the first week. Gifts with no point except to make you laugh or gross out for a short moment are not gifts worth giving.
3. Choose Gifts With The Planet In Mind – Think about the life of your gift after you give it and the impact it will have on the environment. Experiences are great. Think movies or adventures. Food, wine, books, a houseplant. A subscription. Items that last such as jewellery. Hand-crafted items. Ceramics, glass, wood, metal, paper and card. Consumables in thoughtful packaging. Time together. Sharing meals and moments. Knowledge, courses, online courses. Gifts that help others live mindfully on the earth are great too, such as keep-cups for take-out coffee or metal lunch boxes. Support your local businesses – they need your business now, more than ever.
4. Wrap Your Gifts Mindfully – Use a new tea-towel and some fabric ribbon or string, use flowers, use a glass jar with a lid, use a beeswax impregnated cloth that your gift recipient can then use instead of plastic wrap in the kitchen. Find some vintage tins or canisters at the local thrift shop. Use lengths of fabric. Use paper. If using ribbon make sure that it is fabric, not plastic. Re-use packaging and ribbon you’ve received previously, including florist decorations and plastics.
5. Buy Your Festive Food At the Farmers Markets or from local cafes and restaurants– It’s local, it’s fresh, it’s helping out your community, and there will be much less packaging. Also think about using your own containers or conscious environmental choices and go to bulk stores for as much as you can, so that you can avoid generating more use-once plastic food packaging.
6. Make Or Bake Some Of Your Gifts – There are so many good ideas for this, and it can be a fun family activity or one you look forward to. Crafting and making things is good for our soul. Not your scene at all? Buy from someone who loves to make and bake. Problem sorted!
7. Teach Your Kids That It Actually IS The Thought That Counts – a return to some old-fashioned values about giving and receiving, and about manners. gratitude and community spirit is not such a bad thing…
8. Stop Competing With and Judging Yourself By Advertising and Reality TV – It’s okay to re-use. You don’t need a new outfit. You don’t have to be ‘seasonal’, ‘fashionable’ or ‘cutting edge’. You don’t need a constant flow of new stuff. That’s all just consumerism. Live by your own values and standards and feel good about that.
9. Don’t Go Into Debt For Christmas – Especially don’t go into debt to impress other people. Let’s live with more honesty. Stop putting all that pressure on yourself and on others with these crazy holiday season expectations.
10. Make Do – It’s an expression your grandparents probably used but it’s not so common these days. What can you re-purpose? How cute can you make a fallen branch look for a Christmas Tree with some homemade decorations?
Remember too, to make your own Christmas celebrations sustainable for yourself. Don’t be a kitchen slave all day, or the one who does all the preparation and cleaning up. If this year your best idea for a Christmas celebration involves sandwiches and snack platters, a Christmas movie on TV and a nap in the afternoon then good for you! Want to cancel it all together? That’s fine too. Let this festive break be the break you really need, rather than the spectacle you feel forced to create.
Love, hugs and my favourite ‘Team FruitCake!’ T-shirt, Nicole xx