What Not To Get Me For Christmas


“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence—those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are overconsuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.” 

~ Aldous Huxley

When I was a kid, Christmas was something to look forward to. We’d get a new toy or two, maybe a book (mine was always books), a dress or a t-shirt, socks and undies. The toys would last us for the year, the clothes made up a necessary part of our wardrobe.

The food at the table was a treat. Soft-drink. The drink for special occasions, like Christmas. Lollies and candies and chocolate. All sorts of things we didn’t see much of during the year. It was special and lovely, and much anticipated.

The rest of the year had birthdays and Easter. That was about it for special. That was about it for treats. And that was okay.

Now I live a life where I can have anything I want, whenever I want it. There isn’t much reserved for treats. I have a life filled with stuff. And it’s likely that so do you. So you may be thinking you’ll have to find something I don’t have. Or something cute and irresistible. Something to make me laugh. Something to fill that minute after the wrapping is torn off with appreciation or even ironic horror before your gift gets set to one side, or stuffed in the back of a cupboard, or relegated to a pile to be re-gifted later. Or worse. Binned.

So here’s my list of gifts I’d rather not have:

1.No inflatable novelty items for the pool. The ones that hold beer cans or a book or a radio. Or inflatable tennis rackets or giant inflatable dolphins, poo emojis, swans or funky big ‘thumbs ups’. No inflatable anythings, and that includes balloons!

2.No battery-operated (or even solar) Grannies on Zimmer-frames games. No wind-up toys either.

3. No plastic toys, collectable figures or novelty salt-and-pepper shakers.

4. No executive games or Startrek snow globes or other objects to place on my desk. (Actually, I lied about the Startrek snow globe. That would be cool.)

5. No cheap plastic jewellery or novelty items, or even semi-seemed-useful items from the local $5 store. We both know it will break on first go. Cheap plastic junk was only ever going to be destined for landfill.

6. No weird and totally useless novelty-value only books, CDs or DVDs.

7. No strange but potentially useful kitchen gadgets that you’re sure I won’t have. You’re right. I don’t. For a reason.

8. No USB-powered fake fish aquariums to keep me tranquil while I work.

9. No cheap gift sets of toiletries and cosmetics of dubious quality, filled with terrifying chemicals. Especially if it is endorsed by a celebrity or came from a TV shopping channel.

10. No cute puppies or kittens or pet rats. Especially the un-neutered kind. Seriously, do you know how many dumped unwanted pets we see around our farm by Easter?

I could go on. But I won’t. Our planet is struggling because of our consumerism. All of the resources used to make, ship and then wrap the unwanted gift are part of that problem.

A kind thought, a donation to a charity, a newsy letter with updated pics of you and your family, a warm smile and a hug, or a tasty treat are the gifts I’d most value. Home-made food? Thank you! A plant, or produce from your garden? How lovely!

Time with me, a cup of tea, and a proper conversation with a few laughs or a few honest tears from heart-to-heart sharing? A couple of drinks and a barbeque? Best of all.

I have enough stuff. I’d rather have you. Time with you. Connection with you. Put a little food or a beverage into the mix and I’m in heaven.

Please, before you go last-minute gift buying, ask yourself if there is a better gift you could give. One that won’t go to waste. One that won’t harm our planet or perpetuate the factory-farming and dumping of animals.

Thank you.

Some Ideas For A Christmas That Won’t Cost The Earth


“Because normal human activity is worse for nature than the greatest nuclear accident in history.” 
~ Martin Cruz Smith

Hello, Lovelies!
I’m blogging this morning with fire in my heart. 2019’s energies are nearly here (they actually kick in on December 26) and among other things the energy of 2019 supports conscious engagement with the environment, so let’s start by doing our best to have a more conscious Christmas and then flow that effort into all we do in the coming year, and for the rest of our lives. 

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. Consciously Avoid Plastic – Stop feeling virtuous about recycling and just stop buying plastic. Especially as throw-away or short-time use gifts. As of 2017 there were over 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic in the world. Once created only about 9% is recycled, but even recycling doesn’t remove plastic from our environment – it just gets converted to other plastic products. So much of plastic is designed for single use, or to be discarded. Then it ends up in landfill or our waterways, where it pollutes our fresh drinking water or breaks down into smaller particles, killing wildlife and eventually entering our own bloodstreams from the food and water we consume. JUST STOP using glitter, party balloons, plastic holiday banners, plastic plates and cutlery and cheap plastic ornaments. In 2017 there was enough discarded plastic in the world TO COMPLETELY COVER A COUNTRY THE SIZE OF ARGENTINA. Yes, I am shouting. Imagine where you live completely covered in plastic. Now understand that it’s already happened and it’s up to us to start making different choices.

3. Choose Gifts With The Planet In Mind – (Did I mention avoid plastic?) Please don’t choose gag gifts that will create a laugh and then end up in landfill within the first week. 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 their coffee or metal lunch boxes.

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 – It’s local, it’s fresh, 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 manners 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? Does it matter if you have to use the camping table in the loungeroom covered with a green sheet to make enough seating space for all the kids? How cute can you make a fallen branch look for a Christmas Tree with some homemade decorations?