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?

It’s Okay to Keep Changing – and How to Cope with People Who Don’t Recognise That

Image from timrettig.net

Image from timrettig.net

“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.”
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

I received another message this week that I thought was best answered on my blog.

Lilly writes:

“Hello beautiful. Just wanted to ask some advice. I’m feeling really flat and down and sad this past week. My issues are based in trust and loyalty around family. I am trying to take a holistic approach to life and health in general , have been trying as hard as I can to do and be my best. My ” family ” is still full of doubt , spite and criticism of me and my abilities as a mum and person. My heart is bruised and my soul is weary. Can you offer any advice at all please ? Crystals to work with, books to read, certain meditations, angels to pray to, advice on how to react or not reactionary. ? Anything ?? I know your very busy and have a lot on your own plate but I’m sitting here feeling so lost and down and I don’t know who else to ask. Any advice at all would be deeply appreciated.”

 

First of all, Lilly, here’s a big hug (((HUG))). It’s hard when we’re doing our best and consciously making better choices to lift ourselves up and to live by our own values, and then to get pulled down by the people we had hoped would support us. You can always call on your Angels and Guides. Just talk to them out loud, or in your head, and ask for their help and support. Loved ones who’ve passed over can also bring us comfort. Some people talk to God. GO with what feels right to you.

Lilly, this is a hard one, and I’m going to consider it from several angles. Please know that I am no longer writing just about you, but about so many people just like you, and some who are not.

 

When You Really Did Do Some Things To Harm Trust:

If there was a time when you made mistakes or poor choices, or were immature or had a bad attitude or an addiction, then it’s likely that you hurt the people closest to you. It’s painful for family and friends to watch someone they love be in that space, and it’s painful to be on the receiving end of their bad behaviour, lies, addiction or attitude. When you’ve been continually hurt by someone you become wary of being hurt again. It is hard to trust someone who has put you through that, especially if they have promised or pleaded that they have changed, only to then fall back into those behaviours, or to manipulate your sympathies to their own ends.

In that kind of situation where you’ve hurt others, you will have to earn that trust back. You may want to apologise and let those people speak their hurts to you, so that they too can feel heard. And then you need to let your changed life and your actions speak for themselves. I have seen many brave people work the AA Twelve Step program or similar, and go back to people they had harmed – to explain and to apologise and to offer restitution. Sometimes it helped heal the relationship. Sometimes it just enabled the person who’d broken the trust to make peace with themselves that they had done the best that they could to put things right. Family counselling can help. Or a good counsellor or support group can help you to forgive yourself, understand what happened and move on.

If you’re the one who has been on the receiving end of that harmed trust, it is perfectly fine to look for evidence of change through a person’s actions and day-to-day life, rather than simply accepting what they tell you. The old saying about talk being cheap is true when you have been let down many times before. I wrote a post about that here called Listen With Your Eyes

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When A Loved One Did Things That Harmed Trust:

Sometimes people we love lie. Or cheat. Or take sides. Or play favourites. Or are insensitive or mean. Maybe they have an addiction issue. Perhaps they have experienced abuse or trauma themselves. Or maybe they just made bad choices. People make mistakes. Sometimes, if everyone is willing to work on it, we can put broken back together. It usually takes time,  commitment, and the facilitation of a good therapist. I’ve known people who have forged better, more honest relationships after times of great hardship.

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BUT sometimes our loved one is a bully, a violent addict, a narcissist, a sociopath. Sometimes they are so broken or their behaviours so entrenched that all you will get is more of the same abuse every time you front on up to that relationship. Wanting or needing a person to change doesn’t make them change, no matter how hard you make changes to yourself, or try to handle the relationship differently.

In that situation, hard as it may be, you might need to cut your losses or put a lot of space into the relationship. Don’t put yourself into abuse ‘because it’s Christmas’ or ‘because they’re still my family’. Find a good therapist or counsellor for yourself. Work on you. Get a support network. If you’re an adult you have choices. You don’t need to continue to suffer that kind of behaviour. As a parent you don’t need to expose your child to that kind of behaviour.

 

When You’ve Changed and People Can’t Understand That:

We all grow and change over time. Some of us slowly. Some of us fast. If you’ve travelled extensively, and your family and friends haven’t. If you went to war. If you lost your partner to cancer. If you experienced trauma or chronic illness or some kind of ecstatic spiritual transformation…

Shared experiences are one of the things that unite us. If our loved ones haven’t got that same frame of reference you lose ground and connection. It can be easy to become distant. It isn’t that they don’t love you. It’s just that they don’t understand.

So, don’t expect them to. There will be other people who know what you are going through. Find them, and use them for mutual support and sharing. Or hold your experience close and sacred.

Image from www.alz.org

Image from www.alz.org

Reconnect with family and friends by exploring the things you DO share in common. Old memories, family traditions, people and places that mean something that links you to each other.

We can still be loved, and be part of a family or group, and yet not be fully known or seen or understood. Truth is, sometimes we can even be a mystery to ourselves…

 

When You’ve Changed For The Better and People Can’t Accept That:

Sometimes we grow, and the people around us can’t cope with the fact that we are different. Sometimes we’ve done our best to fit in but we can’t keep pretending. Sometimes we reach a point where we can’t tolerate a situation or relationship because it doesn’t align with our ethics and values, or we will no longer tolerate victimisation, bullying, abuse or unhealthy behaviours. Sometimes we become better, wiser, stronger, more educated, or in other ways different to how we were. We outgrow lovers, friends, and even families.

In certain circumstances we can choose to hide or minimise that change for short periods of time in order to maintain relationships or family harmony. But if you are put down for your transformation, if you are rejected or victimised because of your choices, if you experience abuse – verbal, emotional or otherwise, then it’s time to leave that relationship behind, and to create relationships with people who value you. Value yourself first. Value yourself enough to walk away from those who belittle and diminish you.

Above all, Lilly, It’s important that you value and love yourself. That you make healthy choices for yourself and for your children. That you allow yourself to be valued by others and that you stand up for yourself, protect yourself, and keep yourself and your children out of situations that are abusive and toxic.

Create the life you want for yourself through mindful choices and actions. Grieve the loss of the way things could have been, but don’t dwell on it. Be the person and mum that is you evolving as your best self. Know that in doing that you’ll attract to you the sorts of people who will fit better with who you are and who you are becoming.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole xoxo

Extra Coping Tools

You might find these posts helpful too:

How to get through the hard stuff

How to deal with toxic people

Crystals for highly sensitive people

Free Guided Meditation for the Solar Plexus Chakra

Guided Meditation for Emotional Healing

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