It’s come that time of year again – how did it fly by so quick?! We know Christmas can be a stressful time of year for some, a sad time, a joyous time, a time filled with stuff and polite acceptance of things we don’t need and over eating and excess wrapping paper, and, and! Well, we know we don’t have all the answers, but we’ve put together a few tips and thoughts to help encourage a more conscious Christmas. We hope you find it helpful.
Everyone does this differently, we know! And, there has certainly been a trend to move away from gift giving to more experience based giving (i.e rather than giving someone a box of chocolates or a pair of socks, it could be a movie ticket or a cooking class). Some families and friends do secret santa’s which limits the amount of gifts (real talk, we don’t really need to be given gifts in a developed country, we have more than enough), but we understand that traditions and habits can be hard to break. We wholeheartedly encourage these kinds of gifting options and have a couple of suggestions here for more experience based options: Work-Shop, The School of Life, Laneway Learning, Come and Cook. Wherever you’re based, there is likely something great close by. Google search workshops, crafternoons, local crochet club, cooking class, pottery studio, theatre season pass, we guarantee you’ll find something interesting!
Buy Less, Make More
Prefer to give home made and hand made? We do too. You could whip up some chutneys, jams, goodie balls, ginger bread, offer up food packs fresh from your garden! There’s nothing like a home made card, a heart felt poem or story, or just something simple. There are plenty of ways to do this which is less wasteful too. Jams and chutneys are a great way to use up fruits on their way out (often at farmers markets stalls offer boxes of fruit for juices or jams, they’re usually real cheap!) and you can re-use jars and containers.
Offer a Service
Perhaps you could offer up a day to help a family member in their garden? Or a child night free (i.e baby sitting) for a friend? Cook a meal, a trip to the beach, offer a foot massage, go for a hike and a picnic. Sometimes these kinds of ‘gifts’ can actually be really meaningful and helpful.
If you’re already signed up to our e-news and visit our Rummage page, chances are, you’re already trying to be more conscious and sustainable with your choices. For those who are already past the traditional gift giving, we’ve put a few charitable causes that you can donate to: Oxfam Unwrapped, Karma Currency, Bush Heritage.
And if you don’t have cash, you can volunteer your time and energy for a good cause in your local community, do something near you is a helpful aggregator for local charities and causes close to home.
Re-gift! Shop secondhand! Re-use! Repurpose! There really is no excuse good enough anymore not to be looking for second hand options. If there’s something you’re looking for, chances are, you can get it second hand. As we’re constantly piling up more and more waste around the world, we need to be more conscious of anything ‘new’ we’re bringing into our homes. Ebay, Gumtree, Freecycle, Suitcase Rummage, local op shops, are all great places to search for second hand goods. Say no to single use plastics for Christmas! Say not to unnecessary bon bons! Re-use loo paper or magazines as wrapping paper!
All those Christmas decorations come from somewhere and they end up somewhere too. Likely, landfill. Many Christmas decorations are made from plastics, tossed away after a year or two as trends change. We can not stress enough the importance of recycling and re-using ‘stuff’. If you’ve already got Christmas decorations stored in the cupboard, use them! Before you go to purchase something new. Also, often these goods are made in developing countries, where the pay is well below minimum wage and working conditions are terrible. Look for goods which are fair trade. If it’s cheap and comes from Kmart, it’s likely not good for the planet and only supporting cheap factory trade. We can make a difference when we choose not to buy these products and ask for change from these kinds of big companies.
Make a Start
We know we can’t possibly do everything. Choosing a big holiday or celebration is a great way to start making small changes and share some of these really easy alternatives and ways of thinking with others. Perhaps by changing one thing at the family christmas lunch this year, you’ll inspire an Aunt or a cousin to make those changes in their every day lives too. We just gotta be better, do better and take more action in the ways we can.
Spread the cheer, generosity and conscious thinking all year round!
Image: Laura Bernard