It’s nearly Christmas, a time of year when there are so many expectations put on us, mainly by the consumerist society we live in, to create the most perfect day for our loved ones.
Did you know that this holiday season Aussies will use 150,391 km of wrapping paper- enough to go around the world 4 times? This is around 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper which is the equivalent of 50,000 trees and we create 125,000 tonnes of waste in plastic packaging alone. According to research, Australian adults spend on average $475 on presents, with only half of them being appreciated. As a whole, the nation spends $554 million on extra food, with a third of it going to waste. (from Transition Streets Geelong).
It’s our Mother Earth, it’s all our fellow creatures and eventually us who bear the consequences of all the crackers, wrapping paper, ribbons, decorations, Christmas cards, unwanted presents, packaging and food waste (not to mention debt) that have been part of our habitual behaviour for these holidays.
But why do we allow this to happen? When did it go from a simple day of celebration to maxing out credit cards, being stressed and yes for many relieved when the day is over?
Why do we feel failure and stress when we don’t have the perfect gifts, in the perfect clothes, the perfect meal, in the perfect house?
When you read about Christmas’s past you feel the wonderment, they felt on having a special meal and receiving one gift usually something needed, new gloves, new socks and for a child, a handmade doll or wooden wagon and a lolly or an orange.
The presents were made with love and thought and is that what made them special?
So, is it time to reclaim Christmas?
There are many ways to claim Christmas back from the multinational companies, who say they are here to help us create the best Christmas ever, all while making money from our need to purchase the perfect Christmas.
It’s time to rethink our approach:
Spend no time in the large soulless Plazas and more time supporting small local businesses, markets and independent online stores.
Now we love giving second-hand, used, vintage, retro or unique gifts- but not regifting!
But why do many feel uncomfortable incorporating this gift style into the gift list?
These gifts, save money, reduce carbon footprint, zero waste, sustainable and are part of the circular economy. So why is there a perceived stigma as being ’Cheap‘ if you do this?
You can also, make, bake or grow amazing presents or buy from the small homebased business owners who do.
Give experiences not stuff- tickets or vouchers to events – tiny house expo, car show, or garden festival or workshops in topics of interest – Rag quilting, how to surf or create a kokedama.
Or how about a paid-up coffee card for favourite café and add local made reusable coffee mug.
If you need to go new, then look for gifts that are 80 -100 % recycled content and buy from a small local business in person or online. From someone who will do a little happy dance each time they make a sale.
Do you really need all that wrapping paper?
Santa does not need to wrap every gift, just pop them in a stocking as is. The excitement will still be there and please Santa don’t fill that stocking full of useless plastic stuff that breaks after 1st use or has been lost or discarded by end of Boxing Day. Remember the motto – Less is More.
For under the tree, hand decorated brown paper that can be recycled or try the Furoshiki method of gift wrapping.
And let’s not forget the tree, plastic or real? Or other alternative? We have over the years had gum leaf branch ‘tree’ that had broken off, many feral pine trees from side of the road (absolutely not perfect in shape and my only criteria is to check for wildlife before bringing into house!) For a plastic tree go the local op shop!
This year I am leaning towards a upcycled pallet tree or a upcycled garden obelisk with greenery and wooden decorations. Just Google Christmas tree alternatives!
For us acknowledging and honoring Mother Earth and the Sun helps to quieten the ‘noise’ of Christmas expectations and perfection.
The Summer Solstice is just before Christmas on December 22nd the time of the longest day, a time to give thanks to honour the sun. You can make solstice sun tea by adding edible flowers and herbs to a jar filled with water, then leave it out in the sun to steep.
“May the long-time sun, shine upon you, all love surrounds you and the pure light within you guide your way”
So, quieten the ‘noise’ of consumerist Christmas. Have fun & laughter, make memories, listen to your heart and do what suits you and yours. But remember our responsibilities to Mother Earth!
Christmas Magic is Silent. You don’t hear it. You Feel it. You Know It. You believe It.
Wishing All a Simple, less than perfect, expectation free Christmas filled with magic