Planning an eco friendly Christmas
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This week’s Change the World Wednesday challenge sees us planning ahead for Christmas / Yule.
I don’t know about you, but finding gifts that delight the recipient whilst engaging your own values can be challenging, unless all your friends and families are from camp ‘earth friendly’.
I like to think that as I’m maturing in years I’m getting more tolerant. More live and let live. In that past I have been belligerent, by getting people lovely eco friendly gifts that I have loved, but which in all honesty has been a total waste of money. I’ve felt it was pearls before swine. So yes, you can see I can still be belligerent, intolerant, judgmental but I try to temper it. Life is sweeter that way…
Gifting for adults is pretty straight forward. Think edible or plantable and you’re pretty much onto a winner. Alternatively give a stressed parent a night out while you babysit, a trip to the theatre, a meal out or a massage voucher. IOUs rock and as EcoGrrl mentioned in a comment over on Reduce Footprints, asking yourself “How can I make them feel good?” is just about the most amazing gift you can give…
Gifting for my elders is a breeze and a joy. Pick them up, bundle them in a car and take them for a drive through the forest on a beautiful autumn day and you’ll create a memory they’ll be sharing at coffee mornings for weeks to come. Ok, there are a few carbon emissions, but it’s not some mindless piece of plastic crap that will end up broken in a minute.
Bake them some shortbread or make them a lavender bottle; something that reminds them of their childhood and their smile will light up the room.
Taking an hour a week to pop around for a cup of tea and a chat – it’s kids in a sweetshop syndrome all over…
But buying for other people’s (mainstream) children is quite a different thing.
Heck, buying for my OWN kid is challenging because her values are getting more and more different to mine.
Now that Little Miss Green is in school, is a tween, is watching a little TV at friend’s houses and seeing ads in magazines, my ‘sustainable’ lifestyle is harder to maintain when it comes to gift giving.
She values ‘more’. It doesn’t matter of what, but MORE counts.
I prefer one carefully selected gift that will be cherished.
She’s a ‘quick fix’ gal. She likes the hit of something new, even if it’s discarded or traded with friends in a few days.
I know! Can you IMAGINE how hard this is for me to share?
I soothe myself by telling myself she’s a natural Buddhist with no attachment to anything which is why she can acquire and let go quickly…
Ok, maybe not.
So back to other people’s children. In the past I bought hand crafted, open – ended wooden toys for them. I never received a thank you and I never saw the toy again. IN fact all I received was strange looks which went along the lines of “What IS this piece of crap?”
Now I’ve switched to giving money or store vouchers. Is that a cop out? Am I basically saying ‘go out and buy what you want but because I’m not the one buying the piece of plastic I know you’re going to buy my conscience is clear’? Or am I being ‘tolerant’ and meeting someone where they are at?
Books are a good thing for kids, but some of my friend’s children hate reading. So giving them a book isn’t a gift at all.
Clothes is ok, but not all children see clothes as a gift, they see it more of a necessity.
Sweets and chocolate? Which parent is going to thank you for that?
So after all of this I’m really not sure I have an answer. I seem to run around in circles and as I don’t personally celebrate Christmas it’s all a bit of a challenge for me. I honour that other people celebrate by giving them, what I hope, are well thought out gifts and cards. I wouldn’t mind buying Christmas presents so much if Christmas MEANT something to the recipients. But for nearly all the people I hang out with, there is not an ounce of Christianity in Christmas, it’s all about excess – excess food, drink and presents so it detracts from the meaning even more.
And as my beautiful girl grows up and forms her own opinions on things we have to compromise.
We celebrate Yule and bring lots of meaning and reverence into the day. But we still have ‘gift giving’ as a big part of that day to satisfy Little Miss Green’s needs at this time. I don’t want to be bah humbug about it all, but I DO want some respect for Mother Nature, who provides all that we need, during the celebrations. I want HER to be honoured and revered, not the banks and corporations.
What about you? What does Christmas look like in your household?
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