I’m dreaming of a green Christmas…
Over on Reduce Footprints, we’ve been challenged to make our Christmas the greenest ever.
Fortunately for us, it’s not too hard as we have a very small family and keep celebrations to a minimum.
A few years ago I could stand Christmas no more, but having a child meant I needed to compromise.
In all honesty, if I had my way, I’d do away with the entire holiday season.
Our modern, commercialised Christmas has no meaning or value to me.
I find it a farce, potentially stressful and it hurts me to see the amount of excess consumption and waste the average person accumulates.
I make no judgement on those who choose to go a little wild; so many of us get swept along by romantic ideas and if you have a large, demonstrative family and love all the holiday season brings then go for it…I’ve certainly done it in the past.
But it’s not for me any more.
Instead we celebrate on the shortest day of the year; the 21st December. I feel the returning of the Sun is something I can really celebrate. The day feels full of promise, full of potential and a re-birth for the planet.
And here’s how I make some of our choices greener:
I only send cards to the ‘older generation’ who value and appreciate a Christmas card. Many of my friends are in their eighties and getting a Christmas card in the mail brings them comfort and cheer. I send electronic Christmas cards to everyone else; we’ve come to an understanding that this is easier and know we can say ‘I love you’ on any day of the year.
My gift-giving circle is now my husband, our daughter, my Mum and Dad and my Godchildren. I give a token gift to several of our neighbours. For adults I give experiences wherever I can or consumables, such as food. For our daughter we try to give one large gift rather than several smaller ones and we’re happy to purchase second hand. My Godchildren get money to spend on whatever they wish. Neighbours are given packs of home made biscuits
Apparently we use enough wrapping paper at Christmas to reach the moon, which I find abhorrent and shocking. There are so many beautiful and creative ways to wrap gifts without sacrificing trees and I’d say if you can only do one thing to reduce your impact this Christmas, choose this one.
We’re so lucky in that we are surrounded by local farm shops, orchards and farming land. We can buy organic local vegetables and meat, we have a vineyard 7 miles away for local wine, several breweries in the area and I love making things from scratch. We just have a ‘normal’ Sunday dinner with a few extras. We try not to over buy or impulse buy but we will indulge in things we don’t normally purchase.
Ever since Little Miss Green saw some Christmas Trees on the back of a lorry we’ve cut a few branches from our favourite magnolia tree and bought them inside to decorate. She couldn’t stand the thought of cutting down a tree for two weeks. However, last year she wanted things to be a bit more ‘normal’ and we bought an artificial tree. My reasoning was that it will last the next 20 years. I’m not entirely sure or confident about my decision but this celebration is for her, so I’m happy to compromise.
Meaning and value
The most important thing to me is to bring meaning and value into the day, rather than just make it about food and gifts. I like to think of the gifts Mother Nature generously gives us every single day of the year. I like to stop for a moment and honour all that she does and all that she provides. I love to get outside if we can, put my feet on the earth and feel myself being supported, loved and held. We have small rituals throughout the day that brings our own sense of tradition and gratitude into our celebrations.
All in all the holiday season for us is kept very quiet, very personal and very small.
What about you – how do you make your holiday season green?
Like you we have stopped celebrating Christmas and just treat it like any other day. There is way to much hype I saw my first Christmas decorations on the 1st september this year and may people around us leave there Christmas lights up all year.
There are so many expectations attached to holidays, especially Christmas. And, of course, such waste. In my house, we tend to make Christmas about being together, eating good food, and enjoying nature (we always take a walk on holidays). We do give and receive gifts but try to keep them meaningful, useful, and green. I love the idea of celebrating on the 21st, Mrs. Green, and changing the focus from brash commercialism to a true celebration of life!
I still find Christmas something to celebrate, but I agree that we use way too much wrapping paper and cutting down trees is sad. Many companies are coming out with recycled wrapping paper. What do you use as an alternative?
Hi Susie, welcome to the site! I use cloth, furoshiki style or old newspapers (a standing joke in our family!). There are some more ideas on this post: http://myzerowaste.com/2014/11/5-ways-to-wrap-up-christmas-without-trashing-the-planet/
And I love the sound of the gentle celebrations in your household ST – thanks for sharing 🙂
Wow 1st Sept!? Surely that takes away any magic and specialness to the day itself? Interesting you’ve stopped celebrating Christmas – how have friends / family responded to that?
I’m looking forward to Christmas. I see your point about the commercialization of Christmas. Christmas does produce a lot of unnecessary waste in the form of excess wrapping paper and gifts that will be used once and then thrown away. But I also think there is great opportunity to do good by recycling, reusing, and giving to charity. I like to view Christmas as time with family and celebrating life.
I love your view on the festive season, Greg – nice and balanced 🙂