Holiday Craziness… I think I’ll pass.

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Anxiety. Stress. Overconsumption. Financial strain. Upbeat Christmas songs playing loudly, as shoppers push and shove past each other. On the other side – loneliness: a microwave dinner alone in front of a television.

How often we get caught up in the festivities and miss out on the important stuff – love, peace, community.

Many of the typical holiday traditions go against everything I believe in. They ooze of overconsumption, and flaunt the killings of trees, wasting of energy and unnecessary use of natural resources. I struggle between sharing in holiday spirit and staying true to myself.

Here are some of my ‘traditions’ which you may be interested in trying yourself:

Gifts – Is this really necessary? No. You can opt for not giving anything at all, except your wonderful presence. I personally think that’s the best gift I could get from any of my family or loved ones. Although on the flip side, I can see some of the “feel good” benefits of giving and receiving. It’s a time to celebrate and appreciate those who are special in our lives, and I support that wholeheartedly.

  • Activities together – Make a coupon to do something together. Be specific. Be outrageous. // Make a sheet tent, and have a sleep over – flashlights and bedtime stories included// Make a snow fort, prep bottles with water mixed with food color // Go skydiving // 8 hours of Mr/Mrs “Fix-it” time//
  • Kiva – Give the gift of a micro loan. This is perfect for the last minute holiday shopper. One of my all time favorite gifts {and no, not only because you can purchase all the gifts you need in under an hour in the comfort of your own home – although, lets be honest, this is pretty good perk}. Kiva generates opportunities for entrepreneurs in even the most remote areas to create change in the world, and allows your gift receiver the freedom to ‘invest’ their money in a borrower which resonates with them personally. Last year this is all I gave, and I’ve found that many people enjoyed it so much they have decided to contribute additional amounts personally to provide more loans. This gift truly ‘keeps on giving’ as the loans are not donations, they are paid back, and that money can be re-invested again.
  • Changing_the_present – This site is a compilation on multiple non-profits with tangible gifts your donations will help to provide, and has an option for simple but classy ‘cards’ (both digital and paper). You can search by different criteria, such as cause (environment, community etc.) and price range.

Decorations – I’m not a huge fan of holiday themed decorations – perhaps a mix of feeling they are unnecessary/consumer driven and my complete dis-interest in spending copious amounts of time setting everything up and taking everything down. My friends and family have been kindly coaxing me for years, by showering me with them (sleigh bells, Christmas wreaths, bobble head snowmen…). Hint taken.

  • Lights – I have never felt the need to have  any – it’s completely acceptable to skip on this tradition. Lets be honest, in one of the most energy intensive seasons (heating), we put even more load on the system by decking our houses up with thousands of lights, blow up figurines, and singing Santa’s. Having said that, last night I came home, on a pitch black freezing cold night to look up at my building and realize that not even one unit had a set of lights up. So I bought some – one lone strand of LED Christmas lights in calming colours, an extension chord, and a timer. I even saw some lights online, that are solar powered! There are some less impactful options out there, should you choose to do this.
  • Tree – I find this one of the most unfortunate traditions. Millions of trees are cut down, millions of acres of mono cultured farmed coniferous trees are planted, millions of trees are pulled to end the of the curb, millions of trucks transport them. Millions. I’m not a fan of plastic based alternatives either, although many opt for this. My parents, when I was small, started putting decorations on a large household plant and it caught on! Should I ever choose to decorate a tree, it will be the large Money Tree (Guiana Chestnut) in the living room.
  • Other – I don’t particularly like having things in my house that clutter it or have little to no function: seasonal decorations aren’t my style. Having said that, should you want to decorate your house further, I’d suggest: DIY (do it yourself) projects with re-used materials you no longer use, checking out Etsy to support artists who have brilliant ideas, or having all your friends over to make edible decorations like Gingerbread houses.

Do less, appreciate more – Find ways to de-stress. Don’t put yourself in financial strain. Spend more time with family and less time in the stores. Sit down. Laugh. Give love. Find peace. Create community. Stay true to yourself, while still appreciating the kindness and generosity of others. Give back. Say thank you. Mean it.

What are some of your favorite ‘sustainable’ holiday traditions? Share below!

 

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9 thoughts on “Holiday Craziness… I think I’ll pass.

  1. I always make my own cards, so minus the paper and color pencils, I feel that it cuts back a lot. And, since everyone appreciates a homemade card, I usually give smaller gifts. This year my sister and I are working together to make them for our parents, so hopefully it comes out well. It doesn’t involve too many items either, which is cool too. 🙂

    There are some times where I truly indulge in consumerism, since I just returned from a Disney trip this week. But, reading a few of your posts reminded me of all the things I naturally do that reduce consumerism, and how I can embrace that spirit more this holiday season. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like your blog! Hyper-consumerism at Christmas really bothers me, too. My pet peeve is wrapping paper and gift cards/bags; they waste so many resources and just end up being thrown away. I’ve seen some really cool “Christmas gift in a mason jar” ideas on Pinterest, and I think I’m going to try putting together some mason jar craft kits for my niece and nephew, full of creative material that won’t just go to waste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My sister makes her own cookie/brownie mixes and puts them in a mason jar for her friends each year. They come out well, and each friend likes it because she customizes it to be the type of cookie/brownie that they like. One of her friends doesn’t eat chocolate, etc. Hopefully, your mason jar kits come out well (whatever they contain!). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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