Every year there are things we do to minimize the consumptive haze. This year, with the economy being what it is and people mowing each other down at Wal-Mart, many are choosing alternatives to corporate Christmas debris. Here are some of the tips that help my family to slow down, enjoy each other and breathe.
1. Get Outside: This is always the number one answer for us. When cabin fever settles in or the air is getting stale, we head for the wild. Today we took our screaming toddlers for a cross-country ski. The gray sky broke as the sun set behind snow-covered trees. My son, who only has a few words (mama, dada, eat, lulu doggie) said “Weeeeeeee” as my husband glided on the snow. Moments like this make it worthwhile.
2. Avoid wasting energy with lights, inflatable snowmen and massive automated plastic snowglobes (these strange spheres that send styrofoam snow in circles are perhaps one of the signs of the capitalistic Apocalypse?)
3. Make stuff: This year I made my tahini, garlic, lemon dressing for friends. My hubby makes a mean roasted butternut squash soup with garlic, ginger and cinnamon and we put it in mason jars with a bow. I have friends who knit, make homemade lip balm, and create art to share with loved ones.
4. If you use Christmas trees, there are several sustainable options. One choice is to use a potted tree. If you don’t want to keep it after the holiday, you can find a planter who will take the tree. Here is a great resource page on how to manage live trees. Some municipalities collect trees for mulching. Use Earth 911 to find your local waste management. Fresh Christmas Tree is a great place to find sustainably harvested trees, but by this time of year they are usually sold out. They might be able to refer you to local farms that are growing trees responsibly.
5. Recycle Wrapping: instead of spending money on wrapping I actually save old wrapping and ribbons. Gift bags get used multiple times in our house. Re-gifting is also a really good way to avoid wasteful spending.
6. Donate to a cause: For those who don’t need ‘stuff,’ giving to local charities is a great way to give a gift with meaning.
7. Give an experience: Yoga classes, massage, theater tickets, or an afternoon of hiking…
Here is an excellent resource for other environmentally conscious holiday ideas. Mahalo!
Wishing everyone warmth for the season.