Yes. I love Christmas.
I love Christmas for all the nice feelings it brings in me.
The festive mood, the preparations. The bright colourful decorations.The gifts, the mince meat pies, the pudding, the crackers, the garlands, the lights, the candes, the food, the ‘Buche de Noel’, the friends, the joy, the laughter, and so forth.
The countdown for that single day when every hour seems to be hanging in delight. The time for reflection. The time when we can stop and think of others in a more compassionate way. The time when the world comes together to share a same feeling. That of love and joy. That of togetherness, sharing and dreams. That time of the year when myths children around the world relate to one another witout any boundary of race, creed, religion or faith. The only time of the year when each one of us is allowed to spare a kind thought, do a good action, forget and forgive conflicts and embrace in harmony.
Yes, I love Christmas for all it brings. Staying away from the over consumerism and commercial face of the festivities is a tough task. But over the years, we have learnt to say No to Christmas trees, no to expensive gifts and wrappings, no to roast chicken or turkey, no to over consumption. Living and traveling across the globe has enabled us to relate to Christmas celebrations in many ways. Spending the day by the beach over some quiet reading under the shae of casuarina trees did not rob us from the joy and thill of a white Christmas. It was equally special and exciting. We have celebrated Christmas in numerous unconventional ways. Like enjoying a grilled fish under a thatched kiosk of a bar and kids playing with balloons and piglets on the beach in East Timor. Where the only music we could listen to were ‘Jingle Bells’ in the lone Chinese restaurant who was decorated for the occasion. A snowman in white puffs of cotton wool and coloured paper cutouts. Or in the crowded streets of Hanoi in Vietnam amidst hundreds of motorbikes’ horns. Where the red chinese lanterns mingle with the colourful garlands and votive candles. In Mauritius where Santa Claus gets mixed up with St Nicholas and Christmas puddings are eaten with fresh mangoes and juicy lychees or partying on the beach with pots of biryani and pickled pineapples. My list of places we have celebrated Christmas is exhaustive.
Christmas is wonderful; however, it’s not exactly the most eco-friendly of all of the holidays.
All of the bows, wrapping paper and cards from gift giving can create a lot of extra waste. In order to keep all of this from being an environmental detriment, there are ways that to forego the waste without giving up the traditions of gift giving that you’ve grown to love.
Give only necessary Christmas cards
Chances are most of the people that you know have an e-mail address whether it be at home or at work. Consider sending them e-cards this year instead of a regular Christmas card. You’ll save yourself some money on the cost of the cards as well as on the postage. Since not everyone has an e-mail address, send cards only to those that don’t use one.
Skip the wrapping paper
If you are going to be giving a gift, give it in a reusable bag instead of using wrapping paper. The recipient can reuse the bag over and over again. Also, you’ll know that you didn’t create unnecessary waste from wrapping paper or gift bags that will most likely end up in the trash.
Recycle any wrapping paper that you receive
If you receive a gift that comes wrapped, save the paper to reuse it. You can use it as packing material, note paper or even to shove it inside soft toe shoes to help them keep their shape. Hinting that you would like a reusable bag may also encourage people to skip using wrapping paper for your gift altogether.
Choose a gift that is made from natural, organic or recycled materials
There are a plethora of stores that offer products that are natural, organic or recycled. You can find presents such as beauty products, apparel and chocolate. With all of the items that you can choose from, you can almost certainly a present for everyone on your list.
Give a previously owned gift
While this may sound strange, it’s a great way to give a unique gift that you may not be able to find in many places. For example, if you have a chef in your life, consider giving them an antique cookbook that you can find at an antique store in your area. For the fashionista on your list, consider checking out a local thrift store for a vintage purse. There are many exceptional gifts that you can find for almost everyone on your list and they may even be right down the block from you.
Buy presents that have limited to no packaging
There are many items that you could find in stores that include boxes, plastic, and various other types of packaging that may end up getting tossed in the trash. Instead, consider buying gifts that don’t include all of this extra waste and look for products that have limited to no packaging at all.
When choosing a Christmas gift and what it will be given in, consider the environmental impact that it will have first and if it will be worth it.