A friendly Christmas

Two days until Christmas – the time where all the festive guilt accumulated over December comes to a peak. Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, always seems to be more joyous, and if that isn’t the case, the last minute preparations keep the mind too occupied to cause trouble. The day before today, the eve of the eve of Christmas eve, is too inconsequential for any heightened emotions.

For some reason the 23rd of December is the day that always does it for me, probably because it’s the day that I do my wrapping. As I tape my stash of pressies up in garish, glittering squares of paper, I find myself reminded of last minute online purchases with non-human next day deliveries; of secret supermarket buys that take place like drug deals five minutes away from the local high street. Eventually the guilt becomes too much and my wrapping abilities are affected – for one more year my family and friends will find themselves with the most obscenely wrapped gifts they could hope for.

This year, though, is different. It’s different because from every angle there has been pressure to be kinder to our planet – unfortunately it is a pressure that has come too late as we now find ourselves in the midst of a climate crisis. In 2019 we have been allowed to hear all of the small voices that have been calling for change for years, the voices that have known of the planetary struggles for as long as they’ve been happening. If only we had heard these people sooner, it might make a blog about waste-free wrapping somewhat useful.

Scarves and ribbon are more forgiving than wrapping paper

Cutting out plastic, living waste free and becoming vegan are small, easy things that can be done to make a difference. I have listened to many people tell me that on an individual basis these changes do nothing, and that it is the big companies and factories that need to alter their attitudes to Global Warming. Yes, this is true, but how can we expect the companies to even consider it if they aren’t seeing the demand for change from the people that they are manufacturing for? Capitalism is a tricky one to deal with, but ultimately the consumers need to show that there is a necessity for an overhaul.

So, with all this in mind I chose to conduct my Christmas differently this year. Instead of Turkey my plate will be featuring a vegan mushroom lattice, and while I am struggling with the last part of transitioning into full veganism I believe that ultimately it makes a considerable difference to our environment. I have swapped out plastic filled wrapping paper with scarves and ribbon from the charity shop and I’ve made name tags from some old clothes of mine that I chopped (this was my favourite swap purely because it eliminated the need for tape and I have always detested the very creation of it). And finally, I have reduced the amount of consumerism I took part in. I wasn’t able to buy all gifts locally but for the most part I avoided supermarkets and the heaving city centre. My friends and I even had a potluck Christmas party with a secret santa where the only rule was that the gift must be handmade; small things like this that encourage whole friendship groups to make changes can only be positive.

So with less than 48 hours until the big day and many people still rushing around with last minute jobs – I make a bold suggestion that there is still time to factor some alternative ideas into your celebrations. But even if there really isn’t, I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year; may 2020 treat you with kindness.

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