'Tis the Season

Girl Holding Christmas Gift.
- Bethan U.
With Christmas just around the corner, when better to talk about sustainable celebrations? At this time of year, people unite in their hope to express love to their friends and family. Be it through gifts, cards, gestures, advent calendars, parties, or singing carols, there’s lots of fun all around!

However, there’s a dark underbelly to our celebrations.  Picture aisles full of candy canes and other sweets wrapped in plastic. Picture Christmas jumpers made in sweatshops. Picture the random gifts you receive (or give!) that won’t be enjoyed or treasured for long. This isn’t sustainable at all.

You may have guessed it, but in this blog we’d like to inspire you towards creative and thoughtful celebration ideas ready for this Christmas season.

TO GIFT OR NOT TO GIFT?

That is the question! We have so much stuff already cluttering our drawers, closets, and cupboards. Do we really need more? How about giving something that isn’t tangible? Give memories! Tickets to a concert, a season pass to the zoo, a subscription to an audio book service.

If physical gifts are important to you and how you give or receive love, there are heaps of alternatives to a boring gift from a generic website’s list. To start, DIY something! Make something from scratch like homemade jam, candles, or cookies. Or upcycle something you already own or found at a thrift store into something new. Turn a skirt into a lampshade or a holey sweater into beautiful new mittens!  But if you aren’t the crafty type, buy presents second hand from local thrift shops, vintage stores, or online markets. And finally, when buying new, look for products that were made by men and women who were paid fairly and treated well. There are tons of great ethical enterprises like Kairos Traders in Colorado Springs, CO or The Intersection in Surrey, BC.

TO WRAP OR NOT TO WRAP?

When you do buy physical gifts, think about how you will wrap them. Reused paper and twine works great. A nice scarf or a pretty tea towel can double as wrapping and a gift! In general, avoid plastic wrap, plastic string, and tape. Carefully unwrap your own gifts and save the paper, gift-bags, and bows for next year and recycle the paper that you can’t salvage.

TO DECORATE OR NOT TO DECORATE?

Right now, shops are full of low-priced Christmas decorations ready to deck your halls. Be wary of cheap decorations. They’re usually made of plastic and not built to last.  Instead, why not invest in some fun decorations that you can use every Christmas? Or even better, get some that you can use for multiple types of celebrations! Cloth or paper bunting is great to make, own, or borrow. A beautiful, neutral tablecloth is great for all celebrations, and you can make it switch it up for the holidays with a table runner, coloured napkins, or some flowers from your garden.

TO SNACK OR NOT TO SNACK?

Of course you want some good nostalgic Christmas snacks surrounding you this season. This is a great opportunity to buy thoughtfully. Is your advent calendar from a chocolate company who certify that their workers were treated fairly? Are your cupcakes coming in single-use plastic trays? Let’s be mindful of packaging as well as how workers were treated in growing and producing the food and products  we buy.

ON TO THE FESTIVITIES!

We Christians have a lot to celebrate and the Bible is bursting full of God leading His people to have regular festivals and rememberings. As we get caught up in the holidays and celebrate, let’s do so deliberately and thoughtfully, loving God and loving others with our choices.

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