consumerism shopping waste

Rethinking Christmas

A few weeks ago we wrote about Buy Nothing Christmas, and a couple of people wished they could tone down their Christmas celebrations to something more simple, more people-centred, and more green, but they couldn’t. Expectations are too high, plans have been made, traditions have to be upheld, and besides, half the presents have already been bought.

Might I suggest then, that if you long for a simpler, more human Christmas, now is the time to start planning it. You’ve got a blank slate for 2008, and if you wait until the pressure hits in October or November, it’s too late. If you want to talk to your family about it, and have a bit of a discussion, now might be a good time to make some suggestions. You can talk again in the summer and decide for sure whether you want to go for it, but get the ball rolling early.

There are lots of good reasons for a simpler Christmas. One is the spending. I don’t think the figures are out yet, but in the UK it was certainly predicted that we were going to spend more than ever before – a grand £706 per person. That’s not great considering we’re a country with an average personal debt of £33,000.

Another good reason is the environment, with the UK throwing away 8000 tonnes of wrapping paper and six million trees every Christmas, among many other things. There’s lots we could do to make Christmas more sustainable.

To be honest though, you’ll know if and why you want a simpler Christmas. And if you don’t, you probably won’t be persuaded. I just think there are more of us out there who’d like to say no to the excess of it all, and I’d like to encourage you that it is possible.

For some simple starting tips, see the little book Do Nothing – Christmas is Coming, by Stephen Cottrell.

Normal posting will resume in January. I’ve been on something of an internet exile the last couple of weeks.


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