The little birds in this image are so darned cute and happy . . . I want to feel that way about the holidays! Well, sometimes I do, but mostly it is a fleeting sensation that tries to catch up to me as I blow past the pine wreath on my back door. It is hard to sit still during these holidays, especially when you have kids (and grandkids for some of us lucky ones) and need to be Santa AND all his elves.
I have greened my christmas by literally going green. I’ve gone all scrooge on most decorations except the pine greens. Other than the tree, I don’t want a few thousand little white twinkling lights on my house or my wreaths or my mantle. I was buying wreaths and just wanted one with a simple bow. Nothing – they all had lots of plastic balls and strange creatures bursting forth. I’ll do my own . . . where are all those pine cones I saved for a project just like this . . .
This year, when I think about sustainability during the holiday season, it is less about buying or making nifty sustainably-made, green goodies or cooking a locally grown, organic feast (although I have done these things for the most part). This year I’m into energy conservation – no, not the electricity or heat keeping us lit up and warm, but my own personal energy levels!
Here’s what I’ve learned (slowly, painfully over too many years) about conserving or even creating more personal energy sustainability through the holidays:
1. pace yourself – it took me way too many years to get this one, but the last couple of years it has worked out well. I got my gifts and wrapped them ALL in record time this year. Kind of eerie actually.
2. simplify, simplify, simplify – in so many cases, less is more, especially when it comes to decorating. candles, and lots of natural elements (greens, holly, cranberries, etc.)
3. sit down and BREATHE – I make myself light the tree and put on some peaceful holiday music and sit quietly at least once a day. I semi-meditate on the things I’m grateful for and sometimes allow myself to feel the presence of those loved ones that aren’t going to be with us in the flesh. The overall concept is harder to achieve, but remarkably energizing.
4. sing-a-long – I happen to love Christmas music and have been collecting it for many years, so I love to blast it while I do whatever chores need to get done – and sing as loud as I can (it usually keeps the family out of my hair or they join in the fun!).
5. Charlie Brown Christmas & The Grinch – My kids’ age range from 17 – 26 and they STILL beg me to stop the madness and sit together and watch these two holiday classics.
6. sleep – Although tempting to put things off till the last minute so you can stay up for a few nights in a row getting it all done, or the temptation to indulge in too many late parties, I find that maintaining healthy sleeping patterns is critical for my holiday sanity.
7. minimize the bad stuff– well, this might be different for some folks, but aside from drugs and alcohol, which I avoid anyway, I have to be careful not to indulge in all the holiday cookies and desserts all those well-meaning sugar pushers try to tempt me with. If I’m tired I have to resist the temptation to go berserk with coffee (which always leads to a sleepless night and sometimes some rather cranky pants moments with relatively innocent family members). I try to stay with my healthy eating habits and routines.
8. keep it light – and I mean keep a sense of humor about everything and try not to take everything so personally or seriously. This is sometimes a major feat as many people get a little intense about the holidays. Laughing as much as possible is a great holiday stress and energizing remedy.
Have a Peaceful Green Holiday!