“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”
I wrote this post a few years ago and have been updating it periodically. Most of it is still quite relevant and I’ve tried to update things to address this especially odd pandemic holiday season.
The gift of the season for me has always been all about being with family and friends — and food. There’s always food involved. In 2020? Not so much. This year will be about getting creative NOT ONLY with gift giving, but in how we celebrate and stay connected to those we can’t be with, while
not killing appreciating those that we have been bound to through most of this insane year.
Seriously. Times are very tough for so many right now, and while being all eco-friendly and clever with our upcycled DIY gifts is always helpful, we probably need to be uber mindful of those around us that may be really struggling. Giving time and attention even on the phone or on zoom or whatever, could be the best gift someone who is alone or depressed or anxious could have.
I’ve tried to adapt the following to reflect this uniquely crazy year… In the meantime…
Maybe try some yummy vegan eggnog? spiked or not, it’s easy, healthy & delicious!
My motto now is buy less, make more, and when I have to buy, I buy local and if I can’t buy local I make for damned sure it is sustainably made, recyclable, and as eco-friendly as possible! And now, since we are mostly shopping online, I highly recommend using a very cool browser extension called Your Arbor that enables you to stay aligned with your values while shopping online!
Here are a few ways to create magic and meaning in the season while staying safe and healthy AND
reducing the impact on momma earth
- Peace starts within ~ if I want to have a more peaceful and fun holiday season, I have to take darn good care of myself from the inside out. And wow does this take on a new meaning this year! While some things may be less stressful if we don’t have a big crowd this year, in other ways it could mean more planning and engineering to make it all work. Whatever it is, remember it’s a marathon not a sprint, so take good care and it will be a lot easier for you and those around you! Read my post about personal energy conservation for the holidays.
- Remembering the Reason for the Season ~ whatever holiday you celebrate, try not to be sucked into the commercial marketing aspect of it or the expectations of those that ARE sucked in. Be who you are and shine your love on those around you. No really. I’m not going to get too philosophical, but I’m not sure if there is any religion or belief system (that is a positive one) that being kind and loving and generous isn’t a theme. Be generous from a safe distance. That is all.
- Make stuff ~ I used to do a lot of crafty stuff with my kids and grand kids, and I’m sure that will happen again (hopefully 2021 will be a better year for together projects). In the meantime, I have gotten out my knitting stuff and other solo projects. Sometimes food is the best craft. Just sayin. I won’t be making my annual holiday frosty strawberry squares with Roberta Wilson this year, but I’m confident we’ll do it again next year. Make this amazing vegan hot cocoa gift for friends and family (and yourself). It’s always a huge hit!
- Forgiveness is a great gift ~ (mostly a gift to yourself) This time of year can often bring up wounds and resentments from the past. There’s an emphasis on family and some folks would rather not think about Christmas’ past. Hey, not being able to gather together safely could be helpful to some folks, but keeping resentments isn’t good for you. Listen to Green Diva Meg & Weenie Greenie Julie Bond Genovese in this excellent episode of GD Spirit Pub about forgiveness.
- Buy less ~ I stopped buying crappy plastic stocking stuffers and filler years ago, and I spend a lot of time coming up with USEFUL and cool items, many of which are locally crafted (by real artisans as opposed to my goofy attempts). As a family, we decided years ago to give up the multi-gift crazed thing for Christmas and just focus on handmade items and stockings. We spend less money, consume less packaging in store-bought items, and use much less wrapping paper, but we all have a great time getting creative. I prefer getting a few meaningful gifts than a mess of haphazard (even expensive) gifts.
- Regift ~ seems like a cardinal sin or something, but honestly, we just have way too much stuff and there’s no reason to generate more stuff! I have jewelry to pass down to my girls, or books or special things from my mother and grandmother that have infinitely more meaning to them than anything I could buy at the store (well almost anything).
- Buy local ~ I rarely go into a shopping mall EVER, and this year i loathe the thought even more. I’m proud to say that I have not stepped foot in a mall between Thanksgiving and New Years in many years now. I have my favorite local shops I go to for the few gifts I don’t make or regift. I am fortunate that I live an an extremely cool little town and I enjoy visiting the store owners and sharing my dollars with them, especially during the holiday season.
- Stick to healthy routines ~ OK. This one is more about eating well when we gather at parties with tons of holiday feasting, so… keep it in mind for next year? It’s a wonderful season to visit with friends and family and attend all those fun parties, but it’s not necessary to toss out all your healthy ways (or become the super annoying vegan drag at the party). There are a lot of ways to maintain balance even if your friends and family are not. Here’s a fun Green Divas Foodie-Philes featuring Jerry James Stone about how he has a healthy vegan/vegetarian holiday season:
- Ease up on the decorations ~ for the love of whatever god you believe in (0r none at all), PLEASE don’t create a blow-up doll village on your lawn! I’m sure I’ve offended someone (sorry), but they are probably manufactured in China of questionable plastic fabric, and they use up more energy than we should be wasting on this stuff. Minimize the blazing lights not only for the energy savings, but there is a thing called light pollution, which is serious and we could light up the sky with some neighborhoods that compete for who can be most creative with their holiday light extravaganzas. Listen to this Green Dude segment featuring Dark Ranger, Kevin Poe who talks about light pollution.
fun recipe to make your own piney potpourri from Christmas tree clippings and fallen pine needles!
- Gratitude & giving always works ~ even if your family sucks and the world seems bleak for you this season, I bet there is someone who has it worse off than you. Get your gratitude on and get creative with safe ways to be generous with your time, love, kindness, energy, whatever you have to give. You don’t have to spend money to give amazing gifts, and nothing gets me out of a funk like helping someone who has less. Read my post from last year on how to Be the Light during the holidays.
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