One of my earliest memories was of unwrapping a little record player. I must have been about two years old and I was totally confused by it. I soon worked it out and for the last half a decade I’ve been continuing to enjoy the ritual of putting a record on to play.
So Christmas is not all bad, it turned bad. This is what is wrong with it as far as I’m concerned.
It starts too early
I love Autumn and I’d like the chance to enjoy it without Christmas lights and markets filling up town centers on Halloween. Making Christmas happen sooner means we miss out on relishing the crunch of Autumn leaves, that fuzzy yellow light the low sun gives off and the first sharp breaths drawn on a crispy cold morning. Autumn is gorgeous. Let it have more than 15 minutes of fame.
It’s all about shopping
I don’t need more stuff. None of the people I love and care for need more stuff. Yet as the last firework sizzles out and the baked potatoes are rescued from the bonfire, people start to talk about presents. More specifically, people start to talk about how difficult it is to buy presents for people who have everything. This is madness. The majority of people I know have to watch their pennies yet still feel they have to spend money buying unwanted things just because it is Christmas.
The pressure is immense
Cards, presents, decorations, a tree, lights, special food, more special food, parties, drinks after work…..There is an extraordinary amount of extra pressure laid on us at Christmas time. The guilt when a relative sends you a card with money in it and you haven’t got around to thanking them for last years tenner, let alone send them a card for this year. The queues to get a tree that is just right. The mental gymnastics and strategic planning required to work out when a family has time to get together. You might be good at all this juggling. I’m not and it makes me very stressed.
It’s so wasteful
From the trees thrown out in the street for (hopeful) collection in January to the wrapping paper that cannot be recycled because it has been printed with little metal stars. From toys that come in more plastic than ever seems necessary to the leftover food that gets thrown out because no one really wants to eat turkey for 8 days in a row. We buy too much and waste too much. Again, madness.
What I’m doing about it
If you love Christmas and you have got this far I apologise. I may have peed on your Christmas cracker a bit. Don’t worry though, I’m not 100% Grinch yet and I do have some plans to turn all this around.
People before presents
I’m not religious so the meaning and historical significance of Christmas isn’t important to me. What is important is the chance to spend time with people I love. All the presents in the world could not replace time with my family and friends. So my priority for Christmas will be making time for people. My present list will be for time and I’m making sure I phone, text or actually manage to meet up with people instead of just sending them a card.
Avoid giving clutter
This year, I’ll be giving people things to eat, drink or use up in other ways. This won’t be any more expensive than buying things, it might actually work out cheaper if I make stuff.
Make the wrapping count
I’m not the kind of person who will remember to smooth out and fold up the wrapping paper for next year. So I’m going to avoid all that by using useful things to wrap in. Scarves, socks, hankies and tea towels all make perfectly good wrapping paper alternatives that leave no waste!
This video is from the summer when I was doing Plastic Free July but the technique of Furoshiki works all year round.
Decorating with nature
I can get a real tree top for £25 or I can get a smaller live tree with roots in a pot for £10. This year I’m going for the smaller version in the hope I can keep the tree going ’til next year. I’m collecting holly and evergreen branches to decorate with too. The house is going to smell amazing with all the pine and everything will be compostable. This also means I don’t have to go into the attic to retrieve the box of decorations so it is a double win in my book!
Instead of the continual striving towards the next shiny thing, I’m going to make time at Christmas to be grateful for what I have. Gratitude has enormous mental health benefits so I’m expecting that I’ll be starting the new year in a superbly positive mood instead of feeling drained by celebrations.
Need more ideas?
We have collated some brilliant ideas, recipes, plans and printables in this book that will help you reduce your waste, spend less money and have a happier, relaxed holiday.
“It’s worth buying the book as it’s packed full of good ideas, hints and tips.” Dina
I’m liking Christmas more already!
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I'm Lisa Cole. I'm a designer and writer who lives in Bristol. Less-stuff is about my journey to live a more organised life. I document little things I can change to live more sustainably. I'm not a minimalist!