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Snowflakes, reindeers and Santa Claus decorations have begun to take over showcases and store shelves. I couldn’t sing it better than Bill Nighy:
🎅 Christmas is all around 🎄
While biting on a chocolate leprechaun, you might shiver and think about what to get your family and friends, how to host a great party and make everyone happy.
Christmas is a celebration of solidarity and joy. But you might have noticed that nowadays, it's quite often a holiday that goes inevitably together with overconsumption and waste. I don’t believe we have to go present-free for the environment, but perhaps we could try to change habits and experience towards a more sustainable Christmas this year?
1.5 times around the earth. 60.000 kilometres. The same length of wrapping paper used in Norway every Christmas. Surprised? Me too. So let’s do something about it:
Not only is furoshiki technique mesmerizing, it's also green! You just have to use a pretty cloth (second-hand is even better!) and fold your gift in it. Keep the cloth away from your garbage: it can be used many times!
Remember when you got a gift for your birthday? You loved the paper so much, you kept it somewhere, just in case? Here is it's moment of glory! Reuse it to wrap the present you're giving and give it a second life.
If you feel like you have to use paper wrapping, you actually can make a change by buying some from associations. The money you give for this purchase will support the cause of the non-profit.
Since 29 Billion NOK is estimated as the Norwegian Christmas food budget(1)(2), we might want to use it wisely.
Orson Wells said "Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch". You can actually do both! By getting local/seasonal food, you are contributing to reducing the carbon footprint of your food and encouraging more sustainable agriculture. Earth will thank you for this.
You might remember some Christmas evenings thinking "I ate so much, I’m turning into a pig". Although, making food is sharing love, you can’t actually eat your family’s love. Serving just enough and not wasting food is the best you can do for both your stomach and the planet.
You made too much food and don’t want to eat turkey or salmon until the end of the year? What if you offered some to homeless people? This is such a nice way to share Christmas solidarity! You can also volunteer in non-profits and help serve meals at your closest shelter.
One of the main stresses around Christmas is buying presents. Wouldn’t you love to avoid shops, long waiting lines and stressed people in malls and still make your loved ones happy?
Products at one point or another will end up in the garbage, whether it's the container or the object itself. So, how about not buying a toy, but offering to go see a kids’ show instead? They’d probably prefer spending time with you rather than getting a bunch of gifts. As for grown-ups, forget about clothes or jewellery and think about a museum subscription, or train tickets for a weekend city break. Creating new memories might be the best gift ever!
If you do want to buy products, you can also get second hand items. Kids wouldn’t mind having second hand games, as for adults: just say it’s "vintage"!
5354 NOK. This is the average budget for Christmas gifts in Norway. Huge isn’t it? Why not give part to organizations who's causes matter to you? Instead of a list of suggested Christmas presents, you could ask people to hand you a list of non-profits they want to support and pick one (or more!) and donate.
That’s the Christmas spirit!
(1): 30% of Europeans’ Christmas budget is allocated to food.
(2): the estimated Norwegian Christmas budget is 97 billions in 2019.