For some, today means prepping the veg, singing some carols and watching the entire Home Alone boxset. For others, it means a horrendously frantic scramble around any shops which are vaguely close to your house, in an attempt to buy some gifts which could plausibly pass as things which you put some thought into.
Let’s be honest. Christmas is a consumerism nightmare. For many environmentalists, the 21st century version of Christmas day represents pretty much everything which is wrong with the world: overconsumption, overindulgence and excessive amounts of waste.
Yep. Sorry to bring everyone down there. I truly believe though, that Christmas doesn’t have to be like this, and that we can in fact turn it into a holiday which is much more sustainable and in keeping with planetary boundaries. The festive season isn’t really about giving and receiving presents after all, but about spending time with the people you love, and celebrating the gift of life. In essence, its about comfort and joy.
This is the kind of thinking that we need to encompass if we are to be realistic about tackling climate change* and overcoming inequality. We cannot continue spending hundreds of pounds on mindless junk which will end up in landfill by the end of January, just because our society tells us to. Its a waste of energy and resources, its causing pollution and its probably exploiting vulnerable people somewhere along the way too.
Therefore, to anyone who is yet to finish their christmas shopping, I beg of you: shun the high street and close down Amazon (its too late now anyway). Instead, spend time chatting to your grandparents, share glasses of mulled wine with your friends and dance around the Christmas tree with your mum. These are the things that matter, not filling stockings with battery powered dancing penguins.
This year, let’s make Christmas about joy, not presents. Every single one of us has the power (of love – sorry couldn’t resist) to shun convention and use Christmas as an opportunity: an opportunity to make this world a better, and more joyful, place to be.
Post your comments below if you’ve got any tips for how to make Christmas time a little bit more sustainable.