And So This Is Christmas
Christmas is coming, but not as we know it
At the time of writing, we have no way of knowing just how, where, and with whom we might be celebrating on Christmas Day, but we do know that the advertising frenzy has begun.
We can be fairly sure that this will be a Christmas like no other, so perhaps this is the time to re-evaluate. Since we are already having to adjust, why not think about more than just how big a turkey we are going to need now, but also how we can make the festival less wasteful.
It doesn't seem right to spend the year doing what we can to reduce carbon emissions then let all our green credentials fly out the window come the end of December.
We have had a look at the statistics around waste at Christmas and they are frightening.
around 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging is thrown away
over 21 million people receive at least one unwanted gift each Christmas
the wrapping paper bought in the UK is long enough to stretch to the moon
1 billion cards are thrown away, that's 17 for every man, woman and child in the UK
6 million Christmas trees are thrown away
Have you read enough now? Unfortunately there's more
a University of Manchester study found that our excessive eating habits during Christmas cause the same carbon footprint as a single car travelling 6000 times around the globe
All in all, you could say that Christmas is an annual environmental disaster.
Clearly we can't just pretend it's not happening.
Personally speaking we are not fans of buying lots and lots of presents. There comes an age - and we are not going to say what that age is, just that we have passed it - when you don't really need more and more.
Following a discussion with the family, we have decided we will continue to buy a present for the under 18s but the rest of us will be doing a Secret Santa. Needless to say, even that can't be done in the usual way. We can't get together to pick the names out of a hat so we will do it - you've guessed it! - via Zoom.
But can you see what we have done? We have had a discussion. And come to an agreement.
Nobody wants their Christmas to be ruined because some of our nearest and dearest feel hurt because they didn't get a present, some feel resentful that they spent a lot of money but did not get much in return and some feel like crying at what they see as a complete waste of time, resources and money. No, get talking now and be prepared to compromise.
If you decide you do want to buy a present for everyone, please do so, but do it thoughtfully, mindful of the potential for an enormous amount of stuff leaving our house and going directly in the bin.
If you know just what the special people in your life want, then go ahead and buy it. We envy you, because we know how easy it is to fall into the trap of buying something - anything - just so we have something to wrap up and hand over.
We can say, with hand on heart, that we receive a huge amount of discarded presents in our Give Boxes and it actually makes us quite sad. At least, they are then passed on to a new home, rather than ending up in the bin, but still, it makes you think ........
If you suspect deep down that the present you are about to buy is not really what the recipient wants, why not think of something else
a gift voucher
the promise of an experience
an annual membership
a charitable gift such as Give a Goat or Send a cow
The other thing you might consider is making, rather than buying, gifts. Surely spending time making something shows how much you care.
As it happens we may be able to help you here.
As part of Dundee West End Christmas fortnight, we will be running two online workshops
- a zero waste Christmas on 30th November
- making Christmas gifts on 9th December
Times and exact details are yet to be finalised, but we promise we will try to make them fun as well as informative. Hope to see some of you there.