Christmas is a big business. Advertisers want to draw you in and promote it as a gift-giving bonanza. Let’s create new traditions instead based on reducing our waste and carbon footprint while spending quality time with family and friends.
Replace the ritual
white elephant gift giving
Donate to a nonprofit fighting climate change
Billions of dollars are wasted during the holidays on gifts people don’t want. Imagine if that money was given to nonprofits working to save the planet instead? Make a donation on behalf of a loved one with organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, Project Drawdown, 350.org, Sunrise Movement – just to name a few. Do your own research and make a donation to an organization that is making a difference in the fight against climate change.
write a group play, song, or story
Each year pick a different theme and each person contributes their choice for the movie playlist. Or it could be a TV show like The Simpsons, Friends, or 30 Rock. You can turn it into a game where you get points (or you have to drink, for the adults) when your favorite characters utter a certain word or phrase. D’oh!
give your time as a gift
Many exhausted parents would much rather get an offer for a free night of babysitting than just about anything you could buy them. Do your grandparents really need a new book or movie, or would help planting their spring garden be more appreciated? Offer to give your time and talent rather than giving them something they could easily buy for themselves.
Decorate a potted plant or ladder
While there are debates about the pros and cons of real vs fake trees, both have large carbon footprints. If you already have ornaments and lights, decorate something you already have, or buy a plant that will live on after the holidays.
You do you! Come up with traditions that work for your family.
Our family likes the British TV show 'Taskmaster', where comedians do silly tasks and basically play parlor games for points. Last year for Thanksgiving we played our own home version of some of those games and tasks, such as "Come up with the best idea. You have 3 minutes. Your time starts now".