I know, it’s just October, but we have major Christmas issues around here. Each year I think to myself, “Hey, this is the year I’ll figure out the perfect Christmas holiday traditions for my family.” A Christmas that’s not only eco-friendly, but also fun and most importantly, something that everyone can swallow.
EVERY YEAR I say this.
I’m pretty eco-friendly, not perfect, but pretty good. Except when it comes to Christmas. Celebrating an eco-friendly Christmas is probably my least developed green living skill. It’s not like we go nuts and buy plastic crap or switch from organic food to conventional, but we just don’t have Christmas under control. Basically, no one knows what to expect.
- No matter how hard I try, someone (usually most) family members still buy Cedar WAY too many gifts and most of those gifts aren’t my idea of non-toxic or green. I can literally beg people to cut back or even say flat out, “NO gifts” and no one listens. People love to give gifts.
- If we celebrate at another family member’s house (not mine) I have to deal with paper plates and other disposable holiday meal items, paper towels and lots of non-organic foods – all of which everyone but me is seemingly down with.
- We can’t decide on the tree issue. We haven’t had a Christmas tree in years. I actually like Christmas trees. I like the smell, the pretty lights and the tradition of having one, but I can’t justify cutting one down. We’ve had a living tree before, and that was okay, but overall, I’m not too on board with a tree. The kids in the house (my son and roommate’s kids) however do want a tree. They wanted one last year, I said no, but I’m not sure it was the best solution.
- Now, just to complicate the issue further, my roommate Dave, who is pretty religious, doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas at all, because he considers it some sort of affront to God, yet he’s semi-hypocritical about this because his kids do celebrate thus so does he. In my mind, if you’re not for something, and it doesn’t agree you, you shouldn’t celebrate. Cedar and I have never celebrated any holiday in conjunction with religion.
Yup it’s a big fat mess.
Basically we don’t have a winter holiday plan. As a kid, my family celebrated a fairly typical American Christmas – trees, cookies, gifts and so fourth. As a kid, I liked it and thought it was mostly fun, but I never loved how hectic it was. By the time I was in my early 20s I was sick of the whole planning perfect gifts mess and sort of quit. Also by my early 20s I was jumping more into green living and the typical Christmas didn’t fit my ideals at all.
It’s very hard to find balance. You could be super eco and avoid the winter holiday season altogether but that’s extreme and doesn’t really build any sort of tradition for kids. You could say screw green ethics and have a big ol’ celebration with lots of bling – the other extreme. OR you can find balance. The problem is trying to find balance everyone agrees on. It’s not just your household; it’s extended family, friends, co-workers and more.
What’s the solution?
I have no clue. Ideally, here’s what I want…
- Much fewer gifts. I hate that family and friends don’t listen to me about this. The kids sort of get it. Last year in fact we had some big talks about it. But every year they’re given so much crap that it defeats any discussions we’ve had with them about living with less.
- I’d like the gifts the kids get at least to be eco-friendly (as in non-toxic, non-plastic). Ideally this would be across the board, but if I could just get people to buy safe stuff for the kids, I’d settle.
- Some fun and nice events that are tradition – meaning year-to-year these events works for us.
- I like having a family meal on Christmas, but I don’t like when we leave the house (to say, go to a family member’s house) because then we have to deal with non-organics and disposable tableware.
- Something Dave can live with. Really, we could just celebrate without him, but how lame is that? Since Dave isn’t on board with Christmas due to the fact that he thinks it’s a God mock, we sort of have to find something that works for him too.
I’ve gleamed ideas from I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas and Celebrate Green!, but so it seems like we need much more help because overall we don’t have a really good plan. I’ll be back with some resources I’ve been gathering that hopefully will help my family out – and maybe yours.
For now though, tell me, what’s your game plan? Does your family have eco-friendly winter holiday traditions or is this the time of year you start floundering with green living?