Sunday, 13 November 2011

Why I won't be doing Christmas this Christmas

I'm sick of materialism at Christmas. I want to counteract this greedy atmosphere!

My family have never gone over the top with celebrating Christmas, although "over the top" for me would be a feeble celebration to most people. Today I heard my first Christmas song at work. These Christmas songs will now be playing every day for the next two months. Two months - that's a sixth of the year which is dedicated to this one day of commercialism, materialism, selfishness and waste. Something about this seems so wrong to me, that while we are over indulging by wasting food, things and money - there are a lot of people out there with really big problems that a few quid could save them from.

Most of the country are not Church-going Christians any more, the most Christian of Christians, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, do not even celebrate Christmas with material goods. The only pre-requisite of celebrating Christmas is a strong greed for lots of food and lots of things and the expectation that if you don’t join in with this then you’re a kill joy, or tight with money.

While I may seem like a miserable 'Scrooge' here, I do understand why people love it so much. For kids it's a happy and magical time, for some it may be the only time of year families sit around the table to talk and eat together. But why the expectation of expensive gifts? most of which will be left in a corner then make it's way to the bin a few months later.

Solution 1:
I recently found out about a website,Good Gifts, which I think is a great alternative to having to reluctantly buy someone something they don't really want. Buy a friend a charitable good gift in their name; it could be a goat, food, books, saving puffins... there are loads of ideas on the site and you can type a Christmas message to the recipient that goes along with their ‘gift’.

If they don’t like it then tough, you’ve shown this person you’ve thought about them and aren’t just tight with your money. If nothing else, you can feel good with yourself that you’ve not wasted packaging and money on unethical companies that are only after profit. It's MUCH more fun and rewarding than shitty toiletry gift sets that nobody wants! Plus, it's all done with a click of a button and no wasting of wrapping paper :)

Solution 2:
If you want something to show for your efforts other than a piece of paper, you could buy something from Lush such as Charity Pot Body Lotion which is fair trade, anti-animal testing and of which the profits go to charity!

Solution 3:
Buy Christmas cards from charity shops. Most of them sell brand new cards that aren’t much more expensive than your typical ones. They always print the charity on the card so the person you’re sending it to knows the profits are going to a good cause and you do too!

Solution 4:
Donate or volunteer to hand out food to homeless people at Christmas. A lot of churches take part in similar things too, so think about contacting your local one to see how you can make someone very happy. Visit Caring At Christmas.

Solution 5:
Do nothing, it's just another day!