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| 08.12.2016

10 simple ways to have a more ethical Christmas

 

I won't make a secret of it – Christmas is not my favourite time of year. Without being too much of a wet blanket, I wish Christmas was more about what's really important and less about rampant consumerism and overindulgence. 

I’ve spent the last month or so questioning, pondering and reflecting. Why are we not practicing gratitude, compassion and loving kindness every day of the year? Why do we have to specify days in calendar to be humane and good to one and another? 

Why do we rush out and buy cheap, nasty, throwaway gifts or worse – pets that will be neglected when people go back to work and eventually, sadly, be discarded?

I'm not a total party pooper though. I know Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many of you so I wanted to share some ways we can make it a more meaningful and ethical experience. 

10 ways to have a more ethical Christmas

  1. Buy some healthy, delicious food and create a hamper full of goodies that you would love to receive. IDEAS: a block of organic chocolate, a bottle of biodynamic wine, goji berries, beetroot chips, premium olives, homemade pesto, activated nuts, cacao nibs and green tea. Avoid any cakes, biscuits or treats that contain palm oil.
  2. Buy something that is reusable or refillable or can be repurposed. IDEAS: Jute beach bags, biophotonic glass water bottles, string shopping bags, stainless steel travel coffee mug, a stack of bamboo socks tied together with twine. Avoid buying gifts contained in wasteful amounts of packaging.
  3. Buy only gifts that have meaning, purpose and value. IDEAS: Make your own gifts like cookies, candles and cakes; print a photo you know someone would love and frame it beautifully for them; write a poem to your loved one. Avoid plastic items that may contain phthalates and may not be long lasting.
  4. Look to Mother Nature for inspo. IDEAS: Potted plants always make wonderful gifts and you can be sure they won't be re-gifted as soon as the last piece of pavlova has been eaten. Look for a gorgeous ethnic ceramic pot in fair trade stores. 
  5. Go op shopping. IDEAS: A friend of mine has a great ritual she does with her young son each year. They each get $20 and go op shopping for stocking fillers for each other. They have a fun day out and have to put some thought into finding unique items for each other.
  6. Avoid plastic wrapping and plastic anything. IDEAS: Choose sustainable materials such hemp, silk, sustainable wood and organic cotton that are made from renewable materials. Use fabric to wrap gifts or recycled paper. Avoid sticky tape. Reuse ribbons or use jute.
  7. Buy and shop locally owned and made. IDEAS: Treat someone to a massage or facial at your local beauty salon or holistic health centre, visit your local arts and crafts galleries, venture into a small, locally owned hardware store or nursery instead of getting lost in one of those impersonal massive hardware chain stores.
  8. Buy gift certificates. IDEAS: It seems impersonal but most people would rather a gift certificate or voucher they can use in their own time than a gift they don't want and have to pretend to like. Cinema cards, iTunes cards, restaurant cards – they are possibly one of the most practical and fuss-free gifts you can give. A great idea for kids is to print out the logos of fun parks and other places you would probably take your kids to in the holidays anyway, staple them into a gift voucher book and give it to your child as one of their Christmas presents. They get to cash in their voucher through the school holidays. Win-win!
  9. Give money to a local charity or sponsor a child. IDEAS: Some of my favourite charities include Wishlist, Steps, Mercy Ships Australia, Destiny Rescue and Bravehearts. There's another wonderful charity with a similar name called BraveHearts Program Cambodia that raises money to care for orphaned children with disabilities or HIV. This is one charity you can trust. These kids have nothing and need all the help they can get.
  10. One gift rule. IDEAS: One family member is allocated another family member to buy a gift for. AKA 'Secret Santa'. I'm a big fan of the Secret Santa as long as people make some effort to find out what the person they are buying for might actually like. Also, set a dollar limit and stick to it.

How do you feel about Christmas? Are you someone who can't wait to pull the decorations out each year and go shopping, or do you find the whole thing a bit overdone? Share your thoughts with us below and you'll go into our bi-monthly draw to win $150 worth of Mukti Organics products – just in time for Christmas! 

@bymukti

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