The holidays get me down. It’s not the fact that I’m perpetually single, or that I have to catch all of my estranged family members up on what I’m doing, but that in this season of joy and love there is so much that is done mindlessly.
Restaurants are packed. Same with department stores. Everyone needs to be entertained at all times or else they’ll realize how mediocre their family really is and want to stuff their faces with cookies (we’ll do the latter either way).
Anyways, I think we all deserve to actually enjoy our time off and do so in a way that isn’t going to contribute to the desecration of the planet. So I’ve compiled a list of some things you can do that might not be great for the earth and humans, but are definitely better than what you’re planning on doing right now.
We all have family traditions, but who says you can’t change them? The Audubon Society has been conducting some pretty awesome citizen science research for the past 117 years and they really want you to join in. It’s called the Christmas Bird Count. It’s outdoors, its free, its for science, and you don’t have to shave your legs. Huzzah!
Yep, I said it. They’re quaint. They’re another thing to do with the family you may or may not hate. They smell fantastic. They won’t make baby birds choke to death on their needles. Maybe even consider getting a potted tree that you can keep around for years as long as you take care of it properly. You can also get permits from the U.S. Forest Service to cut down trees on your own Christmas Vacation style. Just don’t forget the saw.
Let me paint a picture. You spend money on something that will immediately be thrown away. And then keep buying it, even though its literal marketed garbage. Sounds silly, right? Right. Use newspaper, old calendars, maps, posters, etc. Or don’t wrap it. I don’t care. A surprise is a surprise. It’s a waste of natural resources, energy, and money. And yet here we are.
The key is responsibility. This can be done in a myriad of ways.
Okay. I’m of the philosophy that these are ultimately obsolete because internet. But your grandma still wants to see a pic of your family forcing smiles in front of some weird thing while wearing clothes that kind of match. Fine. So only send physical copies to the Baby Boomers, and do so on recycled paper and with soy-based ink. Share your masterpiece with the rest of your friends and family via Facebook, e-cards, a website, YouTube video, whatever. IMO everyone who matters is probably up to date on your life because you over share on every social media outlet anyways, so who cares, but sometimes a quick summary can be nice. I wouldn’t know.
Bring your own bag. And yeah, stop shopping online if you can. Shipping is such a bummer to mama earth. I know its kind of necessary sometimes though. But even when you do go to real-live stores and talk to real-live people in you real-life pants, you can still cut down on waste. You should also say nah to all the fluff (i.e. ribbon, stickers, tissue paper) because I said so.
We all like cookies. Our butts, not so much. Take the money you usually spend on baking supplies and use it to purchase nonperishable items for your local food shelf instead. Items they are usually desperate for include feminine products, baby food, pet food, toiletries, and cash/grocery store gift cards (they use it to purchase fresh produce). Here’s to a healthier community all around.
I love the holidays. I really do. But I’m a big fat Grinch when it comes to mindless consumption and superfluous nonsense no one actually enjoys. I hope you follow me - maybe your heart will even grow a size or two.