It’s the most wonderful time of the year, said Bing Crosby!
Here in New Zealand we are so spoilt with summers made up of BBQ’s in the sunshine, long days wearing minimal clothing, and any form of activity that involves large bodies of water. That just seems to be the Kiwi way – to forgo the material life and opt for a simpler one.
Although, at this particular time of year, even the sensible ones among us can bend under the the pressure to spend money they don’t actually have. As Christmas consumerism makes it’s annual appearance it’s easy to fall into the trap that says a bigger gift equates to bigger amounts of love.
As we consider our values here at Societe, we hope the direction of our content can serve as a gentle reminder that as consumers we have the choice to make educated and well informed decisions when it comes to consumption habits and where our money is spent. In turn, showing a little bit of love not only to our bank account but to our communities and this planet, which all generously offer us so much.
We see value in approaching the festive season with the familiar attitude of reducing, reusing and recycling, so we have come up with a few ideas for a considerate Christmas below:
Consider alternative gift giving:
Good gifts don’t always have to take up physical space.
They also don’t have to be shiny and new to be treasured.
We are loving the idea of seeking out antiques this year – giving old objects new life, while meditating on the stories these items carry. Who made it way back when, what was it’s original purpose, and how can we honour that in the way we choose to use it.
We also want to encourage the support of a few of our favourite charities, to see them forward into a powerful 2019. Here are the wish lists and giving programs from the selected charities we really care for:
A21: a nonprofit organisation fighting to abolish human trafficking and the illegal slave trade. You can donate to any of their programs through their website HERE.
Aviva: services working to keep families safe from sexual assault and domestic violence.
The coordinators of Aviva have communicated this year that they always appreciate donations for basic things such as laptops and camera gear to keep their content updated and also provide working tools for their staff. One thing they are also in need of is an Adobe design suite for photo and video editing.
*This might be a nice way to introduce the idea of re-gifting and not always buying ‘more’ or new. Passing your tech on to charity organisations (if it is good condition) is a nice solution if you receive updated versions this year.
Another idea on their wish list was the donation of gift cards (around $25 to $40 is enough) to supermarkets or restaurants that they can then award to their volunteers. Aviva / The Loft have a large pool of regular supporters doing volunteer work for them, and would like to reward them for their contribution. (Last year volunteers including the broad and gifted staff time gave up 8,835 of unpaid hours.)
You can make contact through their website HERE.
World Vision Smile Gifts: the ultimate re-gifting strategy!
World Vision smiles gift programme allows you to pay it forward, donating money that would have gone towards a gift for either yourself or someone else and making it much more significant by opening up a new level of joy for children and families in places of need. $120 can help clean up a whole community, and as little as $10 can still make a huge impact, funding the purchase of mosquito nets in areas where disease is very prevalent.
You can select your chosen gift or gifts through their website HERE.
[*DEADLINE for Christmas gift applications in 16th December.]
Or how about committing to a small weekly contribution to a charity of your choice to fund their employees and resources. This will in turn allow them to keep doing the work that they so generously do.
Consider the reality of waste:
Making sure things are all decked out for Christmas is a lot of fun. However, this also carries the potential for a lot of wastefulness.
Gift wrapping and table setting in flamboyant excess means there is often a lot of plastic packaging and crumpled bits of paper involved. Why not be savvy, and think of natural and alternative approaches to these rituals. Such as:
- You could try using old book pages or large scale photocopies of a favourite artwork / page from a picture book to create your own wrapping paper. That way you have more control over the amount that is made. Ensuring it’s just enough for the item you need to wrap, leaving less paper waste. This approach to wrapping is also much more personal and unique!
- Beeswax wrap for the fridge food storage, and natural beeswax candles for the table.
- Buying ingredients in bulk if you know you are going to be using a lot of one thing, therefore only one item of packaging needs to be discarded.
- Little stones, shells or pods collected from outside to decorate the table / use as place settings instead of bought goods.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and family times full of ease and grace as we all come together and indulge in the best gifts life has to offer over the coming weeks.