The year of our memorable South Africa-hosted 2010 Soccer World Cup is spinning to a close. We’re already halfway through December! Every morning you’re bombarded with Christmas jingles on the radio and reminders that it’s time to shop shop ’til you drop.
You can’t get away from it, every supermarket has a Christmas special advertisement on television and in the newspaper there’s a whole supplement about ‘must-haves’ you should get your friends and family. I can’t imagine what the inside of the shopping malls look like right now.
The beautiful idea of showing your loved ones appreciation has turned into a gluttonous fiasco. We can celebrate a Christmas with our own eco-friendly, African style? Can we move away from the idea of amassing more stuff?
There are more valuable things you can offer loved ones, like experiences, courses and your time.
What about music lessons? Raw or vegetarian cooking lessons? A course in creative writing? Why not offer your family member your time and creativity? Make your sister a bangle by plaiting plastics, or surprise your brother with tickets to view a match. How about taking your wife on a romantic game drive at a certified green establishment? Dancing lessons for your kids. Experiences can be more memorable than some toy or ornament they will discard of soon anyway.
Cool gift ideas
Here are some eco and proudly South African ideas:
The Remedy Shoppe is offering our readers a homeopathic Holiday Kit worth R800.
QUESTION: Name one remedy that should be in every first aid kit.
Almond nut milk bags are used to make alternative dairy-free milks from nuts. They are made of nylon and are produced locally in Durban, South Africa. They have a thin rope draw string at the top of the bag. The Amy-zing nut milk bag makes fresh nut milk, fresh fruit or veggie juice and helps you sprout your own sprouts. They make great gift ideas for encouraging a loved one to start including healthier options to their daily diet.
Donation gets you a CD
The Earthchild Project has put together a gift with a special difference. By making a donation to this charity, you can get a personalisedgift certificate with an original artwork made by one of their earth-children, plus aPutumayo CD which is pre-packed and delivered.
The Earthchild Project brings together environmental education, healthy living and life skills for children, teachers and schools in disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape.
For a group of previously disadvantaged people in Cape Town, one cup of tea can provide them with love, excitement and peace. Original T Bag Designs collects, dries, empties and irons tea bags to create a unique piece of art. They become a canvas that boasts intricate designs inspired by local South African life.
Creative tea bag gifts
These beautiful hand-made products range from greeting cards to notebooks, decoupaged boxes, t-light holders, mirrors, coasters, placemats and wrapping paper. T-Bag Designs has a workshop in Kronendal Office park in Hout Bay’s Main Road.
Orgonite restores balance to the environment and converts negative energy to positive energy, creating the ideal conditions for life to thrive. Orgonite is an ideal Christmas gift of harmony, appropriate during this season of peace and goodwill.
Items on offer include pyramids, plaques, paperweights, pendants, pocket orgonite, pet tags, chargers, keyrings and field orgonite pucks.
Now for some cool music
It captures the mystery of ancient islands by following the way the organic cycle of life parallels the patterns of nature: the waves of the ocean mimic breathing; the sun’s brazen eye swelters, then slowly ceases; and the earth cries out for the life giving element of rainwater.
- See our full review.
Books to inspire and heal
We have picked two books that will make great gifts. The first, The Green Bible, focuses on ‘a priceless message that doesn’t cost the earth. ‘
According to Carl Pope, executive director of Sierra club, ‘The Green Bible is a unique treasure for people who want to more fully live out the scriptural values of stewardship, love for their neighbours, and care for the underprivileged. It provides inspiration and valuable resources for contemplation, community building, and action on behalf of the planet.’
2nd Fire: A Fresh Approach To Healing, by Bruce Relly, challenges us to take full responsibility for all our experiences, thereby finding the ultimate relief of suffering.
Relly says ‘suffering is not sent to test our submissiveness, but it’s nature’s inducement for us to engage more consciously and joyously with life.’
Ever done a media swop? Pick a few of your favourite media items: CD’s, DVD’s, videos, PlayStation games, comics or books and swop them with a family member on Christmas day. After a few months they can mail it back to you or you can swop back next Christmas. Explain to them why it is your favourite, and you might find you have more in common with family members than you think.
Handmade is greenest
Remember, homemade is number one. Making a gift is always best, because you put genuine thought, time and love into it. Especially creating something beautiful or useful from waste items is super eco, and make sure it doesn’t look like junk.
During the festive season we often forget that we’re supposed to be on holiday. Forget about the famous Thanksgivings and Christmases you see on television and go back to the core of Christmas: to spend time with your family or show your gratitude. Why not celebrate your health and energy by volunteering at a soup kitchen, night shelter or the SPCA?
If you plan on having a big Christmas dinner with your friends and family, do tone down those massive portions and consider organic food. The Rawlicious Recipe Book offers amazing healthy recipes, and there’s a great list of recipes at Green Footsteps.
Ban the waste
It is good to try and buy in bulk, to save on packaging. Teach your family to recycle those wine and beer bottles they bring to the dinner. And believe it or not, eating your leftovers is also a form of recycling.
Boikot all the extra wastage that Christmas is notorious for and wrap your gifts in cloths – I like using tea cloths or a lovely piece of material. And remember, one gift per person is ample. This way it’s easier to focus on the friendship and togetherness, rather than the materialist drive.
Christmas is also a good time to discuss how you’re going to green up your home, so benefit Earth with this festival, rather than punishing her.
Creativity can add that extra magic, if you let it flow. Why not let go of stuff this year? Let’s consider the Earth and make it a healing festival. Merry Christmas from our Green Team!
By Willemien Calitz