Every year I write a Green Christmas story. About green shopping, green tree decorations and greener holidays.
Poor planet. Up goes resource extraction, up goes the mounds of waste, up goes water consumption, up goes everyone’s footprint – people driving and flying all over the place. Over-spending, over-eating, over-drinking. It’s this über mentality that got us into trouble in the first place. And now it’s suddenly ok because it’s Christmas?
Last year I learned too much. Suddenly the cup was full and the scales tipped. This yearly current could no longer dislodge my mind and sweep me along. Not in its present format anyway. No longer could I justify stepping on the carbon pedal amidst the carbon emergency we were already in. Nothing like understanding the threats to all life on earth to pop the red (thanks to Coca Cola 1931) bubble once and for all.
What starts inside…
My first no-gift-Christmas was declared. It started inside. Staring down mother culture was not easy at first. I worried about my kids, family and friends’ perceptions. Will people think me simply mean? A spoil sport? Stingy?
The conviction held. Then the liberation landed in full regalia.
No mall mania to absorb – observing and knowing something must be done. But still feeling trapped, conflicted inside. No lines to stand in, sugar junk to face, traffic to negotiate – the world flocks to the Cape – budgets to kill, earth to sacrifice, guilt to swallow, world to please. Freedom.
The gift of time
And think of the time I saved. Now I could enjoy my environment – garden, grow food, chill in natural water, soak up sunshine D. BE the present to those I love – with presence. Have time for them. The real gift we all need. Write from the heart and allow the space to grow.
Every time I refuse to shop, earth wins. And my children, and yours. Such a simple step triggers a new world inside and out.
This year I am having even more fun. Instead of shopping I am turfing. Clearing out and giving away stuff. Gifting the world, but the gift returns right back to me. Energy is cleared, ugly clutter swept away with cobwebs and sand. Emerges clarity, light, beauty, simplicity, minimalism. Yay! How many mugs do I need after all? How many placemats, for goodness’ sake? Happy helpers smile from ear to ear. It’s Christmas after all – without any shopping!
One thing leads to the next. Now for a lick of water paint here and there. Create a log path around the pond for the family picnic. Simple food, no stress.
Gifts fly in
Gifts also fly into this house in the form of birds. Mostly olive thrush, but also birds of prey. (You might remember I wrote about that before.) Strange, as I don’t have big windows. Might be because the house looks like a forest? Over the years I have developed a steady hand at catching them fast. We have a little heart-to-heart on the way out. Once I open my hand they always tweet a loud thank you en route to freedom.
Did I say no gifts? Not possible. Everything is – a gift. Every breath. Every Christmas, every year this planet bears us.
No expectations, not entitled, pure joy.
Blessings on yours too.
By Elma Pollard