Everyone loves mulled wine! Said no one, ever. To paraphrase the comic great Michael McIntyre,
Christmas is a time where people (reluctantly) drink hot wine, “fart grenades”
and pour liquid bread onto their dry chicken substitute.
Across the globe, the festive season is marked by carols blasting from shops, high streets
festooned in sparkling lights, and bowls of free candy popping up by cash registers.
Calendars fill up with Christmas parties and work dinners. Secret Santa ballot boxes are
passed merrily around the office. Wide-eyed children send ambitious lists off
to a bearded man and his tiny workforce.
Christmas: tis the season to be merry? Tidings of Joy and all that? Not really.
The silent and tragic consequence of Christmas is the tidal wave of trash, waste and
excess. We eat too much. We drink grotesque amounts. We spend money we cannot
afford on gifts no one needs. Our love handles, livers and bank accounts can
all take a hit. Enter the gym membership in the new year, “Dry January” and
The planet cannot do the same.
There is no undo button for the 250 tons of Christmas Trees massacred each year. Thrown
away into a giant incinerator and not even used for compost. There are no
hungry mouths receiving the 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies chucked
into the bin each Christmas.
Americans throw away around 30 per cent more between Thanksgiving and New Year than the
rest of the year. This amounts to nearly 25 million tons of garbage. The amount
of wrapping paper used once and merrily discarded by the world could ironically
line the Amazon rainforest.
Some companies offset their carbon footprint. Some encourage their employees to donate to a charity instead of swapping stocking fillers. Others participate in food bank exchanges to offset some of the seasonal guilt.
What can you do this Christmas?
As the planet hurtles at terrifying speed towards the precipice of irreversible climate change, tis the
season to change Christmas. Here are some simple ways you can make a big change
this festive season:
- (Re)Wear that Christmas Jumper: Remember that awesome Christmas jumper you
got last year? Wear it – again! This gives you two fat green ticks by your name. Firstly, why fix something that ain´t broken? Nothing should be worn one day only – certainly not a thick jumper! By not ordering a new jumper you will save not only money, but also the labour, carbon and trees used for the manufacturing and shipping of a new product.
Also, wearing jumpers instead of blasting the heating will help both the planet and your bank
- Don’t Buy Socks: A staggering 56% of people in the United States have confessed they
receive at least one gift they don’t want. That makes a whopping 142 million
gifts that could potentially end up on a landfill.
Over half of these are men. So, this Christmas, certainly do avoid those novelty socks or ties. Let there be one less unwanted present under the tree this year.
- Your Boss doesn’t need a Gift: Unless your job is seriously on the line, or
you are related to your boss, they don’t need a gift! Keep your shopping to
immediate family only. There are too many mugs in that office kitchen as it is.
- Millennials and “Generation Y” hate your
present: Seriously, the statistics are all demonstrating that Generation Y is the hardest to please. This means all those nieces and nephews or any of your friends from late teens to
mid-thirties are the most likely to chuck your painstakingly wrapped gift in
the trash as soon as you look away. Well, they may not be that harsh, but
generations X and Y are statistically most likely (58% and 68% respectively) to
receive unwanted gifts.
- You just don’t need to eat that much: Sure, it’s the season where traditionally we
all stuff ourselves in solidarity with the turkey in the middle of the table.
Remember however – it’s not a competition! We tend (myself included) to
approach the Christmas meal as a test of human endurance. How much can our
digestive systems handle? Instead of tackling your loaded plate with the
mentality of an SAS officer, just take your time and enjoy your turkey.
- Rein(deer) in your spending! Tis the season to be merry not bankrupt yourself. We as we all love giving a well-thought out gift! If you buy presents for your folks, partner, friends, boss, colleague and neighbour – well you will be eating tins of baked beans for the best part of next year.
- Share experiences – not stuff. On that note, why don’t you forgo the mad mob
at the shopping mall this year altogether? We all have so much STUFF. Everyone
is yearning for a minimalist Scandinavian style home. We are already stricken
with guilt about our own splurges on Amazon and weakness for Instagram ads.
Write out some vouchers – “This Coupon is Valid for 1 Free Cinema Session”,
“This Voucher Hereby Entitles the Bearer to One Free Massage”, “I Promise to
Keep you Company on This Boring Day”, etc. Corny, fun, your choice!
- Stop decapitating the forest: Why do we all need a real tree molting
miserably in the corner of the living room? Think outside the Xmas box! Paint a
tree on your own white wall. Get an eco-friendly fake tree and dress it up to
the nines. Why not theme your tree this Christmas – Darth Vader makes a great
Christmas Tree. What does your Christmas Tree say about you anyway?
Aside from all these Grinch-like grumblings, tis the season to be merry, so happy Christmas one and all!