Tips for stress-free Christmas
Greenpicks – Eco & Upcycling Market does not stand only for a sustainable consumption, but also for a sustainable lifestyle. In our view this includes the minimalistic use of objects and careful use of time. This refers to the composition of the pre-Christmas season and the scrupulous dealing of Christmas presents.
In the Advent season Christians prepare for the arrival of Christus. The Advent period was supposed to be a peaceful, cosy and joyful time, regardless of the religious ethos. Especially the winter and the dark season are well suited to shift down a gear, to hold communion with oneself and to pay attention to dear fellows. But the opposite is true: Christmas time is stress.
The hunt for Christmas presents is opened
In the current consumer society, however, the Advent season is preparing for Christmas in such a way that many people go on the hunt for Christmas presents. Furthermore people go on errands such as cheap (and sometimes toxic) Christmas decoration from China, Christmas roast from factory farming, Christmas carp, standardized Christmas cards, Christmas wreath from discounters, candles, Christmas trees from the DIY market and buying groceries on stock. Baking cookies, decorate christmassy the apartment, wrap gifts and send Christmas cards and New Year’s wishes, supplement the pre-Christmas stress. And no later than on 27th December are all glad when it’s all over. And one or the other gift is exchanged or some days later it is already defective.
Free yourself from the festive collective stress
But do we have to take part every year in Christmas consumption binge? Have to? Hardly likely. As responsible citizens, we can decide not to follow the Christmas consumption frenzy and collective stress like every day in our lives. Whoever deliberately consumes over the whole year, can also do at Christmas!
There are many things that cost nothing and yet are ecologically valuable and sustainable. We only need to bother ourselves about it and leave unnoticed the solutions offered to us by advertising. Those who manage to get rid of all the angel like praised needs at Santa Claus and Christmas, can actually enjoy Advent as the quietest time of the year and the Christmas holidays.
The following proposals are less to save money, but in your own interest to bring yourself stress-free Christmas. And to act in terms of sustainability and to think about what could make happy the recipient.
Homemade Christmas Gifts
For all those who have technical skills, homemade Christmas gifts are a good option. In this case the recipient for sure are not just happy about the fact that we have assessed their preferences correctly, but also appreciate our dedication.
Who collects materials mindfully during the year, has almost always a great choice for DIY products. And on top of it saves resources. Brochures, cardboard, cartons, cans, boxes, would-be packaging waste, harvesting windfalls, collecting candle residues and much more. From brochures envelopes and gift bags can be folded. Calendars are practically; embellished with vegan or vegetarian recipes, photos, self-written poems or aphorisms.
Photo collages to share memories, framed in a picture frame from the flea market are suitable as presents as well as self-written stories or self-painted pictures.
Only little stress are caused by “small batch” produced Christmas gifts that may be liked by some of your friends, such as jam, chocolate, liqueurs, pesto, soaps, creams and other natural care products and self-cast candles from wax residues.
The best thing about this self made products: the DIY products are eaten or consumed and do not get dusty in a corner.
For producing no professional knowledge is needed. Instructions are available easily in the library or on the internet.
Make a used present
Does it really have to be something new? Be a sustainable trendsetter and establish the Christmas tradition “Used Gifts”. This is not meant to be Scrap Secret Santa to get rid of unpleasant things. But rather, to use the infinite possibilities to get on good, used things that are just as well suited to be given away as new products. In second-hand stores, flea markets and the Internet, there are beautiful clothes, books, furniture and other design pieces available. Also sharing meets are a great way to exchange unneeded things against new (used) favourite pieces. This does not only protect the own wallet, but also natural resources. Making a person happy and at the same time do something for the environment, what could be more satisfying?
Who wants to be sure that a used present is estimated to be as valuable as a new, should address the issue in advance. Who knows, maybe the recipient is even pleased about the food for thought?
Domestic music instead of Last Christmas at the Christmas market
Christmas markets can be beautiful. But they can also be crowded, kitschy and shrill. In a continuous loop “Last Christmas”, “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” blare from the speakers. Significantly more relaxed is a domestic music evening with friends. A Christmasy jam session warms tempers more than any cheap mulled wine at any Christmas fair.
And an evening at home with friends is clearly more relaxing and more fun, than drinking hot wine punch from cups made in China in a crowd and yelling at each other while becoming slowly an icicle.
Time instead of Stuff
Give one of your main resources: time. This frees from abundance: stuff. Especially in the process of growing older, we find again and again how much our friends and family members rejoice when we are giving away common experiences. Offer your assistance for relocation or renovation, invite friends to a home-cooked meal, offer someone a hike, a private guided city tour, a picnic in the woods, tickets for thermal spa or a concert. None of this is to dust catches, but the lasting memory!
Discover options on the website time instead of stuff (only available in German), how you can make your loved ones a joy without buying stuff which is perhaps not desired or needed.
Say No and be Concrete
For several years we have been handling it for Christmas that we give nothing or spend time. For toddlers, we make sure that we give them things that they really need, are useful and make fun. When the children are older, we’re giving away trips together. Within the family we renounce material Christmas gifts and give away even here nothing or share experiences. Through the year we prick up our ears and get out quickly, what our parents, siblings and godchildren would like. From the weight of expectation, we have freed ourselves successfully. Also because we explain mantra-like and expressly to our friends that we do not want to have any gifts.
No rule without exception: In order to avoid to get superfluous stuff for Christmas (and birthday), we say specifically what we wish. That goes along with, that these are really needed things. And the givers rejoice: it is also less stressful for them.
Who does not fight back, ends up at the fireside
Do you set the alarm clock at 5 a.m. on Christmas day, so the Christmas turkey can be broiled at low temperature and can be served clocklike for lunch? Say goodbye to the ambition to prepare alone the perfect feast. But cook this year (and next) together with your family, your friends or your guests. Together it makes more fun and everyone will enjoy the corporately result afterwards.
Despite the joy of culinary diversity, do not stress yourself to prepare quantity. Quality, if possible food in organic quality, provides greater culinary delights. So everything is eaten with pleasure and nothing ends up in the trash after the holidays. Presumably your guests mouths are watering at this Christmas feast and remain in sustainable memory.
Even at Christmas we can scrutinize critically traditions. Instead of stewing goose or duck alone in the kitchen, also jointly planned vegetarian or vegan dishes are welcome culinary delights. Usually you do not have to order the ingredients for that weeks before. This also gives stress-free Christmas.
Donate: Time, Work, Help or Money
Doing good to others is a great feeling for the recipient and the giver. If we live in an affluent country, a monetary donation means the support of existence to a charity for people in extreme poverty. And we do not relinquish anything, because we usually live in abundance. Perhaps even talking in the family about it, whether the gift budget would like to be partly or entirely donated to a good cause. There are many possibilities, whether regional, national or international: even if it is one of the countless new initiatives that support refugees or a project in the vicinity, which helps disadvantaged children, animals, education or environmental protection.
Donations for Christmas in the form of your work performance is very welcome to charitable organisations. If desired by you, you do not only avoid the traditional Christmas celebration but set your time meaningfully (instead of consuming a boring television program). This can be, for example, as a volunteer at a Christmas celebration or food banks for the homeless or refugees, in retirement homes, animal home or other facilities. Simply inform yourself for options in the vicinity.
How about a blood donation? Imagine how much you would welcome suitable stem cells, if you or someone from your relatives or friends would suffer from blood cancer. A bone marrow donation in the DKMS costs nothing except a little time and can save lives.
It does not cost anything
For those who still have neither money nor technical skills, there is the possibility to choose a free book for your loved ones in the public book shelves. Here everyone can bring or take away books. Occasionally here also CDs and DVDs can be found.
Give only things that are really needed
So before we fall into the pre-Christmas consumption madness, it is worth to think for moment about why we give something to whom. If some kind of social pressure is behind our decision, this is usually no good reason. Or does the recipient actually need the intended gift?
Should it be a purchased gift in spite of our suggestions and tipps for alternative Christmas gifts, the purchase of sustainable and fair gifts is desirable in our view. Especially when that happens against the background that the recipient really needs things for everyday use, household, work and leisure time. Green lifestyle should neither be a cliché at Christmas nor on any other day of the year, but a lived sustainable lifestyle with a view to climate-friendly success.
Then it is now called “Merry Christmas” and not “Last Christmas”.