Updated: Apr 8, 2020
It’s a process
It’s a process
It’s a process
Change takes time!
This Christmas was going to be the year when big changes were made and our family Christmas was going to be more sustainable, more thoughtful and more zero waste! But then life happened. I came down with the flu and my mother, who suffers from late-stage dementia, had a fall and has been in the hospital for over a month.
So sometimes we have to just take stock and do our best, and I quickly realised that Christmas this year wasn’t going to be the way I planned. In fact, our motto quickly became “ it is what it is”, as we tried to do our best and make everything happen. It may not have been the life-changing Christmas I had imagined, but we were able to implement small changes which we’ll build on next year.
This year for the first time ever I didn’t buy a single roll of wrapping paper, and to me, this felt like a small victory. In the past, I would be forever throwing in a few more rolls in the trolley throughout the month of December to provide a never-ending supply for everyone. But I was determined to cut this out. We could use up any bits that were already in the house. We could reuse gift bags collected from previous years, we had a small supply of reusable cloth bags, and we became quite crafty using old paper bags, brown paper, tissue paper that we’d collected and just tied them with ribbon, bows and string. We even made quite a night of it, gathering all of our wrapping paraphernalia and encouraging a gift wrapping evening for everyone.
Christmas Day was just as exciting, the gifts were still beautifully wrapped under the tree, the fun of unwrapping still happened, just with a small sense of pride that we’d made one tiny change, and it felt good! We were far more careful to salvage anything we could and now have one of Santa’s sacks full of gift wrap ready for next year!
Thinking back to previous Christmases with the hallway full of black bags of rubbish (another small victory we didn’t even buy black bags this year!) and a trip to the local dump to dispose of it looming in the new year, I felt a real sense of achievement looking at just two small carrier bags for a family of 8!
We also took the step of not buying Christmas crackers this year! I wasn’t sure this would go down well with the family, they like sticking to tradition and I wondered if they would complain. But we replaced them with lovely Christmas hessian drawstring bags that we filled with jokes, tea lights, chocolates and a selection of old quiz game cards that we were able to reuse, we even put in small card hats that I’ve kept for next year. The plan is to be more prepared and look out for little gifts in charity shops for next time. But hey ho small steps! And the good old family didn’t seem to mind, perhaps we are onto a winner!
For the last couple of years, we haven’t bought or given Christmas cards. Instead, my husband has sent beautiful musical e-cards to all our friends and family, so we can still show our love and appreciation for them and enjoy the Christmas spirit.
This year we all tried to support small businesses, or buy second hand. We definitely tried to purchase more experiences, trips to the theatre, things to make memories and not just more stuff! Our dear Emily had a draw full of films she wanted developing and we secretly did that for her, and another daughter has a subscription of “HAPPY NEWS" to look forward to throughout the year. In all honesty, we didn’t manage to loosen the mighty grip of Amazon entirely, but we did think differently and shop differently. A good foundation to build on next year I think!
Change doesn’t happen overnight and to many, these small adjustments may seem insignificant, but to me, they felt like we were moving in the right direction and trying to make a difference.
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes. But when you look back everything is different.”
Roll on next year ……..