Reduce and Reimagine This Holiday Season

Reduce and Reimagine This Holiday Season

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, and now we have the full month of December, which means gift planning, purchasing and accumulating of materialistic items. These holidays put your bank account and the economy of natural systems that support all life firmly in the red. Also, we are currently using the resources of one-and-a-half … Read more


Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, and now we have the full month of December, which means gift planning, purchasing and accumulating of materialistic items. These holidays put your bank account and the economy of natural systems that support all life firmly in the red. Also, we are currently using the resources of one-and-a-half planets on our one and only planet, Earth. Wow.

According to Patagonia, environmental bankruptcy, as well with corporate bankruptcy, can happen very slowly, then all of a sudden. This is what we face as consumers unless we slow down and try to reverse the damage. We’re running short on fresh water and raw materials, all of our planet’s natural systems and resources that support business and life.

There is much to be done and plenty for us all to do. Don’t buy what you don’t need this holiday season. Think twice before you buy anything. Remember to reduce, repair, reuse and recycle by supporting companies that are sustainable and making a positive impact. You can also fix old clothes instead of getting new things (it adds character anyways) or find a new home for things you don’t use anymore and see if any of your belongings can be recycled. The bottom line is that you should try to not buy what you don’t need, pledge to fix what’s broken, sell or pass things on and pledge to keep your stuff out of the landfill and incinerator.

More importantly, let’s reduce and reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace.

“Christmas should be something to enjoy rather than endure,” writes author and activist Bill McKibben. “Instead of an island of bustle, it should be an island of peace amid a busy life. We want so much more out of Christmas: more music, more companionship, more contemplation, more time outdoors, more love.” In Hundred Dollar Holiday, McKibben, a church-going Christian, describes what it’s like to set a $100 limit on holiday spending – gifts, decorations, even the holiday feast. Some of us might find that level of simplicity a challenge, at least to start, but surveys bear out that those are the things people want most.

Time – especially time with friends – is one of the most valuable gifts we can give. How you choose to take back the holidays is up to you – that’s what it’s all about, creating and nurturing your own traditions. As with any gift, it’s the thought that counts. So this year, think hard about what really matters to you and your family and put that at the top of your holiday gift list.

As for me, I plan to spend time at home with my family who I haven’t been able to see for an extended period of time in so long, after being in Spain, then coming to Mount right away. I plan to simplify as well, and even though I already have some new clothes on the Christmas list and maybe a new camera, I believe my mindset and mentality is there. Most the clothes are from companies that support a good cause anyway!

How do you plan to reimagine your holidays this year?

(Thanks to Patagonia for some of the insight on this post)

Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns, and Syrup

Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns, and Syrup

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Tis the season! Christmas, for me, is the best time of the year because I get to go home and be with loved ones I haven’t seen in months. I found a quote from Burton Hillis that hits home. “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” There are certain things that really keep me in the Christmas mood, aside from the most important that some people forget to celebrate, the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas mass is one of the largest, most decorated and beautiful masses of the year. It also celebrates a season of giving, and I make a valiant effort to give personal and homemade gifts, giving more of experiences not unneeded things. What really keeps me going though is the music, movies and activities throughout the month.

I am a sucker for Christmas music and listen to it a lot during the month of December, but am not one of those people who turn it on right after the Thanksgiving meal. Sheesh! I listen to the classics like Burl Ives, Jackson 5, Elvis, Eartha Kitt and Wham, but really love the songs from artists like Kenny G, Mariah Carey, Babyface, Whitney Houston, Boyz 2 Men and Michael Buble. [Insert joke about my music preference here]. Also, because of my interests in social good, charitable efforts and a global perspective coupled with my enthusiasm of Christmas cheer, one of my favorite songs is by Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas (video). Here are some lyrics, to keep things in perspective this Christmas.

“And in our world of plenty
we can spread a smile of Joy
Throw your arms around the world
at Christmas time.”

“Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?”

Movies are another part of me during the winter season, especially my favorite of all time – Elf. I mean, who doesn’t believe that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear? And, what better things are there to do than making snow angels for two hours, going iceskating and eating a whole toll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as you can? Will Ferrell definitely makes Christmastime much more humorous and passes smiles along.

I truly hope everyone enjoys their holiday season and can celebrate it with the ones who are closet to your heart! Be merry.