Shop Less, Celebrate More


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holiday-potluck-nz
 
Blog post by Roland Oehme

Want to have a green holiday? Do you ever wonder how the holidays became the biggest shopping frenzy of the year? Is it Santa’s marketing genius? Is it just force of habit?

If you are tired of the same ritual of trudging off to shop at the mall, jostling through the crowd, waiting hours to park, and struggling to find gifts within your budget, there is a solution. Yes, the solution to enjoying the holidays and not getting overwhelmed with shopping till December 25 is really quite simple.

Sierra Club Green Home’s green holiday solution is to shop less and spend more time doing fun activities that bring joy to your family and friends—and quite possibly even to strangers. After all, the holidays are meant to instill in us the spirit of giving, and this can mean many things besides material goods.

One company even made its new campaign about consuming less during the holidays. Can you believe it? What kind of a store would do such a crazy thing?

As I thought about this idea of consuming less, I realized that there are so many ways to have good times with your loved ones that I could never list them all. In fact, it’s an endless list! So instead, I will tell you some of my favorite holiday activities, and I invite you to share yours by commenting on this post or on the Sierra Club Green Home Facebook page.

Our family enjoys driving into the rural countryside to cut down our own Christmas tree, which is a great way to spend time together and get some outdoor exercise. Christmas tree farms also protect vital open space and help cool the planet.

We also like to take our son to visit the local holiday train garden displays. He absolutely adores the trains, as many other children do.

We like to make holiday foods together, whether it’s cookies, cakes, and desserts or complete, delectable meals. Sometimes, we attend a holiday vegan potluck party, too. And we always make time to get some exercise by hiking at the local nature park, walking in the neighborhood, or strolling along a nice downtown area. One of our favorite spots is Baltimore’s beautiful inner harbor, where you can walk right along the waterfront.

Many exciting events also are going on this time of year, like holiday performances at the theaters, symphony halls, and local churches. Take the whole family if you can, and relax and really enjoy the music and plays. Then there are local holiday light displays, conservatories put on colorful plant displays, and local museums usually have special holiday events.

Of course, the ultimate experience may be to travel to somewhere special to spend time with your family and friends, but this is becoming more of a material luxury than a simple experience. Locally, one can dine out and see a movie with friends and family for fun. My wife’s whole family would sing karaoke at home or go visit a hot spring or spa in her native Japan.

Perhaps the best things to do during the holidays are the simple experiences that sustain us. Like volunteering for your local charity, fund-raiser, or church, helping your neighbor with a project, spending more time than usual with your children, and making arts, crafts, holiday displays, or even gifts from items found at home.

Maybe that crazy store is on to something. Maybe the simple experiences bring us together and warm us most during the holidays.

Roland Oehme is a green and healthy living reporter. Read his blog at www.we-love-rawfood.blogspot.com.

© 2011 SCGH, LLC. All rights reserved.

One Response

  1. Sue Kearney December 9, 2011

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