The silly season. It certainly is. Love it or hate it, here in Australia we will spend $22 billion on Christmas this year. That is an insane amount of money! It actually makes me feel a little ill thinking about the reality of all of that money. What it could be better spent on, who could benefit from it, who could be fed, clothed and housed with it.... $22 billion is a lot of money. And money is powerful.
Rather than get all depressed about commercialism, hide away and refuse to participate though, I have a better idea. Use your money wisely this Christmas. I don't mean search around for bargains, I don't mean buy cheap knockoffs, I don't even mean spend less! I mean recognise that your money is powerful and use it as reflection of your values.
For me, this means that I will be buying handmade, locally produced and ethical gifts. It means that I won't be buying mass produced products, I won't be buying products made from unsustainable and non-recyclable materials and I will be supporting local designer makers. I am going to put my money where my values are.
For you, it might mean buying from the Oxfam shop to support workers in third world countries. It might mean, if you choose to eat meat, that you splurge on a free-range, sustainably-produced, rare breed ham or turkey instead of the factory farmed supermarket variety. It might mean that you support our local community and economy by only buying Australian made products. It might mean hand-making your cards or even some of your gifts!
Spending money on your loved ones at Christmas isn't a bad thing. Commericalism isn't even an innately bad thing. Money isn't bad either. It is simply a tool, one that you can use to support and sustain the type of world you want to live in and you want your children to grow up in.
Here's some tips and links....
1) Shop for unique handmade locally produced gifts at The Finders Keepers market in Sydney this weekend. Not only will you be using your money to support emerging designer-makers, you will find some really beautiful things that your family and friends will love. And I'll be there!! ;)
2) Shop online at Blue Caravan or Made It for the same reasons! Buy from designers in your local area to save on the postage km's and carbon.
3) Have a vegetarian Christmas! It will encourage you to get creative with your family's feast and you might come up with an amazing new tradition! Though, if you really can't do Christmas without the ham, shop for sustainably produced meat at Urban Food Market.
4) Check all of your sweets and other packaged goods for palm oil before you buy! If you don't know why you shouldn't be using palm oil, read this.
Feel free to share this with your friends and family. Stay safe and happy this holiday season.