A Green Christmas: Why You Should Have One and How?
A GREEN CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR
While this year was not paritcularly kind to any of us, it has shown us (however momentarily) that when humans decide to stay in, the Earth prospers. Of course, human beings are not the problem itself. It is human activities and the complete callousness we as a species display when dealing with anything to do with this world that requires attention. Immediate attention.
“Humanity” is just another word for being kind, but if we’re not being kind to those we inhabit the world with, then aren’t we simply shirking from the most basic responsibility we have - to put it in brutally honest (albeit slightly crass) terms, of not being assholes to others?
There is a concept in psychology known as the “bystander effect” - when a catastrophe hits and people circle around the scene to watch and do nothing (assuming someone else will), that’s bystander effect. There is another term I’d like to throw into the mix: “norm.” The reason it is insidious is that it leads to the justification of actions (however moral or immoral they may be). One can avoid any responsibility by saying, “but everyone else is doing it,” or better yet, not seeing any wrong in their actions (“so what? That’s just how the world works”).
Well, just because everyone does it doesn’t make it okay.
Why we love Christmas?
I was born into a Hindu family. The fact that I don’t ascribe to any particular religion, or believe in the very concept of religion for that matter, aside, Christmas is one of my favourite holidays of the year.
I love the diyas during Diwali but the firecrackers erode some of the charm for me. I also like Holi but I’m not the biggest fan of having water thrown at me while it’s still 15 degrees (celsius) outside.
Of course, disliking certain aspects of other popular festivals in India isn’t reason enough to truly love Christmas. Here is a concise list of why we at Studio Covers are fans of Christmas.
- It’s a peaceful festival.
- The lights look really pretty at night.
- Christmas songs either make you nostalgic or make you wish for a once upon a time. Some make you slightly sad, most happy, but at the end of the day, they reaffirm your faith in how, despite it all (or rather inspite of it), it is all going to be all right.
- Christmas decorations are fun! Looking for the right tree, adding some bells and fairy lights to it, buying a mistletoe.
- It’s an excuse to drink some really good wine. Más vino, por favor!
- The streets shine with tiny little lights that flicker and illuminate the night. Or your neighbour’s house that looks just so pretty!
- It’s the time to look back and take stock of the year you just had. To look back on the good and the slightly less good. To smile at the progress you’ve made and to look back at all the sweet memories and all the people you met. Oh, doesn’t it just fill you with gratitude and optimism?
Why should you have yourself a green Christmas?
If Christmas is the time of giving, why take from nature? Isn’t it ironic that during a time when being jolly is the norm, we choose to engage in negligent behaviours? Now, I apologize if this comes across as slightly preachy, but Christmas is a time when we produce tons of unnecessary waste. And while, yes, this preachiness does take away some of that jolliness of Christmas, ignoring it is a part of the problem. In other words, if we choose to ignore, we are a part of the problem.
Here are a few things we can do to make sure we have ourselves a sustainable, mindful, and jolly Christmas!
#1 - Wrap your gifts up in paper or reuse your old wrapping
There are gifts inside the packaging. And yes, in this world of Instagram, the cover of the book matters, we know. But simply using brown paper to wrap up gifts and using a red satin ribbon to tie it up does the trick too. So why not?
Packaging is perhaps one of the most wasteful things out there! It is basically one of the only things we can think of that is use and throw. So how about we change that?
Here at Studio Covers we try out best not to use plastic. So what we do is make fabric bags out of extra fabric that we have just lying around the factory. These are bags that can be reused (to store drycleaned coats and sarees, for example). We then cut up a strip of a fabric to colour coordinate the tie with the cushion covers inside. No plastic is used - it's that simple!
#2 - Ask yourself: do you really need to buy yourself a tree?
During Christmas, you can either buy yourself a real Christmas tree or a plastic one. This one should go without saying: do not buy a plastic tree, please. And for some reason, if you insist, don’t chuck it out post-Christmas. The good thing about plastic (and yes, there are virtues to using a plastic tree too) is that you can reuse the same tree. So store it in an attic somewhere, and take it out next year. Wipe off the dust and you're good to go!
In case you decide to buy a real Christmas tree, figure out if you’re willing to take care of it. Fir trees can be notoriously difficult to take care of, especially if you live in a flat. So ask yourself if you can take care of it before you jump on the first chance to buy one. If you can’t, however, figure out if there are any farms or plant nurseries around you that would be willing to take care of your tree for you during the rest of the year. You’d be surprised at how many places you find that would be willing to do this for you - at a tiny little monthly fee. So really think about it before you commit, because if you don’t, you might end up chucking out a perfectly radiant Christmas tree, and do you really want to be that person?
#3 - Donate to a good cause
Stray dogs and puppies need our help. Children need our help. Beggars. Those who can’t pay their medical bills. 12-year-old married girls.
Basically, the world needs our help. While there is a lot in this world one must be thankful for, there is also a lot that is in dire need of fixing. And while we can’t single-handedly fix a broken system, drop by drop and you have yourself an ocean. Choose a cause and help out however you can. The world needs us to pitch in.
#4 - Give away your old clothes, shoes, books, etc.
On the topic of giving back, as the year comes to an end, take a look at everything you don’t need and give it away to people who may actually do. That one rickshaw driver’s son studying for his IIT entrance exam. Maybe he needs your books. Is that little girl shivering in the cold? You have the ability to help. Give back. It feels good.
#5 - Shop less
This one may not come as great news for all the self-diagnosed shopaholics out there, but you know it's true. The best way to reduce waste is to shop less. And while this may seem slightly counter-productive coming from a brand (after all, a brand = a business that makes money selling products), you know, and we know, it makes sense. Here are some do's and don'ts:
- Don’t buy something that’ll only last you a season.
- Stay away from fast fashion. Fast fashion companies cause so. Much. Damage. to the planet.
Buy something only if it makes you happy - not just because.
#6 - Be mindful of the gifts you give
Once the season to be jolly is over, the rest of the year (new year!) awaits. Ask yourself: is the gift you’re buying going to last the receiver? Is it something that will enrich their lives, or is it just something they’ll toss aside and never look at again?
Further, ask yourself about the impact it has on the planet. Is it made of plastic? Will it hang out on the planet longer than the person receiving it? Has somebody had to suffer greatly to make it? If the answer to the questions is “yes,” then it should probably be a hard no on the gift.
#7 - Shop locally!
Support your local economy this Christmas. This year has been especially hard on small businesses the world over. Go local! Ask yourself: when I buy this gift, will it help the business provide some New Year bonuses to their workers, or will it help some CEO buy themselves a fourth holiday home?
It is also true that when something is made locally, there is a good chance that it is simply more sustainable. For one, you don’t have to worry about all the raw materials coming from all the world only to be assembled in another part of the world and then sent to you from some warehouse somewhere. Two, when products aren’t mass-produced, they’re bound to be (9.9 out of 10 times) more environmentally friendly as well. Bye-bye use of fossil fuels.
Have Yourself A Green Christmas
And with that, it’s a wrap on the Green Christmas blog post. Go, march forward, our eco-conscious friends. The festival of cheeriness is upon us. Bask in the brilliance of twinkling lights, the gentle nip in the air, the smell of the night-blooming Jasmines, joyous choruses, and the magic of togetherness. But do it while remaining just a little bit aware of the state of our crumbling ecosystem.
Small actions go a long way. Do your bit.
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