4 Easy Ways to Make Your Christmas/Holiday Season More Ethical & Fun
Are you planning for an ethical, eco-conscious celebration this year? Do you want to have more fun than ever, but somehow less stress and running about? First and foremost, celebrations are traditions that busy people (yes, even our ancestors were busy) came up with to commemorate religious, political, local and family events. It only makes sense that we use these special or sacred days to create new memories that layer year upon year.
Decide now to have a slow Christmas or holiday with your family & friends using these four tips:
1. SHOP EARLY
Shopping the slow fashion, small maker/artisan, and local way, puts money more directly in the hands of the maker. It also means less stress for you! There is no shopping crush, no lining up in massive stores with gifts you feel guilty about. And any time we can cut down on plastic or re-purpose something? Well, that’s a good idea!
At Eternal Creation we make most of our items upon demand. This cuts down on waste, as we don’t end up with sizes that never sold or dead stock. Our broadest sale started October 1st because we want to reward our customers that have made the commitment to plan ahead and shop fair trade/zero waste. Visit our homepage here.
We have clothing, accessories and gifts made from carefully-sourced fabric, and our professional tailors are always coming up with creative ways to use the leftover materials and make something small but lovely. Our pyjama (or pajama) pants for men and women are especially popular, as our the PJ sets for children. Slip into a pair of Eternal Creation pyjamas, snugly warm or cool cotton, pour yourself a cup of your favourite beverage, and plan your shopping, menus, and family activities! Read on for inspiration!
Little ones and some grown-ups too, enjoy the excitement of watching the days until Christmas tick by with an advent calendar. For an eco-conscious advent calendar, consider making your own or re-using one from last year (I saved my sturdy paper ones for my children from one year to the next in my Christmas decorations bin). Another idea is to buy an inexpensive digital advent calendar from Jacquie Lawson. These can also be sent as digital gifts (yes, I’ve done this as well). They have cozy music playing and are digital, watercolour paintings, or at least have that look.
2. CRAFT TOGETHER
If you have young people in your household or extended family, the best gift you can give is the gift of your time and make tomorrow’s memories.
Some of the fondest memories your child, niece, or nephew will carry with them into adulthood are the times that mum or dad, or uncle or auntie or family friend sat down with them and built something, or coloured, or sewed or baked together. Below are a few inspirational tips and guides and recipe links to get you started.
GATHER YOUR CRAFT SUPPLIES
The most important supplies are:
COLOURING and PAINTING
An easy and inexpensive creative activity that youngsters and adults both enjoy is colouring and watercolour painting. Now it has become a popular way for adults to relax! Why not enjoy this peaceful activity with a child?
Some of my earliest recollections from childhood were of how wonderful and distinct the box of crayons smelled when I opened it to colour in a book with my mother. I also did a lot of colouring and drawing with coloured pencils.
Use what you have at home or look at some printables online at Etsy made and sold by independent artists like: https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/Bogemabooks.
Also seek out the prints and card made by Australian artist, Chloe Jamine. Her soft watercolour paintings of animals, villages and cozy motifs is worth a look.
Put on a tea pot or a mix up some cups of hot chocolate. Don’t forget your favourite Eternal Creation comfortable clothes or pyjamas, pull up a chair and begin!
CRAFTING from NATURE
Head out of doors and find the beauties of the season where you are. Bring a few home and make a birdseed treat pine cone. Find little sticks or rocks to craft with or paint. Make a mini labyrinth out of stones and fallen wood for walking & thinking, meditating or praying.
If you live in a cold weather climate, pine cones, evergreens and boxwood provide excellent natural decoration that kids enjoy gathering themselves.
If you decorate with eucalyptus, Hart & Honey has some good swag suggestions. http://hartandhoney.com/blog/three-easy-ways-to-decorate-with-eucalyptus
CRAFTING with COMMON HOUSEHOLD ITEMS AND NATURE’S BOUNTY
There is a great blog post with image of things to make, including Christmas decorations, that are eco and ethically “aware” shared with permission from Jennifer Lance at: https://ecochildsplay.com/2015/12/22/10-eco-friendly-christmas-crafts-for-kids/
Since we are getting ready to launch some new zero waste, upcycled clothing, we’re all about these crafts that find new and sweet uses for things like white socks, scraps of fabric, and leftover yarn! You can read about our zero waste and fair trade commitment at the bottom of this blog post.
Remember that no holiday craft time is complete without a good hot or cold drink!
Living Well Mom has come up with a dairy-free hot chocolate mix for her son with dietary restrictions that uses coconut milk instead of cow milk. It sounds delicious!
And Martha Stewart Magazine has a recipe for child-friendly Cherry Bombs here: https://bit.ly/2RKPhts
This has less-than healthy ingredients, but if you’re the sort of person that figures it is only once a year then go for it!
Here below is a recipe link for Iced Black Cherry fruit tea. If the bright red of the above drink puts you off, try this:
3. WRAP WELL
One thing that we do well here is ship your orders in cloth bundles. One thing we haven’t solved yet, is where to source affordable, waterproof, environmentally-friendly inner wrap. Feel free to clue us in if you know of something:)
You can often find wrapping paper in thrift stores, or make your own cloth wrapping any way you like. Want to make a gift look exceptional wrapped in bright cloth? Follow the link and learn how to wrap items in a furoshiki (and yes, I’ve also done this!).
Last but not least, let us remember that giving is an important part of any party or celebration.
Giving affirms feelings of worth to the receiver and the giver. In our modern world, commercialisation is everywhere. The children whose lives we touch need to see and experience the joy that comes from giving as well as receiving. Often, thankfully, children often understand the true value of gifts of other sorts- like time spent, like the handmade gift, the handmade card, the home-cooked meal, the gift of a single flower.
If you have any great ideas to recommend for ways to reduce stress and increase joy at the Christmas/holiday season, leave it in the comments below. We’d love to learn from you!
OUR COMPANY & FAIR TRADE
The Visible Tailoring Centre employs 37 people and is in Dharamshala, India, in the foothills of the Himalayas. The centre is a member the Fair Trade Forum of India, strives for zero waste in everything it does, and subscribes to WFTO's 10 principles of fair trade.
Benefits for staff include:
- free on-site nursery
- 50% school fees paid for every child who has a parent working at the tailoring centre
- training and skill development
- annual leave: all staff receive 30 days and each employee earns one extra day of paid leave for each year they are employed
- annual pay increases
- annual bonus equivalent to one month's salary
- 'open door policy' with the owners and the managers
- our very own team dog who brightens up even the wettest of monsoon days!