Jaclyn Kennison is a freelance writer living and playing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She owns and manages an art gallery and event venue between fits of shopping and redecorating.
The year’s biggest holiday is just days away and for many of us, our thoughts are on upcoming parties, time with family and friends, and delicious holiday food.
Generally speaking, it is relatively easy for the average eco-warrior to “green” these aspects of the holiday season: Car pool to the holiday party or take public transit if it’s available. Buy a used holiday dress from your favorite consignment store. Eat organic, local, sustainable food at home before you go to the party and bring a bottle of organic, sulfite-free wine to share. (I happen to LOVE Frey wines out of Northern California). Shop at your local food co-op as much as possible when planning a party. Buy gifts that are made sustainably and wrap them in an old piece of fabric all tied up with hemp twine. These are steps we naturally take in our efforts to “go green”.
You often hear the phrase “Remember the reason for the season” this time of year. While I appreciate the truth of these words when it comes to our spiritual selves, I also wonder—are we doing something to honor that phrase when it comes to our “green” selves?
It seems that even while we take a sustainable approach to all the holiday hooplah, the greatest challenge is truly honoring the planet this time of year. Thanksgiving should not be entirely about food and family; it should also be about sustainability and respect for the planet that provides us all the nourishment we need. The same is true for Christmas, Hanukkah and Yule, and whatever particular “reason” you ascribe to this season.
Take a break from the holidays to appreciate the planet. Photo By Dan/Courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As we embark on this special and widely-loved holiday, consider the ways you can “green” your reason. Why exactly do you go to such great lengths to live a sustainable life? Is it spiritual? Are you looking for independence? Is it an effort to reduce waste? Are you hoping to curb negative environmental side-effects? Maybe for you it just comes down to respect.
No matter your reason, take a few minutes this holiday season to appreciate the planet. Involve your family and friends, if they are willing. It is good for all of us, every now and then, to take a break and give ourselves and our families a chance to really appreciate the planet – together. Stand outside and feel the crisp air on your skin. Breathe deeply and feel the tingle in your lungs. Take the kids outside and build a snowman. Light a fire in the backyard and make s’mores, the dessert of choice on December 24th. Take a walk with family and stop to admire the trees. Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Ice skate. Look up at the quick-setting sun or early starry night and remember why you choose the green things.
Chances are you put at least some extra work into your holiday season to celebrate sustainably. You may have even spent some extra money. Make some time this holiday to remember the reasons you go green and enjoy the splendor the season has to offer.