a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

It’s December and, as you already know, I’m a die-hard lover of anything to do with sleigh rides, silver bells and snowmen. Although I no longer celebrate the Christmas season in a religious way, the magic of the season is not lost on me. In fact, since leaving behind many of the mainstream traditions – such as hours of mall shopping and too many parties – I look forward to this month of goodwill more than ever.

As I create and recreate my “alternative” traditions each year, it’s been more than joyful. Each year, I look forward to coming up with new and natural ways to decorate, give/wrap and spend quality time with the people in my life. My greening of the holidays did not go over so well at the family dinner table at first, but things are improving.

When it comes to holidays and gift and card giving, I don’t find anything merry about the extravagant waste involved in most of what is now more habit than heartfelt. And judging by yesterday’s NY Times article, “Jolly and Green, With An Agenda”, I’m not the only person stuffing CFLs in stockings. Right here, on the front page of the Sunday Styles section, more than one person speaks out, who wants to give gifts, but “also wanted to communicate my own deeply-felt environmental conviction.” What? I’m allowed to do that?

It might initially be easier said than done, but I”ll bet you didn’t let that stop you from approaching touchy subjects with parents or siblings in earlier years. Including fact-filled information can go a long way and, if you don’t know how to start a dialogue, you can go to Sierra Club‘s Web Site and look at a kind of working “script”.

Worry more about the wrath of Grandpa than the kids. Kids are like sponges – they soak up anything new given with love and meaning. And when it comes to saving the planet, they get it and can roll with changes if done in steps and communication. After all, the memories I most cherish from childhood are more about building snowmen, making popcorn over a roaring fire, caroling in the neighborhood, decorating sugar cookies and listening to holiday music than collecting my haul. I remember some truly usuable gifts – like the long-awaited snow skis, but overall, I remember laughter and fun. Note to parents: There’s a fine line between what they want and what they need. Let Santa be the fall guy.

If all else fails, practice rather than preach. You may light up something more than an efficient bulb.

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2 Responses to “”

  1. phyllis diehl Says:

    thank you trace for your views, there are gifts to give that are not into the big consumer stuff, i had a friend, that gave her mother a gallon of pain, with the promise that in one year she would paint her bedroom. i have given present of me babysitting for a special friend. i love the idea of giving our own “special gifts” like baking something that you are good at…..making something special that you know someone will enjoy……… favorite, is time, when a friend, gives me the present, of a 2 hour visit, what could be better, then giving time to a friend………………..i plan to give my grandson, one of my favoirtes gifts, a choice of books……as we both know, that is a gift that will pass through many hands…..thank you for your views, they are worth it!!p.s. to some people like me…i like to give things to people i love……your suggestions are wonderful

  2. The Tao of Change » Blog Archive » Knit One, Green, Too Says:

    […] more « Ho Ho Hold the Holiday Haul – they’ll understand […]

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