Enjoy a jolly green Christmas this year

margaretAs the holiday gift-giving season approaches, we often are filled with a sense of dread. How will we ever find the perfect gift for everyone on our list, the time to finish shopping and the money to pay for all the stuff we need to buy?

The frenzied pressure starts before Black Friday when we are bombarded with “Buy…Buy…Buy”, and it continues through the holiday season. It seems we have become trapped into frantically buying superfluous things. It’s materialism at its worst because it creates wants in our heart for acquiring more “stuff, which in turn, creates more wasted energy and pollution for Mother Earth.

Does serious spending, really contribute to the genuine spirit of loving others as we celebrate Christmas? Wouldn’t it be more fun and rewarding this year to have a jolly green Christmas by capturing the real spirit of the season with genuine gestures of love and friendship in other ways? The word “Christmas” is Old English for Crīstesmæsse, which means “Christ’s Mass”, the celebration of the birthday of Christ.

We can start by muting the TV commercials that try to entice us to buy their products, and also refusing to look through extravagant Christmas wish gift books designed to tempt us to overspend. We can refuse to take out holiday loans from banks and financial institutions. We can realize that malls are beautifully decorated and play lively holiday music to get us in a mood to buy more.

Of most importance, we can start to give generously of our time and talents instead of shopping till we drop. Think how you can create good will and fun for your family and friends over the next year that may involve your time or talents but not require a lot of money to implement.

Here are some suggestions to consider for a jolly green Christmas.green

We should put giving to the poor at the top of our “to do” list during this holidays. We can take food and gently used clothing to a local charity. Or we can donate to an international organization like Heifer.org. Every year our family gives a gift of a farm animal through Heifer. This is no ordinary gift. Giving an animal to those in need is like giving someone a small business by providing wool, milk, eggs, etc. Animal donations can p rovide poor families increasing access to medicine, school, food, and a sustainable livelihood.

For family and friends, think of jolly green activities to do with each person or family. Then write fun promises on decorative notes. For example, you might take friends out for dinner at your expense. In past years, instead of buying expensive toys for our young children, we took them to a dinner theater after Christmas. It was an enjoyable dining experience, plus it created an appreciation for live performances for them.

Other suggestions might be having a family fun night every month and let the children plan the activities or starting a fund for an extra nice family vacation.

To add to the joy to the holiday season, you might consider babysitting for a young couple, taking an elder out for a ride, or cooking a meal for a shut in. If you are a boss or supervisor, why not take extra time to mentor an employee to help him or her become better on the job?

May you have a jolly green Christmas!

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