Creating New Holiday Traditions

It’s no secret that gift giving perpetuates the cycle of over consumption and waste.

What if we tried something different this year, or even a little different? What if we started stepping out of the obligatory gift buying/giving/throw-away cycle that has been ingrained in our unsustainable culture for too long and leaves us with the burden of ‘Too Much Stuff’.

What if we could step away from that pattern that can leave us feeling overwhelmed, overextended and maybe a bit guilty or depressed? What if we stopped to think about what really has meaning, and create new family/friend holiday traditions to take the place of some of the old ones?

Every family and friend group is different, so there won’t be a one size fits all new tradition, but personalizing it for your group is what can make it unique, creating deeper connection and unique memories.

The possibilities are limitless. To share just a few: Gifts of your time, make a certificate/coupon for service to family/friends, a stranger, the environment, your community, the bigger world. Service on your own, or with members of your family/friends.

  • Start a ‘pay it forward’ tradition.
  • Go on outings, game nights.
  • Handmade gifts, or projects to do together.
  • Donations in someone’s name to an organization they choose.

If you do buy gifts, as much as you can, buy local, reusable, used, refurbished, regift, edible. Gift certificates for services or items they need. Trade books/music/games.

Less gifts, but more meaningful. Have $ limits. Be creative.

Skip the wrapping paper, use anything in the house to cover the gift. Scraps of fabric/towels/pillowcases/pots/buckets/jars/yogurt containers/old or new clothes/socks. Tie with string/rubber bands/clothes or safety pins, use a bit of greenery for a bow.

For kids make it into a treasure hunt, or have their stuffed animals/toys hiding it, playing with or wearing their gift (fun for the older kids and adults setting it up too!).

Ponder the life cycle of your gift, and if it can easily be reused, recycled, regifted etc.

What will your new family/friends traditions be?

Have a wonderful and more conscious Happy Holiday Season,

Nancy Schafer, ORS/Exchange board member