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It’s a week after Thanksgiving and the pressure is on. Do you have your tree put up? House decorated? Shopping done? Gifts wrapped? Cards mailed? Cookies baked? Stockings hung? Parties planned? Donations made? Carols sung?
You know the drill… it’s a mad dash from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and it can be exhausting or exhilarating. This year I’m leaning toward exhausting. (Note: I’ve accomplished none of the things on my Christmas to-do list and I’m already tired.)
I’ve felt this way before. Nine years ago, the idea of shopping for three teenage boys and a young married couple overwhelmed me, and I was tired of the Christmas-consumer season. I suggested we opt for a “freegan” Christmas celebration.
A “freegan” is a person who employs “alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.”
Gifts that year had to be upcycled, thrifted, donated, traded, or otherwise of little to no expense, things made from materials we already had lying around, gifts of service or time. It was much less stressful, and I think the kids appreciated what they received more than they appreciated some of those years when there were so many things under the tree the smaller items got lost in all the wrapping paper and had to be extricated from the garbage. It was an interesting experiment.
This year, looking at an overflowing calendar from now through New Year’s Eve, I find myself thinking it would be awfully nice if we could spread all the Christmas cheer and kindness and giving, and all the events and get-togethers and office parties and family visits, across 12 months instead of trying to cram everything into this brief span of time between the Thanksgiving turkey and the Christmas roast beef (or ham, or goose, or whatever).
What if we sent cards in June, decorated trees in August, and gave gifts when we came across something perfect for someone? What if we brought plates full of homemade treats to work in April? Donated money to our favorite charities in February? Visited family and friends when the weather and the roads were clear?
Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Like Christmas all year round.
By Niki Turner | firstname.lastname@example.org