Christmas for an ethical parent
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Date: 14 December, 2006
‘Fallen needles and toddlers are not a good mix.’
Charlotte Haines Lyon finds the ethical route to Christmas a bit of a struggle.
Well it’s that time of year again - a time for merriment, eternal stress and debt. Or not. Maybe.
I have never been one to spend much at Christmas however this year I have made a determined effort not to be seduced by the consumerist culture.
Rather than my usual mad dash out to the shops the week before Christmas, most presents were bought in the sales months ago.
Better still the sales were predominately in ethical shops. Whether I can find them or not as Christmas nears is of course a whole other matter.
This has already proved a problem with the advent calendar. The last January sales provided a cheap felt Advent calendar with pockets for each day allowing it to be filled and reused each year.
A really sustainable idea I thought, until I spent hours turning the house upside down failing to find it.
Needless to say I have now gone out and bought another one, this time a card one in the hope I will find the other before next Advent.
Even this was difficult, as I wanted a traditional one with doors to pictures, rather than doors to chocolates. All the local shop assistants thought I was mad not wanting to celebrate a Cadbury’s Christmas.
The tree problem was solved last year. We bought a large plastic one that should be able to be reused for years to come.
Losing it hopefully won’t be a problem as it only fits under the bed. However I am now unsure whether we made the right decision.
I didn’t like the idea of chopping trees down for no good reason, so plastic it was. My mother, an arboriculturist, has since assured me that Christmas trees are a sustainable crop rather than felled forests. My other argument still stands though – fallen needles and toddlers are not a good mix.
But what to do about decorations, cards and other accoutrements? Do we eschew Christmas cards completely and send e cards to friends and family?
Personally I don’t like them and there always seems a touch of self righteousness and/or laziness about this.
Not that I can talk. Most people don’t get cards from me due to my ineptitude to get sorted before the last post date rather than anything else.
Despite such incompetence, this year I am endeavouring to engage Anya in making cards. Hopefully people will appreciate rather random, splodgy creations.
The same goes for wrapping paper; all the drawings and paintings that have filled the house over the year will envelop presents. This solves two problems, a) what type of paper to buy and more importantly b) what to do with Anya’s endless works of art.
Whilst we have some of the ubiquitous baubles from years gone by, most decorations – I hope – will also be hand made. Currently greaseproof paper covered in glitter and paint is a favourite if not very classy.
It all sounds good in theory, but a toddler handmade Christmas hangs in the balance. It is painfully slow and little people get bored even of gluing and painting.
Whether I give in and have a last minute panic buying cheap and unethical stuff and nonsense remains to be seen.
Wishing a very happy and sticky Christmas to one and all.
Read Charlotte’s other ethical parent articles
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