I know I am stating the bleeding obvious, but when they start bringing out the Christmas decorations in department stores during the month of October, you really know that things have just gone too far. The blatant commercialisation of the holiday season has been getting longer and longer each year. It must be time to join Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping!
Whether you celebrate Christmas or some other religious holiday, things seem way too out of control for me, without any end in sight. Last year we made our own Xmas crackers, which was great fun, but have chosen not to buy all that plastic crap that went inside them this year to just waste in an instant. As you probably know, I am against consumerism for the sake of it, which I have labelled as Affluenza, so here are a few ideas that will help get you off the consumeristic treadmill. Kim and I decided that we want things to last, and gifts that either help others who produced them to get a fair deal, or give to those who really need our generosity.
Firstly, we chose only fair trade products for each other. Yes, I know that there are an incredible amount of transport emissions because mainly these gifts come from overseas, but I wanted to support the fair trade movement and not some giant corporation. We bought some of our gifts at New Internationalist Fair trade shop. Not only do you get a great product that is built to last, you guarantee a fair price for produces which is not a handout, but also helps encourage self reliance. We also bought some gifts at the Oxfam shop which is also sells fair trade goods. So we bought minimal gifts with all proceeds going to people who most need our money.
Secondly, instead of going absolutely crazy with gifts you can give a gift to someone who really needs it. World Vision has a campaign called Smiles, whereby you got to their site and buy a gift for someone else in need! What a fantastic concept. You can buy as little as water purifications tablets for $5 or water and sanitation for an entire community for $89,950! From mozzie nets to chickens, ducks, pigs or goats, the gift ideas are massive. So how does it work? Do they pack a goat in a box and ship it overseas? NO, that would be cruel. Here is an extract from the World Vision Smiles site that explains it all;
How Smiles works
You may be wondering how we deliver your Smiles gifts to children and families in poor communities, particularly the furry and feathery ones!
No, we don’t try and put the gifts into boxes and ship them off overseas. Instead, each Smiles gift you buy represents the kind of activities we will carry out on your behalf.
So, if you buy a duck or a market garden starter pack, for example, your contribution will go towards our agriculture and environment work to help communities grow food for families and restore and improve their environments. Or if you buy a mosquito net or a toilet, you’ll be contributing to our work to help communities gain access to basic healthcare, water and sanitation.
You’ll also find gifts that represent our education and training projects, our work with Indigenous communities, our emergency relief work, and our programs to protect children from exploitation and abuse.
To find out more about which category a particular gift represents, click on the Your Gift Supports tab when looking at a specific gift.
You can watch a video about how Smiles works at this link.
So this year, think outside the box you live in, and consider some of these options to help those who, without your help, will probably go without the simplest of life’s necessities, let alone a present this festive season.
The choice is yours. You can give socks and jocks to someone who has everything, or a present that really means the world to someone. I reckon they are not only suitable for last minute gifts, but for corporate presents as well! What a great Chris Kringle present to give a work colleague.
Seasons greetings to one and all,