December is nearly upon us and with it the Christmas celebrations are beginning. By the end of this week we’ll have already been to 4 Christmas parties! It’s such a fun time of friends, family and festivity. But it’s also a hard time for so many.
Here in the UK and other cold countries it’s a time when many people really struggle to get through the winter. For many around the world putting a meal together for their children is a real struggle. For so many people it’s a time of long hours of work for not much pay. It’s also a time when waste and landfill use age goes up hugely!
And so how can we enter this season a little more thoughtfully?
- Over December we’ll be doing a series of blogs on the living wage – in other words the wage a person needs to earn to be able to live decently… This is often very different from a country’s minimum wage! It’s going to be so interesting… And I hope really challenging for all of us. So as a first step, sign up to follow the blog so that you can learn more about this important justice issue this festive season. The first blog in the series is written by Jess who works for the Living Wage Foundation in the UK. She has some fantastic suggestions for Christmas Shopping with a living wage in mind.
- Many people reading this are employers. I challenge you to start paying a living wage as we move towards the end of the year. Others of you may know people who are employers. I, like many of you, will be heading back to my home country for Christmas. SA is a country where hiring people to help in your home is the norm for those who can afford it. For those of us who know such home-employers, I challenge you (us!) to have at least one conversation with someone about paying the staff who work for them a living wage. If you’re not sure how to work out what this is there will be some ideas in the rest of the blogs this month… So again, sign up to follow the blog!
- Think hard about consumerism, over-consumption and buying things you or others don’t need. This time of year is a real strain on the planet and our wallets. We’re taking this challenge seriously and have decided for Christmas that all presents need to be hand-made, second-hand, hand-me-down or recycled – whose up for joining us?
- Take some time out to invest in your local community – find a homeless shelter, a charity store, a neighbour who you can support a bit over this Christmas time.
- Invest some time in thinking about small changes you want to make in your life this Christmas season and especially into 2017. If you need help, there will be lots of ideas from inspirational people around the world coming up on Just Stories in the year to come.
And so I hope you have a lovely December full of festive cheer… and with time and space to think about how to make it a bit more of a just Christmas.
PS Here are some great ideas for a different type of Christmas… and please add your ideas in the comments section below!
- One of my favourite health, lifestyle blogs out there, Wellness Mama, has some lovely ideas for eco-friendly gift wrap and also some ideas for giving experiences rather than physical gifts.
- If you’re wanting to purchase some eco-friendly wrap I came across this fun company, happy wrap – such a great addition to a thoughtful gift!
- The slow food movement (read up if you don’t know about them – so great!) have some lovely ideas for gifts drawn from the movement’s principles. And here are some other great ideas from Protect the Planet.
- Braintree Clothing’s blog also has some lovely ideas for a more thoughtful, festive, less frivolous Christmas (and as an aside, their clothing range would make a beautiful ethical gift!)