My Merry Christmas

“Living Green in a Modern World” is not about going without.  It is not about foregoing quality and a modern way of life.  It is about choosing ethically, choosing responsibly, choosing with a conscience and most importantly living consciously through every moment in every second of every minute of every day.  And about being consciously aware of where we all sit in this web of life.  And this universe.

Christmas is a time of mass.  Mass consumerism, mass spending, mass expectation.  For the general population, everything is large!  For me, Christmas is much richer than that.  Christmas is a time to stop and celebrate life. Celebrate love.  Celebrate family.  Celebrate the fine thread of life.

Three years ago my family had a very different Christmas.  A Christmas spent in an Intensive Care ward, watching and waiting for that fine thread of life to choose whether it would hold on or snap.  This Christmas, 2012, is the first Christmas since that my family can and will all come together and celebrate that fine thread and the choice it made three years ago…. It chose “Life.”

I must say I am a tad excited!

Sure…. We buy presents for each other.  We have a big feast.  We stuff ourselves silly and then spend the rest of the afternoon rolling around on the grass trying to rid ourselves of the agony in our bellies.

In my house, we don’t have a different Christmas.  We have a responsible one.

Presents are chosen because they are actually wanted or needed.  They are bought responsibly, from independent quality retailers and small designers.  All Australian.  Beautiful wrapping paper is folded up and reused again.  Ribbon is collected.  Packaging is recycled or goes into our compost.

Our designer menu is selected with seasonal produce in mind.  Fruit and veges are bought through local farmers at our local Farmer’s Market.  Any cut of meat is chosen responsibly and ethically.  It is then bought directly from the farmers who raise the animal responsibly through a free range, organic method that has given THE best life to that animal. The meat is then cherished and respected for what it is.  A life that has been sacrificed for our table.

Off cuts of food feed our compost.  Leftovers are kept.   If not homemade, condiments are bought in jars not plastic.  Herbs and selected veges are picked fresh from our garden.  Food is prepared fresh, not out of a packet.  No food goes to waste.

The table is decorated with flowers from our garden and gorgeous beeswax candles.  Our tablecloth is linen.  Our napkins are linen.  Our crockery ceramic. Cutlery, a mix of stainless steel and silver.  Glassware always glass.  Nothing is landfill here.

Beautiful Christmas carols are downloaded online rather than bought as cds.  The atmosphere is euphoric.  We are comforted knowing that our electricity bill is going towards green power.

Of course, we know that we are lucky to be able to afford these choices.  But then for the small cost, what kind of world would we have if we didn’t?  We all have a choice…

At the end of the day, we will choose to sit outside under a beautiful star lit night.  Under the moon.  And remember our place in this universe.  And give thanks for that thread of life.  For life would not be worth living without it.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.

xx

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DIY: Eco decorations for the Christmas tree

Eco Christmas

We are blessed with THE most beautiful real Christmas tree in our home this year.  The smell of pine has filled our home and created such warmth and love.  We are totally feeling the spiritual side of the Christmas season.

It is not easy to make eco conscious choices at Christmas.  A living Christmas tree in a pot is the ultimate gift you can give the earth at Christmas, but only if you have the land available to plant the tree afterwards.  A real Christmas tree, like we have this year, has given to the earth for the past three years by stopping erosion, creating homes in it’s branches for a myriad of insects and by collecting carbon as it grows.  What happens to it’s carbon now that it is cut, I am not sure.  But knowing that it will give back to the earth in it’s sacrifice as mulch at the end of Christmas has to be a plus.

Choosing a living tree is the ultimate for Christmas.

But if you already own a plastic tree do not fear.  Yes…a plastic tree is bad for the environment as it takes carbon, petrochemicals and toxins to create but you can justify keeping your already purchased plastic tree by realising that it will save the sacrifice of many trees in its lifetime.  The truly eco conscious way I can see to justify your plastic tree that you already own, is to make it last for years.  Love it for years.  And when it is finally at it’s end, choose to recycle it consciously.

As for the tree decorations, it is nearly impossible to avoid the mass consumerism and marketing that comes with Christmas decorations.  They surround you wherever you look!

I have come up with some beautiful ideas to decorate your tree in a truly unique and consumerism-free way…

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Origami is such a truly beautiful art form.  Why not have your kids make many Japanese cranes or something similar from divine Origami paper.  Join together with string and decorate your tree.  You could even make paper planes!

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Or how about reusing the decorations you already own and using ribbon as tinsel to tie the theme of your Christmas together?  Therefore the ribbon is uncut and totally re-useable…

Eco Christmas ribbon decorations

What about hanging gingerbread men, homemade iced circular cookies with a hole in the middle, cinnamon sticks, some cranberries on thread, fresh cherries on their stalks and candy canes on the tree?  You are limited only by your imagination……

My husband and I have used offcuts of ribbon to decorate our tree for many years now.  We tie the ribbon in bows at the end of each branch.  At the end of the Christmas period, we untie, flatten and then place into a box with the stunning Christmas ornaments we have collected over the years ready to be reused next year.

Eco Christmas

We have decided that by purchasing only two absolutely stunning Christmas ornaments each year made of ceramic, glass, timber or metal, we are building a tradition we hope will be passed on through future generations.  Less is more.

Merry Christmas

x

DIY: Make your own eco Christmas Wreath

I returned home a few days ago from a six week work trip.  Never before have I been soooo excited to get home and start Christmas!

Obviously after arriving home from so long away, there are endless jobs awaiting their catch up…. One of them was my overgrown garden.  After giving my rosemary bush a rather large prune, I was looking at the pile of beautiful cuttings thinking how sad it would be to have to throw all this fresh rosemary away.  That’s when I had a wonderful idea!  Make my very own Christmas Wreath!

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Firstly I started bunching the rosemary so it all ran the same way.  I staggered it a little so neither the stems or the tips are aligned.  Once it had reached my desired thickness, I wrapped a fine piece of wire around the bunch.  I secured it by twisting with pliers before tucking the ends into the bunch.  Once this was secured, I adedd more rosemary to one end of the bunch following the original principle or letting neither the stems or the tips align.  I secured it again with more wire about 10 cm along from the first piece of wire.  I continued these steps until my bunch was the required length to form the circle of my wreath.  Then I wrapped it in a circle and secured with my hand.  I tucked the stems and tips into each other to join.  Using some small cutoffs, I added around the outside of the bunch to hide the tucked in stems and tips.  Then I secured the last piece of wire around where I was holding the wreath together.  All that was left to do then was to decorate!

I chose to decorate mine with a simple red and white gingham ribbon.  You could use flowers, holly, pine cones, Christmas ornaments, raffia, hessian or what ever your heart desires.

Other beautiful ideas for a Christmas wreath would be to make it out of lavender, daisies, roses or any fragrant herb you desire.

A beautiful way to enjoy the wonderful scents of your garden whilst celebrating this special Yuletide season…

xx