“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” ― Garrison Keillor
I can’t say I’m feeling particularly festive this year.
Today, I went to the supermarket for the first time in months. Doing the weekly food shop is now such an anxiety inducing experience. I actually used to find it calming, going through the fresh produce and putting what I needed into the trolley.
Now it’s made up of analysing how far away I am from the nearest customer, people weaving in and out of each other in masks, panicking if that person might have the virus. Hoping you leaving the house for necessities like food won’t have you testing positive and then God knows what that would lead to.
For many years, I’ve not felt very festive around the holiday season. The festiveness fluctuates between feeling so and not at all. It’s been like that since Nan died, and obviously when my Granddad passed away a few short weeks before Christmas three years ago.
Having said that, hearing the Christmas music, seeing the seasonal items on the shelves, did make me feel quite Christmassy, if I could imagine that for a moment, things were normal.
For the first time this year, I won’t be with my family for Christmas. Growing up, Christmas used to be a bigger occasion, going to grandparents’ houses and seeing cousins.
However the last ten years or so, we’ve just been having quiet Christmases at home, and I’ve loved it. As much as I love seeing my extended family and during the holidays, it started to become more of a requirement, like you weren’t allowed to say no if you just wanted to have a laid-back holiday. It became more of an expectation rather than celebration.
Since trying to be more sustainable and eco-friendly in my lifestyle, this Christmas is also a little different. I wanted to be as low waste/low carbon footprint as possible as especially during the holiday season, a lot of waste is produced and resources used up.
So, I’ve been using the old zero-waste adage of using what you already have for gifts. I’ve used books I no longer read, reused old clothes I no longer wear by making them into wrapping cloth (as opposed to wrapping paper) napkins that can be reused etc. I’ve even reused boxes I have to put the gifts in, be them from deliveries or old gifts I had. Obviously, there’s no such thing as being completely zero waste, but making more of an effort so it can help the planet definitely makes me feel better.
Normally, I’d do that along with some secondhand gift shopping. Saves a tonne of money (which works, seeing as I’m broke as fuck right now) and is more environmentally friendly. We ditched the consumerist demands of holidays, doing what we want to do, and honestly I feel so much better for it.
This year, Christmas with my folks will be spent over Zoom. It sucks, but we all know it’s for the best to try and keep each other safe.
Hopefully next year, and with this new vaccine rolling out, we’ll be able to spend the holidays together again.
*Image – Typically Topical