Open Thread: How are you celebrating this holiday season?

Gavenus, Erika | December 7, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Ice Skating by Miska Saarikko | Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The MAHB Secretariat wishes you a happy holiday season!

We are using this blog post to gather your thoughts on how and what you are planning to celebrate this year? Do you have ways for navigating a time intended to promote peace, caring, and togetherness without getting caught up in the contest of overconsumption? How do we shift the expectations of the holidays back to valuing generosity over greed?

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section (here).
We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Some initial ideas on gifts to get the conversation going:

In lieu of (material) gifts…

Spend time enjoying the outdoors with friends and family.

Embrace the spirit of generosity through volunteering.

Gift skills, which might sound an awful lot like the coupon books you made for your parents in elementary school, but I know I would really appreciate someone gifting me a tune-up on my bike. If they can do it themselves? Even better. Think about the skills you have and if anyone on your list could use them, or might want to learn them.

Or, gift labor. Maybe you do not consider yourself skilled at something that another needs done, but you have the time and are able to take it on.

If going the material route…

Consider “lower-impact” options, such as used books and toys.

Make a donation on someone’s behalf. Take the time to consider what they are passionate about and make a donation in their name to a cause that supports that passion.

Craft gifts yourself. Or, if your version of a hand-knitted sweater would look anything like the one I would make (we’ll call it “blanket-style”), consider shopping locally and at businesses you want to support.

Consider gifts that could help inspire others to connect with the natural world.

And that’s just the gifts…

What about the travel, parties, and food? How do you manage those expectations?

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section (here).
We are looking forward to hearing from you on how you will be celebrating the holidays. However you plan to do so we wish you a joyous season!

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The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Michael Mielke

    Hi Erika,

    And thank you for this MAHB entry. For myself, the holiday season with my partner has been since Thanksgiving a continuous working on our small e-book, “Delusions and Contradictions,” and we will continue through the next couple of weeks until finished………….. that is, through Christmas.

    We will send you a copy.

    You mentioned in your lead that this is a time for peace, caring and togetherness. We are working on transformation and hope for the future.


  • Jeanie Johnson

    My husband and I are going to work at a nursing home Christmas day serving a meal then spend the afternoon with family. The two of us have made donations to the local Meals On Wheels program and to our YWCA. We have decided as a family not to exchange gifts between the adults at all, to make a simple gift for the children or shop for needed clothes at second hand or thrift stores. Our meal will be simple as well with mostly vegetarian foods and few sweets. My husband and I have decided to put on a funny version on Night Before Christmas as our gift to family. For more years than I can remember I struggled to have a conversation with family on the holiday orgy of consumption. For many reasons it never ended in a better way of approaching the holiday gathering. I am grateful that this year another part of the family is willing and anxious to reframe the holiday and make it about relationships and not about consuming.

  • Ah yes, Erika – low key! One gift that my partner Julie will
    get is a bottle of massage oil. Actually the oil isn’t the gift. The gift is
    that the oil will be hand-delivered!



  • Jim Boyer

    If you have children especially more than one sit down with them and explain why species are disappearing and how things were when you were a child. Then by doing so apologize to them for either bringing them into the world or for yours and other humans distain for the planet and how it was ruined by human overpopulation.Then give them one of many different books about the great sixth extinction or the Anthropocene.
    Not bitter just realistic.