My Christmas is changing and its not the pandemic causing it.

Holiday tree

Christmas 2020 will forever be remembered as the Covid Christmas. That means Judy and I, our three children and 7 grandchildren will most likely forgo our Christmas days together. A bitter pill to swallow but not without reason.

I must say, however, that my Christmas was slowly evolving long before the pandemic made its way on stage. Climate change and environmental degradation were chipping away at our holiday behavior. Some time ago we realized that our habits must be altered to lessen the lethal fever we have given Mother Nature. The preponderance of waste generated by Christmas simply couldn't go on forever. We thought we should do our part. So, we tinkered with our tradition.

Christmas gifts

Wrapping Paper

Colorful and expensive wrapping paper was a mainstay of the gift opening ritual. It really added to the festivity of the season. As gifts were opened the wrappings would be crushed into a ball and thrown across the room into a 50 gallon black plastic bag. Everyone cheered when the toss found its target and hooted when it missed. By the end of the gift opening two or three bulging bags of glossy shreddings were dumped in the garage to await the recycling truck.

It wasn't just the paper but the wrapping of dozens of gifts late into the night that fell by the wayside. There was nothing like Andy Williams singing Happy Holidays in the background, a cup of hot cocoa, a couple pair of scissors, a twenty-four-pack of scotch tape and to get you in the Christmas mood.

Not so any longer. Reusable bags, newspaper and cloth are the norm. Sometimes the container or bag became part of the gift (at times the best part) to be used next year or the year after. There was an upside. We saved money and I found "wrapping" easier and faster. I guess that's an upside - right?

Christmas Gifts

Fewer Better Gifts

The emphasis on giving is slowly shifting from "quantity" to "quality". Shunning "fast fashion" for more robust clothing and buying items that may be a bit more expensive but last longer now seems to make sense. You have to do your homework so it will take a bit more time to find them but that's OK. Fewer quality gifts reduces carbon emissions from production and premature obsolescence. Do your homework. We aren't going to totally eliminate those little crafty gag gifts though. A laugh is a gift in itself.