It’s that time of year again. The time of giving. It’s already late December, and it seems as if somehow the end of the year has just creeped up on us. It honestly feels as though I just recently retired my summer dresses for fall sweaters and now I am expected to layer on the long johns, multiple pairs of socks and wrap my scarf around my face. It’s both cruel and unfair. But of course the onset of cooler weather brings with it snow, and with the snow a sense of holiday wonderment. Big, fluffy snowflakes drifted down from the sky the past few days, and if you ignore the cars, you can pretend to be living in a snow globe.
I am not religious, but my family does celebrate Christmas, to me it represents a time to go home and be with family, and of course consuming copious amounts of baking, oranges and other merry little snacks.
This onslaught of ‘holidayness’ brings out the consumer in us all. Nowhere is this so prevalent as in a Toronto mall. I have yet to venture into a big mall this season, but I was at Chapter’s the other weekend, or rather I walked in, saw a massive crowd and promptly turned around. The idea of giving is beautiful, and it is wonderful to see people coming together to exchange gifts and warm thoughts. However, the onerousness the holidays create is something that is quite troubling.
In yoga over the past two weeks instructors have spoken about how busy and stressed everyone is and how to try to let that go in yoga. Instructors spoke of how they too were stressed by the holidays. This strikes me as backwards. The entire idea of a holiday is to be relaxed and peaceful. How have we let this season get so out of hand. Instead of focusing on coming together it seems as though collectively we focus on what to buy, what we want and how to get more, more and more. It must be getting out of hand as even Family Guy dedicated a show and several songs to the over consumption of Christmas. Seen HERE
The fact that consumption levels sky rocket this season is one thing. However, what is more troubling is the fact that the majority of what is purchased is not ethical/fair trade/eco-friendly. Truth be told, it is difficult to find the truly sound, ethical and eco-friendly products for everyone on our list. It takes major preparation and often means people not getting exactly what they want. There are definitely a number of stores from which one can purchase ‘conscious’ gifts and in Toronto we are exceptionally lucky to have so many at our disposal. * If you still have some purchases to be made this season, check out our ethical purchasing guide, we showcase many wonderful independent stores with a great selection of eco-friendly and ethical items.*
Perhaps we all have to make a few exceptions this holiday season, perhaps not everything we buy will be ethically sound, but if we all make the conscious effort to search for items and take the time to talk to store clerks and owners about where they purchase their goods, and the condition used to create them, perhaps we will begin to create more of a demand for ethical items. Maybe next year more will be available.
My ultimate holiday wish, and well desire all year round, is to have words like ethical, fair trade and eco-friendly before an item become as redundant as saying free giveaways. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the norm were to produce items that upheld a certain level of standards? And if these standards were not met the item would have to be advertised as environmentally degrading and not respecting human rights.
We wish you happiness, health and of course warmth this season!!
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