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Tailoring Tradition

Holidays are built upon the traditions of the past, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for altercation.

The best traditions, and ultimately the ones that hold up through new generations, are those that can be tailored to fit society’s current needs. Unfortunately, today’s holiday season is marked strongly by consumption- or rather the over-consumption of products, gifts, travel miles, and electricity.

The obsession with consumer goods is also at odds with the meaning of the holidays themselves. It is, after all, the season for giving.

Though to many who celebrate the holidays, they have just become a habit or a break from work. Fair enough. But for those who see them as an opportunity to flex their wallets, they may need to cinch in their habits.

For starters, we should be more creative when gift giving. Though it may be better to give than receive, more is found in non-material items than generic gifts that line shelves at super centers. Things like learning a new skill, time spent together or even time off from one an other can amount to much more.

Here are some alternatives to get your inspiration flowing:

  • If you are a skilled musician, teach a friend or relative to play as well
  • Take your friend to a concert or music festival
  • Get tickets to see a play or opera
  • Give tickets for a show to a couple you know, so they can enjoy a night out together. Better yet, offer to baby sit as well.
  • Go star gazing. If you live in a city where your view is obstructed with bursts of neon lights, you can visit a nearby observatory. Many grant you free viewing access.
  • If a friend or relative interested, teach them a festive new recipe. Then share your treats with the rest of your family.

Although Christmas trees aren’t necessary, many see them as the centerpiece of the holiday and a hearth for the family to gather around. If you can,  have a living tree transplanted to your yard. Place it within view of a window, so you can still enjoy it from inside. This way, fewer trees will meet the hatchet.

There are artificial trees available as well that will save trees and money in the long run, but most are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and are not recyclable. If you choose to get a real tree, make sure to recycle it. The best time to do this is within the first week after Christmas.

When trimming your tree, ditch the store bought ornaments, and try the following:

  •  Antique Jewelry – earrings are already equipped with a hook
  • Charms
  • Family Photos
  • Vintage Pocket Watches
  • Old Keys
  • Pine Cones
  • Ribbons and Bows
  • Candy Canes

You can even hang Christmas cards you receive. Simply place a hook on the card and secure it to a branch. This way you can display the cards proudly, as not everyone has a mantel handy.

To top it all off, you can cast a better mood during your holiday by switching to LED tree lights. Pick strands with fewer lights of low impact, this will create a gentle glimmer that ignites each branch with warmth.

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