Monday 20 December 2010

Midwinter and Christmas in Transition

It seems highly appropriate to be writing this post from under a foot of fresh white powder (in Bedfordshire), because this week we are going to be discussing what it is like being 'in transition' during midwinter and the Christmas period.

Helen's Christmas shopping posts have led nicely into the Christmas part of this weeks theme. They neatly highlight what I view as the main challenge in having a transition-esque Christmas - namely avoiding the consumerism! How did the advertisers manage to convince us that to not be a scrooge you have to give all of your friends and family massive expensive christmas presents and buy an entirely new colour coordinated set of christmas decorations every year? Where's the fun in that?

For me the clue is in the word festivities - ie. have fun, celebrate, enjoy. Having to troop round the christmas shops trying to find expensive sustainable presents and decorations is not fun, therefore, my low carbon christmas plan doesn't involve it. My plan only includes truly festive things.

So the truly festive plan involves:
A) Make presents - Helen explained this part of the plan very well and I have had great fun this year making sweets and herbal remedies and all kinds of other exciting concoctions!
B) Make decorations - last year we made an awesome newspaper christmas tree and this year we have a little nativity scene made out of cardboard and paper
C) Have fun on Christmas day and/or enjoy spending time with loved ones - more on this on Wednesday.

D) Try not to over-eat/waste food/eat high carbon food - particularly a challenge at Christmas time, when traditionally it is a day of feasting and by its nature you tend to be spending it with other people who may not be as committed as you.
E) Try not to travel too much - this especially counts against the fun gauge when it has been snowing... I have failed on this count this year as I have to traverse the snowy countryside from Bedfordshire to Norwich and back twice during this festive period - bad planning/ the inconvenience of having a job!
F) Alternatively, consider another aspect of this weeks theme and celebrate the solstice instead!

As well as all the festivities, this time of year poses other challenges for those in transition, not least all this white stuff. So I hope that our week of musings and advice provides some entertainment and guidance in surviving this challenging period of the year with your low carbon credentials intact.

Photos by Julie Lane: A snowy scene on Sunday morning, Making the most of the snow with some tandem sledging, trees reflecting in the icy River Ouse.

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