We are all trying to make a difference this holiday season thinking more sustainably, but for some people with young kids that can be a tough choice to make. At what point do parents feel like they are robbing their kids of the holiday magic?
First, you have to define what holiday magic is. Is it having loads of presents to open? Is it giving back? Is it being surrounded by family? We believe it can be one or all of these things; it just depends on how you present it to your children. A lot of families are going giftless this season to cut down on cost, waste and the sheer abundance of stuff. And we are here to help make that transition smoother.
The most important step is to have an open and honest conversation with your kids. Talk to them about why you want your family to make this choice and the important part it plays in healing our broken planet. Some kids wait all year for the excitement presents bring and we want to be careful in changing the way they view gift-giving, but we don’t want them to lose that youthful exuberance. Knowing what your family values most can help you to that. Ask them about their favorite part about the holidays and listen carefully to what they say. You’ll learn a lot about what they value most.
Once you know what is important to your family, work together to plan a “greener” way to experience the holidays in a way that feels good to your family. If they value vacations and family experiences, maybe the time when you typically open presents is the perfect time to reveal what vacation you will take together that year!
If that isn’t right for your family, try suggesting activities instead of gifts. Embrace the excitement of Christmas morning by opening polaroids of experiences you’ve had as a family leading up to the holidays. Allow your kids to take photos, print them out and write special notes to other members of the family that bring back the excitement of that day.
If giving back is important, make the holidays a time where you donate your time together as a family. Ask them if they have any volunteer ideas that speak to them. Work with them to donate old toys they don’t play with anymore, or cook a holiday meal as a family and bring it to someone in need that you have a personal connection with (maybe through school or extracurricular activities).
No matter how you decide to change your traditions, just remember to embrace it as something new and exciting and make the decision together. It’s important that kids feel like they have a say in changing the traditions that, in their young minds, are everything to them. That way, if asked what they got for the holidays they can proudly explain their new tradition!
More and more plastic is being found in places that it doesn’t belong. Overall, we need to start encouraging people to see that the main place plastic doesn’t belong is on our Earth! Cutting out the 3 items above won’t solve our world problems but they are a big step to reducing them. And speaking of reducing, make sure to take another look at the 6Rs. They include some of the tips above as well as others to help eliminate unwanted contaminants, like microplastics, that are endangering our Earth.
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