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Green Up Your Family’s Christmas Traditions This Year

17. november 2011

I’m dreaming of a green Christmas… OK, not the snowless kind. By all means, let it snow! But I’d like it to be as environmentally friendly as I can possibly make it. For the last few years now, I’ve been phasing out more and more of the fake plastic junk that many of us have grown accustomed to.

You know, Christmas was in its origins a celebration of nature and its survival. Now we are killing nature to celebrate. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

It can be really hard to change family traditions and replace them with new ones. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas if it was all brand new, right? But maybe there is another way. Maybe the new traditions don’t have to be new per se, maybe you can bring back some really old ones instead?

Here in Norway, we actually have two so-called «Santas» – alike in Norwegian name, but very different creatures. We have the fat guy in red that comes around on Christmas eve (must be so that he’s able to visit USA the morning after, I guess), and this is the one that is getting more and more attention as the years go by and little consumerists grow up. But we also have another one. This is a little gnome that used to live out on the barn and take care of all the animals. If you were nice to him and to his four-legged friends, he would help out wherever you needed him to, and be an overall nice guy. But if you neglected him and your animals, you could be in for a lot of trouble. So, on Christmas eve, you would be a fool not to set out a dish of Christmas porridge to him on the barn.

This is a tradition I plan on bringing back now that I have a child of my own (I have to set out his dish in the garage, though). This is even more Christmas-y to me than our current tradition, as this little gnome is already a part of our collective heritage and brings with him a certain sense of nostalgia even though I never made him Christmas porridge before.

So, this is the advent calendar I’m embroidering for my daughter. No fat guy in red, but this little fellow, happy to receive his porridge this year too. To be honest, this is the third Christmas I’m working on this, but I’m slowly getting there. Maybe this year it will be ready for December 1. You can click on the image to go to the webshop where I bought it.

This little gnome strikes me as far more environmentally friendly than his college up on the North Pole, wouldn’t you agree? So this is the one I want my daughter to associate with Christmas. I’m bringing the old tradition back for her, and we’ll make sure we hang out some oatmeal and peanut butter coated cones for the birds this year too, in lack of four-legged companions.

Other things you can do to green up your Christmas traditions, is to opt for natural Christmas decorations if you have a choice in the matter. Christmas is a great time for nostalgia, so think about how you would decorate your house in a world pre-plastic! You’d go for all natural materials, right? One really easy, simple and cheap thing to do, is to slice up an orange, let the slices dry up for a week or two, thread a string through them, et voila: sweet-smelling, lovely little suns to put on your Christmas tree! You can also do this with lemons and tangerines, of course.

Christmas tree decorated with orange slices.

Other things you can do to decorate naturally, is to set out a bowl of nuts, put some cones of different shapes and sizes up on the mantel, make your own wrath, or make your own tabletop Christmas log from a small log with bark still on it (just drill holes for the candles and decorate!).

Electricity and waste of energy is also a big problem during the holidays. Don’t turn on those lights this year. Instead, you can light up your garden with beautiful candle light, either by making snow lanterns, or by substituting the snow with glass jars covered in white crocheting. You can use those inside too, of course, I have a crocheted jar lantern on my shelf the whole year long.

Christmas, for most of us, can’t be changed over night. Traditions are important, and we just can’t tear them all down at once. But we can bring back old ones and make new traditions, slowly, over the years to come, that will be what our children take with them the day they are the ones to make Christmas happen. After all, we don’t just celebrate Christmas – we bring up our babies too.

What will you be doing to green up your Christmas traditions this year? Please share in the comments field below!

Ths blogpost is submitted to Retro Houswife Goes Green’s blog carnival. Be sure to check it out!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Joybot

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  1. OH I love the Gnome! I’m an animal lover so that’s my kind of Santa.

    My husband and I have been married for 6 years so we are still creating traditions but for now we have some kind of strange ones. We put up our tree while watching the first Harry Potter, not sure how this started but it stuck. My husband isn’t a big Christmas movie fan (weird since he is CRAZY about Christmas) and he says Harry Potter has Christmas in it so it counts.

    I also always make gingerbread cookies sometime during the holidays and take cookies to my recycling coalition meeting, this a tradition others really enjoy. 🙂

    Christmas Eve is our dating anniversary so we normally go drive around and look at lights and maybe watch a movie or something. On Christmas morning we get up early and go to my parents for breakfast and open gifts. We come back home and open gifts with my in-laws and I cook a big meal for everyone.

    When I was little my favorite part of Christmas was getting up really early with my brother so we could go open our stockings (the only thing we were aloud to get into before my parents were up). We often fell asleep in the living room waiting for my parents to get up but it was nice to have that time just us. When we were teens we slept in one Christmas and we were both so upset that we missed out on that time so we set our alarms the next year to be sure it didn’t happen again.

    1. 😆 Harry Potter is a great Christmas tradition, I think! We have a short movie too, which is always sent on TV the 23. of December (that’s when most of us decorate the tree). It’s called The Butler and the Countess, or Dinner for One, but I have NO idea how that came to be a Christmas tradition!! It just is, I guess. 🙂 You can watch it here:

      http://youtu.be/6lzQxjGL9S0

      And yeah, it’s so horrible to oversleep for Christmas morning! My mom always used to stuff an ordinary wool sock with candy and lay in our beds, so that when we woke up we could eat candy and watch Christmas cartoons all day long while she cooked. I actually still go home to sleep there some times, especially when my sisters are celebrating at home too, so we can sneak up to watch TV together. It’s getting harder now that we all have children of our own to tend to, though. 😆

  2. We always used to set a bowl of porridge in our garden for the fjøsnisse.:) can’t do it where I live now, though.

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