They come in boxes, usually with a non recyclable plastic front. You get the momentary cheer of pulling them. Out pops a non-recyclable bit of plastic tat, and a couple of bits of paper – a hat that will likely tear as you try to put it on, and a crappy joke.
If you shop around online and through eco-outlets, you can find all kinds of exciting alternatives, with worthwhile things in them, and no plastic. But even so, I question the logic of the cracker. There are many ways to dress up a table, they aren’t necessary for that. I detest the paper hats, for me they represent all the forced jollity I hate about the season. If you want people to wear brightly coloured hats for the meal, why not invest in some brightly coloured hats that can be re-used?
So much more rubbish goes to landfill over the festive period. It’s worth looking at what you think is normal, and questioning it. Crackers are not that great when you stop and think about how much pleasure you derive from them compared to what they cost and how much needless waste they generate.
Leave a comment | tags: christmas, crackers, rubbish, waste | posted in Green Living
I get round to blogging in this way every year. I am not a fan of Christmas. I have no issue with spiritual Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus – that’s their festival and they have every right to get on with it. What drives me nuts, is this other thing. This celebration of gluttony and excess in which we are supposed to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need to give to people we don’t even necessarily like with a side order of a lot of wasted food and a frightening amount of rubbish destined for landfill.
Every year, I get more hostile to the whole process and my desire to get away from it grows.
I’ve made myself a promise therefore, that this is going to be the last year in which I do anything conventional around Christmas. The boy is ten, and able to cope with the idea, and I think also conscious of the same issues. He’s too environmentally aware not to be uneasy about the waste and excess, even while he does like getting presents. We’ve talked a lot about making good memories rather than owning more things.
What would happen if we took a tiny fraction of the money spent on things that will never be used, or played with, and did something else with it? What if that money went to people who have nothing, who are homeless, hungry, and suffering around the world? What would happen if ‘keep things out of landfill’ got hardwired into the Christmas message? Hard to imagine that one. Tis the season to generate a great deal of junk. What about all the animals who are still given as gifts, despite, surely, everyone knowing that this is not a clever time to get a puppy or a kitten?
I’ve sung a lot of Christmas carols down the years – I like community singing and it’s a great way to raise money for good causes. I notice all those messages about peace and goodwill. I don’t remember a single carol about getting drunk, eating too much, trying to be polite about unwanted gifts and throwing far too much in the bin on Boxing day. I remember Good King Wenceslas taking things to peasants, and I remember tidings of comfort and joy, and I keep thinking how far off the mark we are, so often.
If you want to do Christmas, please, please reclaim it as something warm and human and get away from this orgy of commerciality and irresponsibility.
In the meantime, I’m plotting what I’m going to do next year, when I’m not going to be living in the middle nowhere and my scope to be useful should be much improved. And I’m trying not to feel too horribly frustrated about what I’m not able to do this time around.
10 Comments | tags: christmas, commercialism, landfill, rubbish, unsustainable, waste | posted in Green Living