Advent Calendar: 25 ideas of kinship & kindness

Advent Calendar: 25 ideas of kinship & kindness

Christmas might be the silly season but that doesn’t mean you have to celebrate overconsumption. Our Advent Calendar has 25 ways to have a kinder Christmas.

An advent calendar usually means gorging on chocolate in the lead up to Christmas, but here at Pip we reckon this isn’t really in the true spirit of Christmas (though we won’t say no to an itty bitty bit of chocolate! We’re only human…).

We all bemoan the waste of money, plastic, food and just STUFF at Christmas time, but does it have to be this way (we think not! Check out our 8 ways to have a zero waste Christmas here?) Christmas might be the silly season, but that doesn’t mean you have to go to town with a celebration of capitalism. Here are some ideas to be kind to yourself, your family and mother nature with this Advent Calendar.

Pip‘s Kindness Advent Calendar

1. Ditch the plastic tinsel and the electricity guzzling lights

Why not go au natural with a beautiful nature wreath to spread joy and cheer in your neighbourhood this festive season.

We love nature wreaths at any time of year to celebrate the seasons and create a feeling of welcome for passers-by, but at Christmas you can take it up a notch with a living succulent wreath.

You can cross a Christmas tree off your list too and deck the halls with boughs of eucalyptus – bonus points if you’re coppicing it for firewood!

2. Celebrate summer solstice

Christmas most probably grew out of a pagan northern hemisphere winter solstice celebration that reminded those going through a hungry winter that spring was on the way.

Down under we’re right in the middle of summer, which can be a tough time for those of us in areas prone to floods, fires and heatwaves (read: everywhere). Summer solstice comes round on December 21, so take the time to reflect and celebrate Mother Earth, her rhythms and her seasons.

3. Buy local, ethical handmade gifts

Feed an artist, they make the world a more beautiful place.

4. Get in touch with an ethical farmer about your Christmas ham

Or grow your own table bird. It might be a bit late if you don’t have any on the go, but you can always start planning for next year!

5. Contact your local politician about people in need

Christmas is a great time to remind them not to be a scrooge, and that many biblical stories of persecution are alarmingly playing out at the hands of our government right now.

6. If you can’t find a “thing” to give someone on your Christmas list, how about buying them an experience?

Check out the Pip Course Directory for a comprehensive list of wonderful places across Australia to learn wonderful things.

7. Gift yourself a day off

Go for a bushwalk, spend extra time in your garden or doing something else you love. It’s a crazy time of year, take care of yourself.

8. Give stuff away

Good stuff, not garbage, on your local Rough Trade network or Freecycle group. Think about things you have that are really valuable – of course you could sell them on eBay  to make an extra buck, but  you could also let them go free into the world.

9. Reach out to someone who might need a pick me up at this time of year

Christmas can be a pretty daunting day for those going through tough times, so in the lead up, practice being kind to somebody in your community who might need it.

10. Make a Christmas cake (or four)

Is there any better way to preserve delicious fruits? Christmas cakes basically last forever. Having them to hand means you won’t think twice about inviting folks in for a cuppa over the holidays, and won’t have to turn the oven on to bake treats so often either.

advent calendar

11. Get preserving!

Summer is a time of bounty for many fruits and veg, and what better way to spend time with your family than putting them to work over a bubbling Fowler’s Vacola? An added bonus is that you’ll have extra homemade gifts.

12. Write someone a letter

Perhaps you don’t go to visit Grandma as much as you should, or someone in your world has had a particularly tough year. Getting a real-live hand-addressed letter in this digital age is a pretty powerful way to connect and make someone else smile.

13. Say “no” to an end of year event that you just don’t really want to go to that much

Christmas holidays is the time for family and friends, but not the time to overload yourself with social commitments you’d rather not attend.

14. Sing

Whether it’s Christmas carols by candlelight or just a joyous impromptu family concert, singing does wonders for the soul. Think about how you could incorporate some song and dance into your silly season festivities.

15. Give any money you can spare to your favourite earth care charity

Friends of the Earth, Permafund, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance – there are many deserving people working hard to care for our earth on the smell of an oily rag.

August Garden Guides - Mediteranean

16. Share food in public

Join in with a community picnic, food swap, cook in a soup kitchen or hang excess homegrown produce on your fence for passers by. Food sharing connects and transforms communities!

17. Let something go

‘Tis the season to be jolly, so why not let something small that is bothering you go? It could be a task that has been weighing you down or a grudge you have been holding. Give yourself permission to lighten your load, and lighten up!

18. Start thinking about meaningful New Year’s resolutions

Take a look at this little musing we put together a few years back on how you can use permaculture principles to make better New Year’s resolutions!

19. Reflect on kindness

Kindness comes from the word “kin” – when we are being kind we are acting as though everyone is our family. Read and reflect on what kindness means to you and how you can invite more of it into your life.

20. Make peace on earth: Do some peaceful protesting

Peace on earth starts with peaceful protest, and there are many worthy causes in this day and age. Attend a rally if you can, make a point of peacefully resisting something in your everyday life or you can always chain yourself to the Prime Minister’s House (in a totally peaceful way, of course!)

21. Plan your garden

While being “in the moment” might be all the rage, there is much to be said for taking pleasure in planning for the future. While the summer sun scorches your garden, look forward to planning your autumn plantings and cooler weather.

22. Eat something mindfully

Christmas overeating is of course a thing, but there are so many delicious delights to indulge in come December that it’s hardly surprising (figs, cherries, raspberries, peaches, apricots…. mmm….!)

In between indulging have a go at mindfully eating one of these seasonal treasures. Enjoy it slowly, savour and appreciate it fully. Give thanks. It’s a lot of fun.

23. Use a public holiday to repair something you’ve been meaning to fix all year

If you rely on weekends and public holidays to get life admin done, then set aside one of the many you get at this time of year to finish off a DIY repair project. It might be fixing the busted knees of some jeans, or giving your bike a service.

The maths on repairing things is a no-brainer: time + skills = saved $$ and Earth’s resources.

24. Make the effort to listen to someone who doesn’t often get an audience

Whether it’s great uncle Con or a colleague you find difficult, just listening to someone can be a kindness that is incredibly powerful for them. You don’t have to agree with them, but actively listening to someone – especially someone you might not normally talk to – can be interesting and open your eyes to different ways of observing the world.

25. Share the love

Share this Advent Calendar with someone who you think will benefit from it. Have a peaceful end of year.

One Comment

  1. Avatar

    Yes! This year our family is doing an ‘activity’ advent calendar with our 6-year old, with things like ‘put up the Christmas tree’, ‘make a donation to charity’, ‘bake Christmas gingerbread’, ‘sing a Christmas carol’ & ‘give Nana and Poppy a big Christmas hug’. Last year we did a book advent calendar where we read a Christmas/seasonal/special to us book together each night – I blogged about it here: https://onefamilyoneplanetblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/low-waste-low-cost-eco-advent-calendar/

    Dec 2, 2017 Reply

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