This holiday season will be extra special, but not for everyone.
Friends and families who spent most of the year apart due to COVID-19 will unite over large platters of food and overflowing glasses, seated at tables adorned with Christmas crackers and decorations.
The fortunate among us will revel in the simple joy of leaving our homes and gathering with people other than those who we’ve been trapped at home with for the better half of a year.
There will be presents, plenty of presents. We will give and receive literally billions of dollars’ worth of presents this festive season. From office Kris Kringles, to games of White Elephant with friends, to unwrapping precious gifts from family members on Christmas Day.
Australians spend nearly $20 billion buying gifts each year.
Indeed, the holiday season is a time of peak consumption and consumerism.
And in 2020, with consumer confidence in Australia at a seven-year high, it is forecast that Australia’s Christmas retail sales will grow 2.8% to $54.3 billion. There’s no doubt that Christmas spending will buoy Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
Yet, for the more than 116,000 Australians who are homeless and others who struggle as the JobKeeper payment eases, the holiday period will be an incredibly difficult time.
However, there are choices we can make that will have a positive impact on vulnerable people and families in need, and perhaps help save the environment while we’re at it.
A 2015 study found some of the most common words we use around Christmas include sales, spend, and retailers. Wouldn’t it be better if we could replace those words with kindness, giving and generosity?
At Currie, we see the possible (including the good in people), so here are things we have discussed about how everyone can be kinder and fairer to others this holiday season.
- Support local charities
Donate time or money to organisations such as OzHarvest, SecondBite and Foodbank which help feed people in need and place gifts beneath a giving tree or make a trip to the local Op Shop to donate clothes.
- Buy sustainable gifts
Challenge ourselves to give handmade or secondhand gifts only. If we do buy gifts, try to make them meaningful to avoid them being thrown out come this time next year.
- Reduce waste
Resist the temptation to tear open gift-wrapping paper so we can save the wrapping paper to use again and avoid buying excess food – leftover Christmas turkey is great on Boxing Day, but the novelty (and taste) certainly wears off by New Year’s Day.
These are small steps we can all take towards creating a kinder, fairer future for us all. In doing so, we will make this holiday season more special than it could otherwise have been.