Compassionate Christmas

Dezember 03, 2018

Compassionate Christmas

"This year we’re not going to have Christmas presents! We just swap useless things back and forth."

This is a statement I’ve heard many times. And I’ve said it myself.

Sometimes the Christmas gift exchange can seem pointless.

So maybe you consider skipping the presents altogether in order to keep from buying all those unnecessary things.

But Christmas without giving – is that a Christmas?

A present-free Christmas actually sounds very dry and dull.

Who wants to miss out on the happy - even if pretended - face our brother-in-law (don’t have one, but anyway) makes when unwrapping our gift, even if the gift was purchased at the last minute and not a good fit?

We don’t want to forgo the rush that shoots through our body when we give something to someone and await their reaction with excitement.

"Is she going to like it? I don’t remember what I bought to her, but I hope she’ll be happy about it…."

Yay – she does!

Giving presents is often more satisfying than receiving them.



Keep the feeling


One easy way to enjoy Christmas giving this year is to choose to be a compassionate shopper.

We can shop secondhand, buy less, go vegetarian, go vegan or all of the above.

It may be difficult to know whether products are 100% cruelty-free, and we don’t know all the options that exist, but a wonderful place to start is by choosing animal-free products.

By choosing animal-free products as you do your daily shopping (food, clothes, hygiene- and household products) AND your Christmas shopping, you’ll help reduce the suffering of animals in factory farms and labs.

The satisfaction you get out of that one small choice is tremendous.

You can also make something extra delicious to eat - animal-friendly - surprise your family and have them drooling at the table.

Or if you’re a handyman, unlike me, you can create something fun or useful, doesn’t have to be big or complicated. Like a special Christmas ornament or a calendar out of photos - my mum has done this for years and we love getting it - or something else that shows off your special talent for handicrafts.

You could offer to help clean out the basement or declutter those filled to the brim cupboards and wardrobes. If you do this, just make sure that the person you’re helping is there with you. Decluttering is such a personal thing and they have to be present to make the decisions about what to keep. You could also give the gift of housecleaning in which their presence is not necessary. 

I love helping my parents with this. Admittedly, it can be a bit of a struggle, but they are so happy afterwards. My mum says she feels free and lighter!

You could give the gift of babysitting or pet-sitting for animals. Maybe your cousin and her husband didn’t have an evening out on their own since, stone age. Let them go and have a full evening for themselves so they can swing their hips until dawn and probably will be done with that for another half a year.

Another idea for a compassionate Christmas gift is sponsoring an animal or becoming a godparent. Switzerland has many Animal Sanctuaries where they take care of animals who have been saved from traumatic situations and are now safe from being slaughtered and can live out their days in peace, free of fear and constant anxiety.

To become a sponsor, you pay a certain amount to the farm for a year or longer. They will send a card and a photo of that particular animal and you can also visit him or her with your children!



Make that compassionate list


I like having Christmas presents. I do love the exchange of gifts, and I have a sneaky feeling you do too. But I think the presents should be chosen with thoughtfulness, not just purchased for the sake of it.

It’s fun and enjoyable to laugh together, the more, the merrier.

You don’t have to have a Christmas without presents!

But maybe this Christmas would be a good time to change some of your holiday gift traditions.

Spend some time thinking creatively about how to complete your Christmas list this year!

What we decide to buy matters. How we spend our money and time is one of the ways we influence the world for the better.

… At Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year too!

Wishing you a warm and happy holiday season!

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