Yo ho ho. It’s that time of the year again when consumerism is in overdrive, the aircon is cranking, the Tin Lids are blasting, the bank accounts get seriously low and plastic crap is being handed out left, right and centre. Oh deer! Whilst there is controversy about Christmas’ origins (was it a pagan ceremony to mark the winter solstice or was it all about sweet baby Jesus?), it is safe to say that it is traditionally a northern hemisphere winter celebration marked by gift-giving, worshipping a guy in a red suit, and eating heaps. So how do we celebrate this in summery, roasting Australia…and how do we stay sustainable over the holidays and not give in to the hype and shiny baubles?
We don’t have to dig very deep to see how our addiction to spending is hurting the environment, not to mention its people and creatures. Christmas has even been called ‘the world’s greatest annual environmental disaster’. Heavy! Us Aussies are spending 60% more of our income and generating 30% more waste at this time of year. It’s not all tinsel and cookies, is it?? My good mate, Alice, wrote a brilliant article recently about how to have a low-impact Christmas, including crafting your own native Australian wreath and adopting a quoll as a gift! Let it be known, friends, that all I want for Christmas is a quoll!
Here’s some of our suggestions for making your Australian Christmas a bit more cheery and thoughtful:
Gift me a minute
There’s nothing like showing you love someone by hand-making them a personalised gift. It’s actually priceless. At our recent Workshop (Make Your Own Christmas Gifts) on Dec 9th we did just that; we crafted beeswax candles, beeswax wraps, lip balm, body scrub, decorations, natural string, succulent plant terrariums and gift cards embedded with bottlebrush seeds.
Ditch the plastic tree from the shops and decorate a live tree outside, or make it from natural materials. If you want a tree in your house, buy a potted local like a banksia, eucalyptus, lilly pilly, or a wollemi, callitris or norfolk pine. You’ll get the added bonus of a natural indoor air purifier, and if you look after it, it’ll be kicking on for many Christmases to come. Because we live on the coast, we have a driftwood tree.
To decorate your native tree, craft up some native plant seed pods and gumnuts with natural string. You can use banksia cones, pine cones and eucalypt gumnuts to hang. If you want to get all fancy, you can colour them with posca pens or spray paint. Choose decorations made of timber, glass, cardboard or paper.
All I want for Christmas is ewe
I mean, you. Yes, you + me = quality time. Beats anything material. Give a friend or family member a day of your time over the holidays and make some sweet memories together. Preferably in nature… duh.
Don’t be shellfish – be charitable
This time of year can be extremely triggering for some, and sometimes just downright depressing. A little bit of kindness can go a long way. Spread that sh*t everywhere, like hommous. Don’t just reserve that kindness for humans either – put out sweet snacks and water for starving wildlife, donate to conservation organisations, volunteer at a wildlife hospital. Give, give, give!
I’ll dish it out for you
A heck of a lot of turkeys and fish are killed around this time of year and shipped all over the planet, supporting the animal agriculture industry, biodiversity loss and increased fossil fuel emissions. Instead, why don’t you research alternatives to your favourite holiday foods? Keep it seasonal, fresh and native! For example, as we are in summer in the southern hemisphere, we could focus our meals and drinks around mangoes, lychees, pineapple, cherries, davidson plums, macadamias, avocado, tomato, chilli, mint, salads, other local produce, and gingerbread biscuits made with roasted wattleseed! Don’t forget locally produced alcohol and support our Aussie distilleries, breweries and wineries!
I posted this picture of my vegan, gluten free wattleseed gingerbread biscuits earlier in the week and a lot of people wanted the recipe…. so here it is.
Wild’s Festive Wattleseed ‘gingerbread’ biscuits
1 tsp chia seeds + 1 Tbsp water = chia egg
1/2 C organic coconut sugar
1/4 C macadamia butter (or make your own by processing whole macadamias til creamy)
3 Tbsp local honey (or vegan alternative, molasses)
1/4 C coconut oil
1/2 tsp each of ginger and cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, cardamon, vanilla and sea salt
1 tsp roasted ground wattleseed
1 1/4 C gluten free flour (rice, corn, buckwheat, tapioca combo)
1/2 tsp baking soda
Methods: Mix all ingredients together well with a wooden spoon or in a processer until it resembles a dough. If it’s too crumbly, add more coconut oil. Too soft, add more flour. Roll into a dough ball and place in the fridge for about 1 hour. Roll out on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin and cut into desired shapes. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly brown on the edges, in a 180 deg c preheated oven.
Stay wild and merry always,
*Feature photo by Perlin Earth Photography