Judging by the disappointing response retailers saw to the latest ‘trick’ to part us from our hard earned euros – the largely unsuccessful ‘Black Friday’ –  consumers who have long been aware that Christmas, or should I say the ‘holiday season’ is rarely more than an excuse for consumerism, are finally getting fed up. All this wastage is having a terrible effect on our planet. The temperatures are creeping up and if we don’t get a grip on our behaviour, there will be no more snowmen, anywhere, ever again…

I entirely understand people’s desire to have a jolly, merry Christmas and to get together to make merry, but do they really need to do it surrounded by tons of non-recyclable plastic glitter and trees that cost a small fortune?

While we are on the subject of trees, while I was in the hairdresser’s the other day I heard the owner say that he had spent €250 euros on the tree for the salon (that’s the tree without all the rubbish hanging on it). It was a nice enough tree, but we are in Spain at the end of 2015 where workers are lucky if they take home €1,000 a month. I would have preferred to just spend my time in the salon looking at my iPad and for them to use the money to give the staff a nice holiday bonus.

My attitude is likely to make me a social pariah during the ‘season to be jolly’ but luckily my husband shares my attitude to enforced merriment and we are quite happy to continue with our already extremely good lives in the usual way. You might be thinking I am ‘miserable’ but I don’t feel miserable at all. I feel proud to have taken a cheerful decision to opt out of the consumerism. If I want to see Christmas lights I will go into town and look at the ones hanging in the streets that I have already paid for with my local taxes. I have a drawer full of gift bags that people have used to give me gifts in the past, and I reuse them at every opportunity. I recycle wrapping paper and, if I can possibly get away with it, unwanted gifts. I don’t buy Christmas cards.

We live in a free society, so why don’t we get together as a society and choose to do things differently? Why doesn’t the government call the population to celebrate next Christmas without plastic baubles and tinsel and teach everyone to create an event that will help rather than hurt the planet? Can you imagine how exhilarating that would be both personally and collectively? If only wishes came true…

Juliet Allaway


Written by editor