Every Christmas Season I like to think about handmaking gifts, partly because I’m crafty but also because I want to support mindfulness and resourcefulness during the season, and to invest in an alternative to the big-is-always-better modern economy.
I was intrigued, then, to read about a group of people in a seasonal issue of Sunset magazine who approach the holidays with a little bit of a different viewpoint.
The article, titled “The Sustainable Holiday” by Allison Arieff (I’d include the link but I can’t find it anywhere!), focuses on a group of ten friends that started something called the Compact, an idea which has since spread around the world. What is this Compact, you ask? Well, the article explains that it is a vow taken to avoid buying anything new except for food, medicine and toiletries. And the inspiration to embark on something so radical? The holidays, and all the waste we go through this time of year.
Now, I had heard about the Compact prior to reading this article, mainly from an NPR segment that I caught snippets of on a family that was following it for a year. Their reasons, I believe, were partly philosophical, and partly financial (they saved a lot of money, as you can imagine). The reason for the group featured in the article was primarily a concern for the environment and resource-use. Obviously it is not a mainstream practice!
The article goes on to list a few others who have caught onto the idea, and applied it to their lives, or modified it a bit (like the suggestion to cap holiday spending at $100) according to their convictions, means, etc.
I highlight it as an example (albiet an extreme one) of an alternative approach to the holidays. I think that I’m attracted to this Compact because there is something appealing to me about repurposing things we own, creating gifts from hand, and toning down in general the consumer madness that is the holidays! It is refreshing to me to think about including some of these ideas this season and in those to come.
I’d love to know what you think about the Compact, and the holidays in general. Feel free to write below!
==> read more Thought.Full Christmas posts