Live Simply Campaign December
Have Yourself a Simple Christmas
Christmas is a time of anticipation, celebration, traditions, decorations, family and friends coming together to share food and gifts with love and good will. We do all of this to celebrate the birth of Jesus, a gift from God, to the world, of love and eternal life.
Getting together with family and friends and the razzmatazz of food, parties and presents is truly wonderful, however many of us will be thinking of the impact of all this on the planet and climate change and are choosing to have a simple Christmas. Others will be feeling the pinch because of the cost of living crisis and will also be planning a simpler Christmas this year. A simple Christmas doesn’t have to be a mean and miserable Christmas, with some thought and planning it could be less stressful, less expensive and you may even enjoy it more!
Advent is a beautiful season of prayer and anticipation; it is also a great time for reflection. The first step to a simple, joyful Christmas is taking some time to reflect on what brings you the most joy and you want to hold on to, it might be spending time with family and friends, sharing food, sharing gifts, playing games or even watching the Christmas programmes on telly. The next step is to reflect on what causes you the most stress or what you don’t enjoy, it could be smaller things like getting the cooking done. Or much larger issues like over spending, over eating, family dynamics or conflicts. Once you’ve done this you’ll be able to take steps to intentionally reduce or eliminate and let go of the things about Christmas that don’t bring you joy and intentionally keep the things that do bring you joy and do those things better, in a more simple way.
Make Christmas less about stuff so buy less – we all have too much stuff. Some people may be relieved not to receive a gift as it can create an obligation on the receiver to give back a present of equal value. Think carefully about the gifts you send and send them with love. Enjoy the gifts that you receive and ponder on the thought and love that went into them.
Intentionally choose to eat less and drink less, really enjoy your food, eat more slowly, drink more slowly, savour and really taste every mouthful. Bonus:- your stomach won’t ache and your head won’t hurt and you won’t get fat!
Sharing time with family and friends is what makes Christmas special but two years ago during the pandemic, Boris made his fateful announcement at very short notice and Christmas was cut to one day with fewer people. We hadn’t much time to plan so we quickly slimmed down the guest list for Christmas Day. We met people outdoors over the rest of the holiday, we walked, talked and picnicked outdoors in the cold, and we survived and even enjoyed it in a different way! As a result some people have even completely changed the way they ‘do’ Christmas and will never go back.
Lastly keep an attitude of gratitude. There is a saying that ‘’It’s not happiness that makes you grateful, it’s being grateful that brings happiness.’’
Live in Solidarity with the Poor
Pray that governments will follow through on the decisions made at COP27 and that those governments who didn’t attend will also abide by the decisions.
A summary of the major decisions made at COP27:-
Loss and Damage Fund
Create the Loss and Damage fund that was agreed at the conference to rescue and rebuild the physical and social infrastructure of countries devastated by extreme weather, and crucially provide finance for the fund
Strengthen the commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions to stay within the 1.5C
Provide a boost to “low-emissions energy’’ e.g. wind and solar farms, nuclear reactors, and coal-fired power stations fitted with carbon capture and storage. Note It could also be interpreted to mean gas, which has lower emissions than coal, however gas still a major fossil fuel and should not be included.
Phase down the use of coal
World Bank reform
Call for urgent changes to the World Bank and other publicly funded finance institutions, to provide the funding needed to help poor countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis.
Building flood defences, preserving wetlands, restoring mangrove swamps and regrowing forests to help countries to become more resilient to the impacts of climate breakdown.
Live Sustainably with Creation
You are invited to make a pledge this Christmas that will make a difference to the planet, or climate change. Write your pledge on one of the pledge cards, these will be taken up at the offertory and hung on a Christmas tree in church
You can make any pledge that you want but here are some ideas to get you started:-
· Have a simpler Christmas.
· On Christmas Day, have a smaller amount of meat and an extra vegetable cooked in a special way.
· Cut down on unnecessary Christmas gifts.
· Drive economically; keep speed down, drive gently.
· Turn the heating down or have it on for less time News -The parish has made a pledge to manage the times when the heating comes on and off in church to save energy and cut carbon emissions.
· Insulate lofts, stop draughts. News -The parish has made a pledge to upgrade the loft insulation in the presbytery.
· Change to LED light bulbs. News - The parish has made a pledge to change to LED light bulbs on a rolling programme.
· Reduce food waste.
· Reduce plastic waste
· Recycle unwanted stuff, reuse the stuff you already have, have stuff repaired
· Change to recycled paper eg. Toilet paper, kitchen roll, printer paper etc.
· Grow some of your own fruit or vegetables.
· Plant a tree or grow insect friendly plants in your garden News – Some insect friendly plants are being planted in the church garden.
· Use less pesticide.
· Change to environmentally friendly cleaning products. News – Last year the parish made a pledge to only use environmentally friendly cleaning products in church.
· Save water – News Water saving devices will be put in the church toilets as they are not dual flush (available free from Yorkshire Water)
· Spend less time in the shower.