About ten days ago I revisited Operation Noah's site to find out more about their Reclaim Christmas campaign. Here's a summary:
Advent was traditionally a period of penitence and quiet anticipation. But now it seems no more than four weeks of frenzied consumption in which stress, needless debt and damage to God’s creation have become its defining hallmarks. Did you know:
- 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be thrown away this Christmas?
- 333,333 trees will be used for Christmas cards?
Countless unwanted “gifts” will end up, at best in the charity shops and at worst, in the landfill.
If Jesus returned in December 2008, what would he make of us doing all of this in His name?
So, instead of shopping, we want you to come together to celebrate and anticipate the birth of Christ together, in community, reducing your consumption footprint over the Advent period, the time famed for its excessive rate of consumption and to build friendships whilst doing so.
We say no to singing Santa mugs, golf ball washers and umbrella hats that will be discarded by the 12th day of Christmas, and yes to living simply, together, over the Advent period.
They've got some great posters, a couple of which I printed out for church. They also suggest encouraging people to make things for themselves instead of all the buying. As it happened we'd already planned just such an event for Oasis the following Wednesday - we encouraged the cafe mums and toddlers to join us to make Christmas cards and decorations and to decorate biscuits. It was a somewhat chaotic affair with hundreds and thousands almost decorating the cards, a good deal of glitter and a surprising number of aliens on the kids' cards, but I think we all came away surprised by, and proud of, the works of art we'd made as well as having a good social time. There was some coming and going but about 20 adults present in total and four children.
This past week at Oasis there was more creativity, many of us just wrapping and packing the Christmas hamper boxes but also lots of home made mince pies being prepared ready for this Sunday's carol service. (Naturally we checked that these were up to standard before the morning was out).