“It is time to re-imagine how life is organized on Earth. We’re accelerating into a future shaped less by countries than by connectivity. Mankind has a new maxim – Connectivity is destiny – and the most connected powers, and people, will win.”
— Parag Khanna
'Tis the season for celebrations. The season for connecting with family and friends. Does that mean we should drink more, eat more, shop more, ship more, and have more fun? Two years of pandemic living means w’re ready for a break from restrictions and isolation. In our isolation we’ve had two years to re-imagine what’s important and how we want to live. This season gives us the opportunity for redressing how we connect and express our love.
A Simple Holiday
We created our own version of the holiday season when my children were young. Every evening in December, we paused, read a seasonal story while the children opened a tiny gift from an advent calendar. Young children live in the moment, and can appreciate the simplest things. Societal traditions soon take them out of that coveted state and open up their awareness of “wishing” and “getting”. For a believer-child the North Pole provides. The adults fall into the hole of Black-Friday-shopping and make imaginations come true.
My children became consumer-aware. Even though we tried to stem the tide of “stuff” coming into our home, the expressions of love from friends and relatives created a pile of gifts under the tree that surprised as every year. The old-fashioned, cozy, one-day holiday celebration with minimal gifts was a thing for sentimental movies we watched amidst piles of newly-acquired toys, clothes, electronics and candy.
From Digital world to Consumption
My children came of age in the digital age. Born and living in the country, they lived without electricity, computers and TV screens in their junior years. We postponed their participation in that digital world as long as we could without harming their educational progress and social life. In the eighties, we moved to a small town. Once there, we lost the battle against screen-time and digital immersion.
I’ve brought one genX-er and two millennials into a world stifled by consumption. They must make the best of it. And they do, at least for the holidays. They limit screen time for their children; they ask to keep gift giving small. Sending gifts back and forth across the country doesn’t make ecological sense for us any longer. Over-consumption and the resulting climate change, forces us to turn to an oldfashioned seasonal celebration. We put up a few lights and decorations to cheer up the gloomy, dark days of winter. We bake traditional specialty foods to enjoy with a small circle of friends or family.
I use the holiday time for reflection on another year passing. At this time I count my blessings. My blessings are gifts that keep on giving. I have a loving family and circle of friends I can turn to in time of need. I live near the natural world which gives me magical surprises in my garden and on my hiking adventures. I enjoy good health, which allows me to live with joy. And yes, I must admit, one blessing is I have access to entertainment at the flick of a finger.
For some people losses because of Covid and climate have created big changes. The holiday season isn’t a balm on the wound when you’ve lost a parent or a child; when your house burned down, or the water swept away your possessions. Rather, the season becomes a smarting wound.
Gifts that Keep on Giving
The best gift we can give each other in trying times is the gift of hope. Hope that comes from action. Action that warms a heart, that reduces our carbon footprint, that helps someone get over their fear of vaccination. We must shrink our economy if we want the world to survive. We must do with less stuff. We must drive less, fly less, move less stuff across the world until we’ve instated a non-polluting system. Vote with your dollars, create a connective world around you. Give gifts that keep on giving and inspiring others and spend time with those who need your loving attention. Happy Holidays.
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