Jingle bells, loving songs, Christmas cookies, decorated trees, presents, gatherings at houses, laughing (and fighting… because that is also an integral part of Christmas celebrations…) everything is part of the Christmas holiday puzzle for all the lucky people. This period of the year is usually very emotionally but also financially charged, being the period all shopping malls are waiting for. This is probably linked to our modern-times habit  of expressing our feelings while shopping, whether it is presents (for ourselves and others), food or decorations. However, one of the most precious things that cannot be bought is time! It is limited, therefore dedicating it to someone or something shows also how much we value this someone or something. Under these lenses, we introduce you to 3 ideas for a merry Christmas, based on our personal experiences and beliefs. We aim to inspire you, to motivate you and also to warm your heart. If you choose to celebrate Christmas in the way we describe, be sure that you will get a warmer heart, you will be friendlier to the environment and less financially burdened!

Decorating our home is one of the best opportunities to spend time with the people we choose but also to do something creative. In the fortunate case that children are also around, this is one of the most amusing activities. The whole process evolves to a tradition, a habit that bonds us with the ones we share it.

The Christmas tree is a fundamental decoration element.
If you prefer the fake ones, pick one with rich branches and leaves so that it lasts in time and keeps being beautiful (the goal is to have it for minimum 15 to 20 years in order to reach a break even for its production cost). The ritual here has to do with unpacking. To take it out of the storage room, to set it straight so that it doesn’t lean, to “open” its leaves so that it looks similar from every side and laugh with this one side that always looks wrong.
If you prefer the real trees, the ritual has to do with seeking the right one: to be detectives and spot the stamp that proves it is sustainably grown, to shake the branches to make sure not a lot of leaves fall down and therefore our future tree is fresh, and finally to decide how to bring this “thing” home.
Decorating our tree and our home is also a celebration of creativity. However, it can happen that we are a bit bored and in this case we use what we already have. If we are not bored though, every year we make a few decoration pieces on our own. Internet offers plenty of ideas (keep an eye on our facebook page for our favorite ones). We may also buy something. But it’s always something small or something unique that we choose carefully, so that every year our tree carries more emotional rather than market value.
Our lights are plugged in electricity rather than working on batteries and they are LED so that we are sure they will last. Identifying the ones working and trying to replace them or hide them among the rest of the decoration is always an adventure in itself. Especially if you get hit by electricity (it has happened), so be careful, because especially that part is not so fun.
Finally, as far as the candles is concerned they are super nice for creating a warm atmosphere but we avoid the one made by paraffin. Other that the fact that it is a byproduct of petroleum, these candles also smoke a lot. Therefore we either use the ones made our of beewax or soya, or we skip this element completely.

Our principle here is to offer presents which last and are either useful or usable. The good thing with them is that they will not be buried somewhere and additionally every time their recipient will use them or wear them, (s)he will remember us. Moreover, when the time comes and (s)he gets a bit bored of our gifts (let’s be honest here, it can happen to everyone…), their durability allows for a chance to a second life, with someone else instead of ending up in the trash.
We also make sure to offer the presents within a paper bag instead of a wrapping paper so that there is a chance that the bag can be re-used or recycled. If this is not possible, we try to wrap our presents in brown or recycled paper, recycled foil or newspaper, and using string or raffia to tie it up.
One more habit within our friends is the group presents. We usually join powers and budgets to buy something more valuable, rather than having many little presents as a result of each one of us buying something on their own. One personal preference is the presents-experiences. These are always gifts that people wouldn’t easily do or organize on their own, so when they are being offered to them, these experiences are always memorable and special.
Food plays a key role in almost all celebrations, but especially during Christmas it is among the protagonists and not only on the day itself but during the whole period around it. It is sure that someone will organize a lunch or a dinner, or that will bake and share cookies or other Christmas specialties. Anyway, either at work or at someone’s home, food and sweets will always be present during the Christmas period.
So, we make sure to follow a couple of simple rules: before organizing a dinner in our place, we defrost the freezer (planning it in advance and eating most of what was into it in the days prior to the event). This helps in making space for saving all the leftovers from our dinner but also contributes to the freezer’s improved efficiency. We do not feed the trash bin, we only feed ourselves! And for any excessive quantities we make sure we align with organizations who can take care of sharing or selling the extra food with people who need it instead of throwing it away (examples of this kind: cookisto or thuisafgehaald).
Moreover, we prefer to cook recipes with seasonal ingredients (stay tuned on the habits eating session for a couple of them) and since in this occasion we anticipate we’ll have a lot of organic waste, we make sure to compost it or to bury it in the yard or our pottery pots.

This is our way of celebrating Christmas. Our suggestion to you in a few words is: “Spend less money and more time” and rest assured that simple habits like the ones described above will make every year’s Christmas magic!
As we said at the beginning of this article: Time is precious. Since the Christmas days are for many of us days off from our work, we invite you to spend some quality time with the people you care about and to enjoy with them any moment of this festivity with simplicity and love.

Merry Christmas!


Dora Kallipolitou
Find out more about the Habits team here

Last content update:

13 December 2017