A Jolly Barefoot Festive Season

Natalie Simmons
December 21, 2022

Well, it’s that time of year again - the festive season. And I say the festive season because we all know it’s not just Christmas. Between now and the end of January there are important cultural events around the world for Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Wiccans, Baha’i, African Americans… the list goes on. In Sydney, Australia the streets are lined with the trimmings of Christmas, people are out shopping, socialising, holidaying and preparing for December 25. It's an amazing time of year. Every year the discourse begins anew about what the true spirit of Christmas is.

This year it does seem that in the midst of the cooking, eating, drinking, shopping, wrapping, traveling, gifting, and receiving, there are more of us thinking about all the consuming we’re doing and what that means. It’s incredible to see more people, businesses, and even governments, embracing this reflection. And after over 2 years of global pandemic, fires, floods, war, famine, protests, economic uncertainty, and the rising cost of living, we’re much more predisposed to turning our minds to things like our environmental impact and those less fortunate than us.

During the season of giving, there’s more and more discourse about the cost of all that giving. This is a good thing. But where do you start? And importantly, how far do you take it?

The media is ablaze with topics, tips, and trip-ups. Which is better for the environment: real, fake or hired tree? Do you buy new or upcycled second hand presents? Should you iron wrapping paper for a second go-around? Do you get the kid who has everything a chicken for a developing village? Should you deposit food in the collection points outside your local supermarket or send a hamper to those in need? Do you offset your flights, catch a train, or stay home? Should you shop locally? Do you avoid fast fashion with one quality option over 10 cheap ones? On and on it goes.

And as many people are dealing with cost of living pressures, how does that work? For businesses large, medium and small, corporate gifting is an area of interest. How far have those 400 bamboo notebooks had to travel? Are they fair trade? Do your people need another water bottle, nylon cap, usb stick or coffee cup? You get the picture.

In an ideal world, we’d be doing as many of these as we can, but it can be overwhelming. I think the solution is quite simple. There’s no need to end up like a fainting goat, paraslysed and unable to uncoil ourselves from the ESG knots we’ve twisted ourselves into. To be mindful, to make this holiday season more sustainable, all you have to do is ask yourself “How can I make this season better?” and then do at least one thing. One thing can make a big difference.

Bringing a sense of Purpose to your household or business will mean that you’re one step closer to having a more Barefoot festive season.

Remember, be the butterfly. Your contribution to the momentum of sustainability matters. From all of us at Barefoot Citizens Consulting, have a wonderful festive season.