Monday, November 21, 2011

Ripples of Christmassy Kindness with Amy McRae

Guest Post by Amy McRae for the Kind Kindred series.

Ripples of Christmassy Kindness

Blame it on the Muppets or the way I’m wired: I’m a sucker for feel good Christmas songs and movies -- an idealist at heart. The faintest whisper of Christmas approaching gets me all “Let’s just love each other and change the world!”

Then I remember the sheer volume and senselessness of waste that we see during the holidays. Or our belief that Christmas isn’t Christmas unless it’s accompanied by anxiety and stress. It all feels wrong and unkind, and kinda puts a damper on my enthusiasm.

This was back when I thought that the only eco-friendly things one could do at Christmas were making CD ornaments and switching to L.E.D. lights. (A tad uninspiring, to say the least.)

I barely remember now how it happened, but a couple years ago as I thought about the importance of being kinder to the planet, I stumbled upon a tutorial for making gift bows (the most gorgeous ones I’d ever seen, might I add) out of magazine pages. Initially, I thought, “How great for the environment! Saving old magazines and also limiting the need for manufacturing, packaging, and transporting (far less attractive) storebought bows!” Win for niftier wrapping, win for the environment. They quickly became addicting to make -- that was a win for quenching my creative thirst. Then, I realized I was saving money too -- win for my wallet, no matter how small. And it wasn’t about being cheap -- every dollar I spent or didn’t spend was creating the better world I envisioned rather than going into a big black hole.

Suddenly, I was thinking of all sorts of easy opportunities to change the way we did Christmas, and they all created the same sort of domino effect of kindness and wins! I couldn’t remember (and still can’t remember) a time when I’d been more thrilled and inspired. Through a single kind intention, I’d found that loving, joyful Christmas I’d always longed for, free of that familiar feeling of powerlessness. As if that weren't good enough, my perma-smile was certainly another major win for everyone around me.

So, as it turns out, that nagging feeling of dread we get when Christmastime rolls around isn’t a curse -- it’s our cue to get honest with ourselves. It’s life, whispering to us that there’s a better way. Somewhere in the resistance, there’s an opportunity for kindness.

I’ve gathered 47 pages’ worth of “better ways.” But I want to know from you, too: How can you create more kindness this Christmahanukkwanzaayule? How would that kindness ripple out?

Wishing you a win-ful, inspiring (winspiring?) Christmas!

Amy McRae recently re-launched Joy to the Earth, an eGuide written to help you design Christmas in a way that sits right with your soul. It includes access to a friendly, supportive, and very resourceful Facebook community, and until November 30, $1 from each copy is donated to The ChariTREE Foundation (another win!). She loves Twitter and Pinterest, so you’ll find her there!
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Cindy said...

I recently found your blog and I truly enjoy it.  You are a kind and gentle soul, I can tell by the way you write.  On another note, last Christmas I started making the bows you mentioned.  It is fun to go through my magazines and find colors and patterns to use as bows, plus it makes me feel good to be green!

Tinybikebell said...

I love love LOVE the *idea* of this eBook and am really interested in owning a copy - but $23 is kind of a lot for me and it's a bit of a risk - any chance you'll post a preview page or two? Even a few more "rave reviews" would be helpful. Thanks! :)

Amy McRae said...

Thanks so much, Cindy! I'm itching to start making more bows for this year, but need to decide on gifts first, so I can figure out wrapping and colour-coordinate. ha!

Amy McRae said...

Thanks Tinybikebell! I've just asked the Facebook group what feedback they have to add, and I'll post it to the website as soon as they share. :) I've attached a screenshot of the Contents page here (I hope it doesn't shrink the image -- otherwise, I'll add it to the website too.) And of course if you totally don't get anything out of the eGuide, I will happily refund you. Let me know if you still have questions -- I definitely don't want it to feel like a gamble!

Amy McRae said...

I should also add: there are close to as many ideas in the eGuide for thriftiness/resourcefulness as there are for eco-friendliness, and they often go hand in hand. Which I love! :)

Nicole H said...

check out advent

Amy McRae said...

Yes! Unwanted gift or meaningless tradition vs. clean water or doing good in some way... Definitely worth rethinking the way we do Christmas! Another win in that scenario: it doesn't use up the resources needed to create those unwanted gifts in the first place. :)

Sherry Belul said...

Hi Amy! I love this post and am grateful for kindred spirits who want to experience the holidays in a different way — one this is less stressful and less wasteful! I'm encouraging everyone I know to create at least one gift for loved ones that doesn't cost money, but that nurtures connection. It could be anything from offering an "adventure day" in which you surprise someone with experiences tailored just to them or a family recipe book or handmade gift certificates good for babysitting, car washing, computer help, etc.

Amy McRae said...

Hi Sherry! It makes me so happy to read this!! Wonderful ideas!

G. said...

This workbook will take me (and you) from one Christmas to the next with
ease from now on. Using the worksheets, I've already started taking
note of how I plan to make things easier for myself next year. So, the
investment made this year will last for many a year! Further, there
have been several eye-opening discussions in the group already,
including like-minded sharing of resources and crafts. I highly
recommend this workbook!

Amy McRae said...

Thanks so much for sharing, G! :)

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