OzIdeas 1999 Alternativs

Alternativ Christmas

Ideas for

My dream Yuletide

Now is the time when we can design our Dream Christmas, our Dream Elections, our Dream Holiday, in time for our

Next Chance

Think Early for Christmas!

Less than 365 Dreaming Days to go



ALTERNATIV IDEAS to make Christmas real for you.


For all you spend to give good things to your family and friends, give an equal amount to help the rest of the world.

For example: A $199 video-game for your kid = giving also $199 to a charity, a cause, to give a better Christmas to poor people you know, or do not know, towards giving the chance of better 1999 to those who need a start.

For some people, this may mean less money to give gifts you buy for family and friends. But some rich people might not even feel the extra giving, and what they gave to others to match what they gave to their own kin
would be a significant drop in the almost empty bucket of the world's needs.

These 'quids for quos' could be made into a ritual. Charities and causes can provide gift cards that could be given with the gift to friend or rellie. "This gift to you has been doubled by an equal gift in your name to . . . . ."

(If the receipt is in your giftee's name, they can get any tax-deduction.)

Some people have so much or need so little that they prefer all the gifts given to them to be a gift to the world, and it is already common for worthy causes to supply gift cards showing that "A gift has been made in your name towards . . " maintaining a school/providing medicine/building a/ training a/purifying water at . . ." etc. These cards could be made very attractive.


Many retailers rely on Christmas for survival.

But it is an horrendous thought, though, to look at a shopping centre with all its goods to sell, and reflect that in three months time, 50% of the goods on display may be landfill or other waste-disposal problems.

How then, can there be jobs and businesses if people do not buy products that are single-use, obsolescing, undurable? (See 'Alternative Jobs' for some recommendations. Our society need not be built on absurdities.)

SOLUTIONS. EXPERIMENT! with family pre-Christmas 'Santa Claus' listings for adults as well as children,
with multiple-choices which include 'Surprise'. 'Santa Claus' listings can be part of the whole Christmas ritual,
Santa Claus listing be included as a page in diaries, together with Christmas-card lists.

Some people like surprises for Christmas presents -
Others sigh because they are given things they do not want,
and don't receive things they would like or need but can't/don't buy for themselves.
Experiment - to please everybody, and make life easier for Present-Givers too.

Waste - The Waste at Christmas

is in presents that people do not want or have no room for,
and in the Decorations that get thrown out,
and the Cards that get thrown out.

Some Ideas to prevent this "Christmas = Waste"

1. 'Family heirloom Christmas Decorations

that are kept in a (non-flammable) container from year to year, up in the roof if nowhere else. When a household moves and cannot take their Family Heirloom Christmas decorations with them, they can leave the box in the roof marked as 'Household Heirloom Christmas Decorations' for the incomers, or donate to an opshop.

Then only the tatty pieces need get thrown out each year.

2. Christmas Cards

are a big source of income for charities. But there is Waste in throwing them out at the end of each Christmas time. There are many alternatives -

  • Save your favorite cards each year, and put them up again next year.
    I save mine in plastic envelopes (saved from incoming postal articles) according to topic - Australian/ decorations/ art reproduction /funny/ birds etc. and often find they come in useful during the year.
    Some cards are saved to make next year's gift tags. Each pre-Christmas time is also a time to remember old friends as their cards are taken out again, many now making a series received over the years.
  • 'This is a recyclable card' Send out your really good new Christmas cards unmarked, with a filler note of greetings and a message 'This is a recyclable card' so that recipients can send on its loveliness to others.
  • Child's play. Cut off the names page and find preschools or other places where children can play with them, and cut up and use in many ways.
3. Wrapping paper

It is possible to steam-iron and re-use much gift-wrap, but the whole practice of wrapping paper at present
is wasteful of trees, money and products. You could spend more on the gift itself without spending on the wrapping. Many people hate the chore of wrapping presents.

Yet it is exciting and great fun to receive a gift all wrapped up - it seems more of a present than something handed to you penny plain.

Some suggestions: -

  • The Japanese give gifts wrapped in pretty scarfs, which can be used as scarfs or kept to wrap up more presents.
  • The Japanese also make gift boxes and wraps out of many materials that would otherwise be wasted - such as papier-mache or weaving them out of rushes.
  • Little baskets and wicker plates can also be re-used, but it can be a problem storing them to the next gift-time, even for op-shops.
  • Easier to store in a flat box or drawer are the little decorated plastic bags that many small items are now put into when bought.
  • These can be decorated, and tied with ribbon - and re-used again.
  • Some make funny-bags when matched with the presents inside.

Make it part of the household ritual of gift-giving and receiving to open each present with care and slow-mounting excitement, instead of just ripping off the paper without even noticing it and scattering it and then on to wanting the next present. Children can learn how to look at the gift-wrap, as part of the present,
and then open it with care - and put the wrapping aside gently, so that it can be RE-USED AGAIN FOR MORE PRESENTS NEXT TIME!


Everything about Christmas should be happy and fun, from the preparation (not left to one sole woman but the household joining in) to the clearing up.

It is partly the spirit that ensures this - but there is some 'fun' that spoils fun. You can have a Christmas party with all your senses intact, dropping the stupid inhibitions, while keeping the sane ones.

People who have other sources of fun than alcohol or drugs can have more hilarious times than people who binge on destructive oral intakes.

It would be good to revive informal singing by everyone. And boo to the Scrooges who say it would be awful.


The spirit of great religions and non-religions is humane and people-loving,
with enjoyment of all creation
rather than its destruction.

Christmas is a time to revive this spirit
and to revive your own spirit,
renewing your
own religion and non-religion.

But what about the supernatural?

It is amazing that every year people debate about whether to tell their children lies. Surely they should always tell them the truth, at the level their children can understand. (There are things that children should not be exposed to all, but this is not the case about Christmas.)

What do you say to children when they ask you about Father Christmas?

You neither lie, nor spoil their happy innocence. You tell them that Father Christmas is a Beaut Pretend,
for them to join in. If they dont want the pretend they neednt.

But they will all say, "Yes, we want the Pretend" and join in,
because children love Pretends,
and play many of them themselves -
and they like getting presents too.

Does Father Christmas come to take the little gift left for him?
"We pretend he does."

How does he come down the chimney - when there probably isnt one anyway?
We pretend he does
and we make up stories about the reindeer and all that."

"Who is Father Christmas?"
You can tell them the first story about St Nicholas and go on from there.

Father Christmas is the spirit of giving.

When you tell children the truth about Santa Claus,
that means they can trust you when you tell them the truth about other things.
And when it comes to the Christmas story itself, you can tell them truly what you think,
and what you think it means,
and what you believe and what you do not know
and what you hope,
and they will not be muddled up.

Christmas all the year

Our family are Yules, so we have Christmas all the year.

Even if your name is not Yule,
we hope you have Christmas in your hearts all the year -
an evergreen that will flower again next Christmas.

The first Web-Page for OzIdeas is at http://www.avoca.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas