Culture Lifestyle: community holidays relationship slow Slow Holidays sustainability values
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I got back to San Diego two nights ago, after journeying to Boulder, Colorado for the Authentic Community Leadership training at the Boulder Integral Center. At the training, one topic that came up in our discussions was how we can create more authentic experiences of relationship and community this holiday season. The next day, as I decompressed from the intense interpersonal engagement of the training by drinking too much pu-erh tea at Dushanbe and Ku Cha and walking down by Boulder Creek, these ideas were swirling around in my head. Out of this creative flux emerged a simple, yet I believe powerful, concept: Slow Holidays. On my way home from Colorado, then, (actually sitting at the Denver airport after drinking a Fat Tire) I wrote a brief manifesto of sorts and created a page for the nascent movement on Facebook. This is what I wrote:
Inspired by the Slow Food and Slow Money movements, Slow Holidays is a campaign to promote local, sustainable economies and nurture happiness and authentic relationship this holiday season. We all have the power to choose where our money goes this winter, as well as how we relate to ourselves and others.
Here are some ways you can benefit your family, your community, your wallet, and the world:
1. Spend less. What matters this season is expressing your love, appreciation, and gratitude for your family and friends. Sometimes, a simple, thoughtful card does that better than a big-screen TV from Best Buy. Consider participating in Buy Nothing Day (formerly known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving) as a way of saying no to mindless consumerism and reminding yourself that you already have what you really need.
2. Buy local. This holiday season, consider investing your hard-earned dollars in your local economy. This promotes wealth and prosperity for your entire community. Consider supporting local farmers, craftspeople, and artists, as well as other locally-owned businesses. Personally, I come from a family of readers, and I love buying books for my friends and family. I buy one book for each person on my list at a local, independent bookstore, and then inscribe each one on the inside cover or across from the title page with a note expressing my appreciation for that person.
If you haven’t already, you might also consider transferring your funds from your “too big to fail” corporate bank to a local credit union. Good credit unions will use your money to support the local economy: Main Street, not Wall Street.
3. Eat sustainable. For all those meals with family and friends, consider buying local, organically-grown produce and free-range animal products. One of the deepest ways to invest in the wealth of your local community is to support local farms that practice sustainable forms of agriculture.
4. Practice gratitude. Actively practicing gratitude is one of the most effective ways to increase your own level of happiness, and your happiness will surely affect those around you, as well. Try writing out a list of ten things you are grateful for. You can even share it with your family and friends to encourage them to try it as well.
5. Share appreciation. All too often, our gratitude, love, and appreciation for the people in our lives remains implicit. Try (either in person or in writing) telling your family and friends how much you value them, and, even more importantly, the specific things about them that you value the most.
If you like these ideas and plan on putting some or all them into action this holiday season, please share this page with the people you know. Together, we can transform this holiday season from an orgy of materialism and consumerism into a genuine celebration of family, community, and the sacred.
If you like these ideas, and if you haven’t already, pay a visit to the Slow Holidays page on Facebook and give the page a ‘like’ and a ‘share.’ And thanks to all my friends and family members who have already shared Slow Holidays with your networks. Let’s make this thing go viral!