• Hayley Lara

Is 2020 the year of the upside down Christmas tree?

What’s your favourite Christmas 'tradition'?


In every household, Worldwide, Christmas traditions vary.

Apparently, in Japan, KFC is a popular Christmas meal!

In Caracas, Venezuela, people take to the streets on roller skates, Christmas morning and skate in mass to church. But perhaps, the most bizarre Christmas tradition of all, takes place in Catalonia, Spain, where they carry out the tradition of caga tió or 'defecating log'.


This involves locals creating a character out of a log, drawing a face on it and giving it a hat. Then they spend a fortnight 'feeding' it fruit, nuts and sweets then on Christmas Eve, the entire family beats the log with sticks and sings a traditional song that translates to 'if you don't poop well, I'll beat you with a stick'. Just a bit weird, is it not?


This year even saw the introduction of the upside down Christmas tree pictured above! Is this a new tradition that we all need to get on board with? What are your thoughts?

Are your Christmas 'traditions' this unusual?


My childhood memories of Christmas are a little less unique. I remember spending the Christmas period, sat in front of the fire, fishing out my Grandad’s favourite toffee pennies from the Quality Street tin. I'd hand them to him, whilst he sat in 'his' chair, pleading me not to tell my Nana. She'd be cooking up a storm of festive treats in the kitchen which I'd frequently attempt to 'help' her with but looking back, I'm pretty confident I hindered with the entire menu.


However, my fondest, memorable tradition has to be our Christmas day chair scramble. This involved every member of our large family, each bringing a chair of their own to squeeze around my Nana’s dining table, like sardines. No one chair was the same and each year, it was pot luck as to whether the plate was touching your knees or the Christmas cracker hat on your forehead!


Sadly, my Grandparents are no longer with us. My Nana, passed away earlier this year, and like many other families, Christmas 2020 will be very different to previous years.


2020 has been a very strange year and this Christmas may be like no other!


Now I have two young children of my own, it makes me realise how important memories and traditions really are. They are cherished and passed down through generations.


As 2020 has been a very strange year, why not take this opportunity to do something different? Why not make new memories and start new traditions? That's not to say the old ones shouldn't stay - This is just an exciting opportunity to try something new... and have a positive impact.


Here are some family friendly, eco-inspired ideas to make your festive season super special. We hope these help you to create some magical memories with your family and friends, that you cherish for years to come.


Create magical memories with your nearest and dearest


Wrapping

· Buy the cheaper, recyclable option of brown parcel paper instead of Christmas paper. Spend the weeks leading up to Christmas, crafting and decorating the paper with your family. Paint, colour, stamp, stick and personalise your paper for each recipient.

· Don’t forget to buy plastic free, biodegradable tape. That way, everything can go straight into the recycling bin on Christmas Day, allowing you more time to have fun with your family.


Cards

· One eco option is purchasing ‘seed paper’ cards. These can be planted and flowers can be grown, helping pollinators and teaching children about the importance of reducing waste at the same time.

· You could choose a card free option. Instead, of buying cards, spend some time with your children researching a charity they would like to donate to. Then help your children send a text or email to those you would have sent a card to, explaining their choices. It will make everyone feel good.



Decorations

· Make decorating the tree a family activity. If you’re an artificial tree kind of person, great. Buy one and make it last.

· If you prefer a real tree, consider hiring a potted one. These can be borrowed for the festive season before returning. They are carefully looked after and ready to hire the following year. This is the most sustainable option and it is great to teach children the benefit of this type over one that is thrown away at the end of the season.

· Avoid glitter and tinsel. Instead, take family walks. Collect sticks, pine cones or anything that could be used to decorate your home or Christmas gifts. Spend time together making homemade decorations. The Pinterest app is great for ideas.


Presents

·Buy less material goods and spend money on experiences or vouchers instead. There are some great local places you can buy annual passes for.

· Make up a basket/box of your friends and family’s favourite treats. Support local businesses by picking up locally produced goods to add to them.


Creating memories doesn't cost money

Make the time you spend together more special than normal.

Stay up late reading, snuggle in a blanket and watch a Christmas movie, have a family sleepover party and midnight feast, star gaze, go on a bear hunt, collect some of natures treasures, put some music on a dance around the house. Take lots of photos and value these special moments... One day, they'll be special memories.


It is not always easy to make ethical and eco choices, especially at Christmas, but making an effort is half the battle. Teaching children how to take care of the planet and think sustainably from a very young age is biggest impact we can have today. We aren't sure that the upside down Christmas tree is going to catch on but if you try some of the above ideas with your children now, just think of the positive influence you could be having on your future generations!


Eco Teepee Club


Hayley Myers is the founder and CEO of Eco Teepee Club. A geography teacher, mother and entrepreneur, Hayley loves nothing more than helping people create their dream event or celebration and make magical memories.

Eco Teepee Club is an award-winning, eco, event planning and styling business specialising in teepees and bell tents but offering much more besides.


For more information:

www.ecoteepeeclub.co.uk

www.facebook.com/ecoteepeeclub

www.instagram.com/ecoteepeeclub