C19: Greening your Christmas
With holiday season upon us, many friends are going to be alone, or practically alone, this Christmas.
Thanks to Covid-19, my 28-year Christmas tradition of wreath-making with friends – plus our neighbourly Christmas gathering -- are cancelled.
So as we approach Christmas, how can we make this holiday cheerful?
Now here’s a fantastic idea. Is your Christmas tree a real evergreen? When you come to discarding it, repurpose it by considering this suggestion. (And if you’re a parent or grandparent wondering what to do with the kids after December 25th, listen up!)
Meredith Closs’ invitation
Did you know goats like eating evergreen trees? Meredith Closs knows – she’s a young farmer in Clarendon who’s raising meat goats at her livestock farm. She contacted me via Facebook’s Private Messenger to invite people to contact her and bring their natural Christmas trees for her goats to eat.
Says Closs, “My goats love to eat Christmas trees which, incidentally, are not just delicious to them but also act as natural de-wormers. So when you’re finished with your tree and after you’ve completely cleaned them of decorations, my goats will eat your Christmas tree. The goats enjoy the entertainment as much as we enjoy watching them.”
Two things are crucial: first, ensure that you’ve removed every single decoration; second, you must contact Closs and make an appointment.
Closs explains, “With an appointment, I’d be happy to show you the goats and let you see them eat the tree. Goats are very social animals and enjoy something to do on the long winter days, just like us.”
The appointment is necessaryto ensure social distancing for us but also, for the goats’ “safety and bio-security.”
Closs invites you to contact her to arrange a “goat date” by calling her at 613-223-3263. Or, private message her on Facebook. (facebook.com/meredith.closs)
I agree with her completely when she says that this is “a great way to get out of the house and to give the tree an extended life.”
And just imagine how much the children in your life will enjoy watching the goats’ antics: what a super outing!
Creating a friendly Christmas
What else can we do to ensure Christmas remains a special family time?
Especially during Covid, it’s very important to stay in touch with people. Mental health is a huge issue for many of us, and during this pandemic, so many people I’ve talked to are struggling with depression. “Even” some friends who are positive, action-oriented people who usually don’t consider themselves “depressive” have shared with me that they’re feeling low.
Plus, when we consider that the Municipality of Pontiac, Aylmer and Gatineau are in Quebec’s Red Zone, we all realize we must take care. If we can be diligent and careful this holiday season, perhaps our celebrations in e2021 will be more “normal.”
The Gift of Time
So what I’m suggesting for a major gift this year is your personal time. Give family members a call. Try Zoom, Hangout, or other social-media platforms such as Facebook Live to “visit” people who you wouldn’t otherwise see this year.
Demonstrate by action that you care: perhaps make a plan to call regularly throughout the year.
Local gifts; local support
And don’t forget: if you are going grocery shopping, or picking up something at M&R Feeds, Stedmans, Little Red Wagon Winery, White Buffalo or any of your favourite local shops, contact friends. Perhaps they’d like you to pick up something for them. Going to Joanne’s Valu-Mart, or getting some hardware/supplies at Canadian Tire? Again, see whether you can help by picking up items for others.
Think local. Support our farmers, apiarists and others who raise and create wholesome, delicious foods for us. Not only would a cut of fine local lamb or some trout pâte make thoughtful gifts, so would beautifully scented handmade herbal soaps and teas, or beeswax candles, made by local artisans.
See you next year, where we’re all hoping 2021 will be … a whole lot better!