The Spirit of Christmas

We all know Scrooge, don’t we? From either the book of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, or the film. And, despite not rooting for him at the beginning – he’s not the most generous of human beings – counting his money and ignoring the needs of those around him, especially the Cratchit family, we come around to liking and admiring him by the end.

Scrooge’s story, despite being set in Victorian times, is a story for our times too. One we could learn from, without being too preachy or gloomy. Scrooge was faced with his personal ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. We have those too. We can’t fix the past, but we can predict with some accuracy what will happen to our global future, and adjust the present accordingly. 

It’s simple, really. We need to consume less stuff to help the planet, and ourselves. To recognise, and really focus on, the fact that joy and pleasure in life isn’t about material excess, but love and laughter, dancing and singing, playing games (with a little bit of eating and drinking thrown in too, of course). 

Scrooge teaches us the spirit of Christmas isn’t about accumulating and then discarding ‘things’, and their wrappings. If we choose to do less of this we’ll be benefitting the Earth and the plants and animals that live here. It’s something we all know, deep in our hearts, and many of us act upon it. Things are changing, and the time to change is now. Really, it’s a thoroughly modern book and film.

Like Scrooge at the end of the book (or the film!), we too could skip with joy at the thought of spending time with close friends and family, because we have done the right thing, taken heed of the future, and lived ethically and sustainably in Christmas Present.

Christmas Surgery, featured

A Christmas Surgery

“Our Christmas of excess has forgotten its handmade and homely past”

Ian Jack

Duck Pond Market and Sustainable Ruislip would like to announce the opening of a Christmas ‘Surgery’ to provide help and ideas for a sustainable but beautiful low-cost Christmas full of love and laughter.

Come to our stall at Duck Pond Market Ruislip for inspiration on presents, wrapping and crackers.

Did you know that about 90% of wrapping paper in the shops isn’t actually recyclable?

Valuable trees are felled to make the paper but then plastics, foil and glues and glitter are added so after use it’s only good for incineration or landfill.

But there are other ways to decorate and wrap your presents; how about Japanese furoshiki wrapping cloth, something that is saved and used again and again, or make fabric bags for your presents that can be reused again either for gifts or as vegetable bags, or paint old newspapers or the brown paper padding that comes with Amazon parcels? Add ribbons and unique gift tags and your presents will look just as fabulous as the gifts inside without much cost to you or the planet. 

Crackers are also unrecyclable, as are the majority of plastic games and toys inside. This makes them heavy on the world’s resources, but making your own crackers is not only great fun but can be personalised too. Stuff them full of your favourite Christmas jokes, fortune cookie fortunes, homemade hats, forfeits such as sing Jingle Bells without showing your teeth, juggle three satsumas whilst standing on your left leg, etc., and include chocolates such as foil-wrapped liqueurs. A good cracker bang! isn’t forgotten either, simply buy snaps to include, 10p each from our stall. 

Decorations are easy to make, cut up old Sunday supplements and make paper-chains, use newspapers to make snow scenes at the bottom of windows, paint pine cones with snowy tops, make snowflake-chains etc.

We are writing one of the most precious Christmas resources ever, ‘The Duck Pond Book of Christmas Presence’. Obviously the market itself is overflowing with wonderful presents, but sometimes it’s not about the money you spend, but more about the time or memory you give. This beauty of a book will be jam-packed full of heart warming and unforgettable present ideas for all ages – 

  • Make a five-photo album, choose some of the most special photographs to you and write about what makes them so special. This could be done by all family members young and old and then collated.
  • Write a family recipe book. Include the meals that bring you all together, be it a wobbly jelly or the best ever nut roast.
  • Give a voucher for your particular skill, how about a woodwork lesson, or art, knitting, macramé, horse riding or cooking?
  • Donate a your time, e.g. this voucher allows the recipient three hours of Daddy time specifically to play Knights and castles, etc.
  • Get a blank canvas and write on your family catchphrase, ours include ‘where’s my phone’, ‘you’ll catch more bees with honey’ and ‘go away tripe hound’!
  • Make a cushion cover from an old, outgrown but well-loved jumper, shirt etc.
  • Make a sock puppet kit including a range of the families’ socks, gloves, mittens etc.
  • Put together some of the kids’ own Lego and write challenges on what to make with the bricks included. You could make up four identical bags of bricks and challenge the family to make the best dog, cat, robot, house etc. they can in a set time.
  • Make up a tool kit and include enough wood to make a bird or hedgehog house.
  • Buy a whittling knife and provide wood and instructions.
  • Give an eight-foot piece of wood, the perfect toy for walking the plank, pretend rowing, getting access from one sofa to another, the top of a tent, etc.