I don’t know if you’ve been scrolling through the internet recently, or tuning into the news much, but it seems pretty grim out there at the mo. Increasingly sticky political situations aside, the planet - that place we call home - doesn’t seem to be coping so good with its ballooning billions of cosmically recent new residents (us). If UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest predictions are anything to go by, our needs for getting to places fast has resulted in the earth getting worryingly warm quicker than we first thought. Our obsessions with the conveniently quick and the constantly new has filled our landfills and oceans with the poisonous remnants of the old.
We don't always see the direct impact of this waste, so it's easy to forget or not consider the impact. If you ever travel somewhere that is directly impacted, it's an attack on the senses that really hits home. As a lifelong, card-carrying resident of planet earth and especially as a father to some of the planet’s littlest residents, I find this kind of stuff pretty scary...
'If ever there was a time when planet-threatening, throw-away culture goes a bit bananas, it’s Christmas time'
“Stop,” you’re most probably screaming into your laptop or mobile device, “the run up to Christmas is the last time I want to be thinking about this kind of stuff!” And I hear you, I do. Christmas is the time of giving and sharing, of showing our loved ones that they are, indeed, ones that we love. It’s not the time to be considering terrifying things like saving the planet from an impending hot and plasticy doom, surely? But maybe it is. Maybe that’s where we’ve been going a bit wrong.
See, if ever there was a time when planet-threatening, throw-away culture goes a bit bananas, it’s Christmas time. I’m not talking about those extra piles of mash that you couldn’t quite manage, or the magical perfect present moments, or even that second bottle of crème de menthe that Nan always insists you buy. It is okay to indulgence, of course it is, but there is a side to Christmas that seems to be taking Christmas a bit too far. Each year we’re whipped up into a frenzy to buy useless stuff just because we’re supposed to buy useless stuff. Christmas has a novelty tie-shaped dark side and it’s about time the novelty wore off.
Some people that know me well enough to see me open gifts have occasionally commented that I’m ungrateful. Hard to believe I know! The truth is that I hate being bought crap. Whether it’s a miniature pinball machine or a comedy harmonica with flashing lights, rubbishy, plasticy, disposable presents aren’t really my cup of tea. It’s not that I don’t find this stuff funny, or think they don’t provide moments of joy. They do, but that’s all it is, a moment. I just don’t think that a quick chuckle is worth the economic cost to the gift giver and it’s definitely not worth the ecological cost to the planet. By 9pm on Xmas day, when a few gifts are already in the charity pile or worse, the bin, I can’t help but wonder if it was all worth it.
'I’m not anti-present, by any means, and I’m certainly not anti-Christmas'
So isn’t this all a bit rich coming from a business that sells people things? I don’t think so. I’m not anti-present, by any means, and I’m certainly not anti-Christmas. Good Crimbo presents do exist; presents that are useful, needed and get regular use are the ultimate gift. I know it's hard on the grey matter to find a present that someone will love and use and not chuck right away. But that extra effort is worth it, surely?
Take eyewear for example (it is what I know best, after all). For people with one pair of glasses or sunglasses, they are going to get a lot of use out of them. For prescription eyewear, there’s nothing you own that you’ll wear and rely on as much. Glasses that are perfectly matched with a person’s personality have a big, positive impact, not only on their vision, but on their confidence too.
Yet gifts like eyewear often get skipped. To go out and buy someone an actual pair of glasses without them knowing is a big risk (although it's funny watching a few brave folk try!) The obvious answer is vouchers, but we often hear that vouchers get seen as a bit of cop-out, and folk would rather buy a gift their loved ones can open and enjoy right away. But is it really a cop-out if a gift actually helps someone get what they really, really, want? I don’t think so. This Christmas, I think it’s more important than ever to make "the thought count" when it comes to presents, not just for our loved ones but for the planet as well. Whether that is spectacles or not, keep in mind, is an inflatable unicorn really worth harming our planet for?
Give the gift of eyewear
If you want to cut out the crap and join the #nocraprevolution then give your loved ones, or more importantly yourself, a gift with no fear of the novelty wearing off. Grab an eyewear voucher offer that'll put a smile, and fine eyewear, on your face.