While enjoying the usual Christmas fare of embotido, lechon, lengua and the like, switch to brown rice or heirloom rice. While you enjoy, there are many more people who will also eat well because you switched to polished rice.
Give to the unknown. We usually make a list to buy gifts for friends. This time, make a change. Give to those you have not met or have yet to meet. Give to children of people you do not know. Just give and the Universe will give back a hundredfold.
Do away with clutter. Wrap your gifts in reusable cloth like the “furushiki” way of Japan.
Wrap them in reusable tote bags, grocery bags and all-purpose bags. Skip the gift wrapper.
You will save paper and deliver a good message to those receiving your gifts.
Give to your church or temple. Exercise the soul. Give to the institutions that deliver His message to others. We can buy concert tickets but we never give as much to church or our temple. Let’s start a different habit this year.
If you must give, make it functional. Give tokens that can be used or worn rather than just another piece of decor or useless paperweights with your company logo or name.
Recycle gifts that you do not need. As we declutter our home, we should also redistribute unused items and gifts that we have not worn, used or even opened.
Serve locavore meals in honor of our farmers. Let us use local ingredients, and serve fiesta meals using our own. Let us conserve our resources to help our small producers rather than spend more on imports.
Eat less rice. We waste three tablespoons a day per person, per studies and research done by government agencies. If we eat less rice and substitute root crops like camote for some meals, we will help our farmers while reducing rice imports.
Eat less. We can afford to reduce our intake of rice and sugar. We will do ourselves a favor by eating less or just enough to leave the table satisfied and not overly-fed.
Switch to natural ingredients. The fresher the food, the better for our health. Switch meals to a little raw food like salads and fruits, rather than always eating processed food like breads, meats and canned stuff. The simpler and more whole the food you eat, the better.
Indulge once in a while to better enjoy the indulgence. Even caviar or foie gras can start to taste ordinary if eaten everyday. Eat indulgent food sparingly. The better to savor and enjoy a good truffle pasta or a toro sashimi occasionally rather than always.
Use less lights or skip the lights on the tree at home. Rather, take the kids for a walk along public parks to enjoy Christmas decorations and Christmas activities. Keep your home as simple as possible to reduce electric and energy consumption.
Teach the children to give to other children who they have never met or have never had the chance to play with. Give them time to share their toys with children in orphanages and institutions so your children may see the reality of life without parents. They, too, will learn to count their blessings.
Give to your staff, the security guards, the household help who serve even on holidays.
Give them a respite from their usual schedule and give them free time to enjoy Christmas like they never did.
Give to the unknown, the needy and the victims of recent disasters. We can never give enough. Food, clothing and shelter. Basic needs that some may not even have in these dire times.
Make it a different Christmas.
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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium and Centris QC malls. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates, youth and NGOs on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org