Monday, October 6, 2008

Green Mom Carnival: The Commercialization of the Holidays

'Tis the season! Or at least that's what I've always announced, with a thrill, when I flipped the calendar to October.

I love the holidays. The pumpkins and magic of Halloween. The gathering of friends and celebration of the harvest at Thanksgiving. The joy of giving, the way your heart swells when singing carols. All of those things are wonderful, filled with meaning beyond measure.

Some how, though, some of that meaning, that magic gets trampled ever year. By the sound of stampeding feet, cash registers ringing. This month, Green Moms across the blogosphere take on the commercialization of the holidays, offer suggestions for coping and for re-capturing the true joy of the holiday season. This is the October edition of the Green Moms Carnival.

Kellie, from Greenhab, loves the holidays. Like crazy loves them! But on her own terms. Do you want to love the holidays like Kellie? I do! And thankfully, she's got 31 wonderful things to do in October to get us started. I'm bookmarking this list!

"Put Your Blinders Baby", warns The Mindful Momma, because here comes the retail parade. She discusses how commercialization is seeped into most of our holidays and offers some suggestions for celebrating simpler, greener and more memorable holidays.

Teaching our children not to fall prey to commercials is the topic over at The Conscious Consumer. Here, Erin explores various tools for making our children more aware of marketing and more appreciative of commercial-free life.

Halloween leaves one "hollow" over at Green Talk. After greeting the ghost of Halloween past, Green Talk help us regain the magic for Halloween present - complete with ideas for finding meaning, joy and reducing the marketing mentality.

The Green Parent is dreaming green this holiday season. No longer will the big box stores dictate how she celebrates, she vows! She will embrace the joy of the holidays and celebrate it her way. Are you a dreamer?

Over at Kneedly Knits, Viv explores two very different types of gifts - one bogged down in consumerism and one fraught with meaning. She implores us to teach our children the true of meaning of gift, which, in and of itself, is the greatest gift of all.

What is a green Halloween anyway, wonders Maya at The Gamble Life. Find how what she concludes and she sets about trying to achieve it. Some great ideas - and memories - here.

Best of Mother Earth
poses the timeless question: To Consume Or Not To Consume? She recounts visits to a traditional pumpkin patch - complete with hand pressed apple cider and homemade doughnuts - and how and why those visits came to an abrupt end.

Are you a green witch? Love Halloween and want to share the scary magic with your kids? So does Green & Clean Mom and she sets out several helpful suggestions on how to keep Halloween going but get it going green.

Greenstyle Mom is turning the tables this Halloween with reverse trick or treating. Instead of receiving candy, her children will give candy - and information about fair trade chocolate - on their trick or treat trail. Great idea!

Have children changed that much in a generation? If not, than why have our holidays, wonders the Green Moms Carnival founder, Lynn over at Organic Mania. She has the answer to that question and advice on how to get back to the way we were.

The Not Quite Crunchy Parent
is helping a friend plan a Halloween party. Can she come up with some party ideas that are memorable and green? Oh yeah!

Fake Plastic Fish wonders about Fake Plastic Holidays. Beth questions the very core of holidays these days. She wonders how we can get back the joy and honor we once enjoyed, how we can leave everything that is fake and plastic behind us.

Nature Moms Blog
has a comprehensive list of eco-friendly Halloween supplies and ideas - from what to hand out to trick or treaters to what to wear and how to decorate. Lisa From

Retro Housewife Goes Green
also offers up a great list of green alternatives to your usual Halloween customs - costumes, trick or treating and decorating are all covered. Finally, yours truly set up Three Tricks to Greener Treats - three simple ways to green your Halloween.

At The Green Routine, a green dad traces the origins of a commercial Christmas way back to a Coca Cola bottle. He then offers advice on how to teach our children to value Christmas decor and how to beat marketers at their own game.

At In Women We Trust, Mary gives us a peek in to another family's life: one which raised six kids frugally and thoughtfully. Instead of piles of presents, this family turns the holidays into a time for mountains of memories.

La Marguerite encourages us to move outside our own homes this holiday season . . . and into the mall. Could green moms disrupt the holiday shopping season with some subversive green dropping?

MamaBird at Surely You Nest shares her to-do list for the upcoming holidays. And it is a good one, loaded with ideas for taming the "giving-and-getting beast" and creating the memories and traditions that make the holidays special.

Arduous loves the holidays, but, like most of us, doesn't want participate in rampant commercialism just because it is a ritual. Instead, she shows how we can create our own rituals and inject joy, meaning and connection back into the season.

Big Green Purse is taking a somewhat different approach to the holidays. In their constant quest to use the marketplace to change corporate behavior, they've launched a "Can I Get It In 'Green'?" campaign, starting with the unofficial holiday season Halloween kicks off.

Holidays made by hand is one of the themes over at Tiny Choices. While it may seem commercial to start thinking about Christmas now, if you plan on making any gifts, now is the time to start. Explore Tiny Choice's list and links for other truly green holiday gifts.

What do you remember from holidays past? Was it the stuff? The Smart Mama is betting your answer is "no" even as she debates what to give her children for Christmas and how to fit green into your celebrations.

Healthy Child Healthy World announces Extreme Makeover: Holiday Edition. Instead of following along with the usual, overly commercial and stressful traditions, create some new ones and recover the true meaning of the holidays.

Want to join in the Green Mom fun? Green moms, green dads, green aunts and uncles and "earth mothers and fathers" (those who don't have children but care about the planet) are welcome to participate in the Carnival. Karen at Best of Mother Earth is hosting in November. The topic is, appropriately, gratitude and favorite green things (top three please). Posts are due on October 27 and the carnival will go live on November 3rd. Please submit them to greenmomscarnival(at)gmail(dot)com.


Marguerite Manteau-Rao said...

Thank you so much for hosting the green moms carnival. Great summary! Green moms rock . . .

Janelle said...

As always, absolutely fabulous information!! Thanks for hosting and thanks to all who contributed. I agree, Green Moms Rock!!

GreenOfficeBlog said...

Thanks for the great resources. The commercialization of the holidays ties into a bigger problem, which is the overall commodification of the American dream. The green movement is doing a great job of extracting consumption from the celebration of holidays, as well as the ins and outs of everyday life.

Jennifer Taggart said...

Thanks for hosting! Fabulous summary. Reading the summary I was struck by how so much of our "battle" is just TOO MUCH stuff.

As already stated, green moms rock.


Anna said...

what wonderful list of articles to read from all of us greenies. I am so excited that we have newcomers to the carnival. Welcome.

GB, you did a great job summarizing everyone's post. Everyone have a happy green halloween.

Thanks for posting the picture from my website (the one with the kids in it from the 70s perhaps.) Doesn't it bring back memories for some of you?

MamaBird said...

Thanks for putting this carnival together; I loved your tweaking of the topic. Green Mom rockage!

Domestic Accident said...

So many wise words to read. Actually the idea of less is more will likely be more accepted with the economic downturn.

I always use the following for my kids:
Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read

That's it. No more, no less.

Green Bean said...

My pleasure Marguerite and Janelle. :)

greenofficeblog: So true. It is commodification that has gotten us into this mess.

Jennifer: Oh my God! You are so right. It is all about TOO MUCH STUFF!! We need to stop. We need to get rid of what we have (it is taking all my time to maintain, clean up, etc). Today, in carpool, a five year old buddy of my son's said "I have so many matchbox cars, I don't know what to do with them." We really need less. Very insightful.

Anna: I loved that pic! Totally took me back. :)

Domestic Accident: You are right. As money gets tighter, it will be more accepted to get away with less. Love the list for your kids. I may have to adopt that one!

Mother Earth said...

What a beautiful gathering of green mom voices, commentary ( thank you michelle ) and best of all options!!

Lots of ways to consider doing the holidays differently.

Isn't that what it's all about??

Heidi said...

Thank you for all your work on this, I'm excited to explore every post. I came over from Karen's blog and was thrilled to see the topic of the carnival. This has been on our mind as our children are still young and we're hoping to establish more green holiday traditions.

Lynn said...

This is such a great idea. I never heard of doing a blog carnival until recently and of course, love the topic of this one and look forward to participating.


James said...

Wow.. great enjoyment. If i was there.


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