Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The 'C' is for Curmudgeon - why Xmas need not be so gross.

Yep, it’s that time again. Minds are lost, stress levels rise and we all go a little ‘na’nas trying to figure out which throw away gift will best provide momentary gratitude and fleeting approval. Schedules are juggled as we try and figure how much we can fit in our fridge; the whole idea of ‘sustainable living’ is shirked as a tad unrealistic as we find ourselves thinking, who the hell has the time to find/make biodegradable baubles and vegan mince pies?

Junk and stuff is gathered - lights, tinsel, stars, hats; food pushes the insides of your belly so hard buttons erupt. Momentarily we’ll pause to how wasteful, silly and cruel Christmas is as we’re advertised to by sweltering young Indian students dresses as Santa hold ‘Christmas Mega Sale’ signs.

And for those die-hards who make the effort to be sustainable during the silly season (we applaud you), it’s not always so easy to enforce your ideas onto others.

But then again, maybe it is? Here are some common silly season scenarios that are just begging for not only a sustainable bur practical and humane touch – warm and fuzzies guaranteed.

a) Kris Kringle

No it’s not fair! You have to buy something for your [insert obligatory recipient]. Thanks to Kris Kringle, most of us will end up in an awkward buying position- especially if you draw a work colleague or family member you don’t rate/know/like the smell of. What to do?

b) Person you have the hots for or would really like to impress

This time of year is also the time where that casual fling might just turn into a budding romance and is the perfect time to make the move on someone you’ve been eyeing off all year. What better way to say ‘so…how bout it?’ that with an excellent little gift – but what to give?

c) You’re a jerk

There’s also the situation where at sometime throughout the year you have been a real little (or big) jerk. You may have drunkenly said something that hurt the cleaners feelings, fed your ciggy butts to the dolphins, revelled in polystyrene, flown across the world a few times – something that warrants absolution. Help is at hand.

The answer:

The good folks at A4UNHCR, Australia’s branch of the United Nations Refugee Agency have decided to send the World’s Biggest Relief Package to the 300,000 refugees living in Dadaab, a camp near the Kenyan-Somali border.

And while we all know the UNHCR are good folks, this year you too can bask in their karmic glow all the while ticking the virtue box at Kris Kringle, impressing that special someone, proving you’re not a jerk and most importantly helping out someone whose life is pretty hellish right about now. Winners all round.

So, spend $12 bucks on a Jerry can (bout the same cost as 2 rolls of wrapping paper and a dodgy card), or shell out a little more coin if you can afford it to make to make the UNHCR’s World’s Biggest Package – HUGE.


Originally built for 90,000 people Dadaab is now home to more than 300,000 people, mostly those who have fled Somalia. So as you can imagine it is ridiculously overcrowded, no loos, limited food, without fresh water – the list goes on. Santa certainly does not visit Dadaab.

Add to this conundrum a dash of imminent flooding in the coming months and life in Dadaab is going to get even trickier - it’s a really rough deal, and we’re bloody lucky we weren’t born Somali – but don’t thank your stars, be part of the World’s Biggest Package.

Check out the website (great design once again from a Republic of Everyone/Circul8 collaboration), click some stuff, learn something new and maybe even part with a little cash.