"Snow" from Irving Berwyn's White Christmas floats across the air in my kitchen. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" crones the inveritable Judy Garland through my bedroom. "All I Want for Christmas" by Lil Jon pushes me to pump my legs in rhythm at the gym as I cycle. And, in my car, I belt out "Candy Cane Lane" by Sia (with no judgements) on my way to and fro.
It's undeniable, the sounds of the season are everywhere; brightening our spirits and bringing joy to our hearts. There are even songs about the songs of the holidays! Here we go "a-wassailing" is a chorus of voices all joyous about singing holiday tunes.
So, it's not surprising that this time of year, I always brew a hot wassail (the drink inspired by these holiday songs) as I listen to modern and traditional carols alike; all thanks to streaming service on my phone. Today, it has me reveling in the intersection of modernity and tradition as they collide.
Sustainability Spotlight: Like the holidays, sustainability is at the intersection of tradition (how we have always done things) and modern advances (how we could do things today and in the future). Somehow, we have been able to (as a society) embrace tradition while advancing it with our modern approaches to this joyous and seasonal time of year. In contrast, we cannot seem to do the same with sustainability. We never feel bereft with the holidays when traditions change or update. In fact, we enjoy starting new traditions with our families and blended cultures. Sustainability gets a "bad wrap" for requiring a changes for the "negative" and for those that pursue it, and I'm here to show you it's just not true.
Let's use the following traditions for Christmas and easy swaps as an example:
Tradition: Fresh Christmas Tree
Sustainability Update: Reusable tree (whether that be cloth, metal, wood, doesn't matter!)
Tradition: Christmas Ham, Beef Wellington, Standing Prime Rib Roast
Sustainability Update: Plant-based "ham," Mushroom or Lentil Wellington, or Cauliflower Roast
Tradition: Presents wrapped with paper
Sustainability Update: Presents in reusable boxes or bags (no glitter please!)
Tradition: Gifting "stuff"
Sustainability Update: Gifting food, experiences, or heartfelt mementos
So, brew some hot wassail, turn on the new (and old) tunes, and start refining your holiday traditions for more sustainable approaches. I think you'll find you like the season more when you feel "good" about helping the planet all while you celebrate!
1 gallon apple cider
1 cup fresh orange juice - note, do not use carton OJ, it will not taste the same!
1 lemon (squeezed, then sliced into half moons)
1 orange (squeezed, then sliced into half moons)
(1) 1 x 2 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
7-8 cinnamon sticks
1 apple (sliced thin into half moons)
Add all ingredients above to a large pot or slow cooker - stir.
Place lid on pot or cooker and heat on low for 3-4 hours until warmed through and all spices have warmed / saturated the liquid. Stirring occasionally during this time.
Remove lid and skim out fruit and cinnamon sticks - discard
Serve hot wassail with extra fresh apple slices and cinnamon sticks if desired.
Let wassail cool completely and store in a large mason jar in the fridge for up to 1 week (Note, the citrus helps preserves the cider - bonus!)
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie