I don’t know if you have noticed but we don’t promote Christmas sales or have special Christmas gift packs. It’s not that we don’t do Christmas at Balanced Energy, we love it. It’s just that we feel Christmas is more a time for family and reflection as we pass through another cycle of one year into another. As promoters of wellness and ethical, sustainable lifestyle we don’t want to just make an extra buck or two from our customers at Christmas, we want to make sustained sales all year round by supplying you with great quality and customer service and because you love our products and share our values.
We feel that there is too much pressure on people to buy lots of things at this time of year, and that pressure can create a huge amount of stress. Not to mention the debt that we get into simply to purchase gifts that we may or may not really need.
One company I worked for in the UK made 75% of their annual total sales at Christmas time. It was horrendous, people were so stressed and bad tempered, customers would fight over the last gift box. Men would come in looking terrified because they had to get the “right” gift for a mother in law or partner, it literally broke my heart how unkind people could be to each other.
Christmas has become something so far from what it really is intended to be about, the environmental impact is huge. Millions of trees are grown and cut down then thrown out a week later. Tons of packaging and wrapping paper thrown out and often not recycled if it is even recyclable at all. This town in China knows the reality of all that cheap, unsustainable stuff we buy http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2014/dec/19/santas-real-workshop-the-town-in-china-that-makes-the-worlds-christmas-decorations.
Please think about what you buy this year at Christmas. Ethical and sustainable items are so important in terms of the well being of our planet and its people. Buying local is also really important, not just at Christmas time either. Simply put if you spend your money in your local community with small businesses it stays in your local community and circulates around, creating local jobs and funds for community projects. Every time you purchase from a company overseas via the internet you might be getting a good deal short term, however the government misses out on much needed tax revenue to maintain and build our infrastructure, schools, hospitals and essential services. Your money has left the country, literally, never to return back into our economy. This means there is less money circulating within New Zealand, eventually businesses struggle to employ people or close down limiting our opportunity for wealth.
I hear the cry that it’s so expensive to buy things here in New Zealand from small shops. Yes it is more expensive because everyone is paid a fair wage and has rights here in this country. Do we really want our need to have more things, ever cheaper keeping others in a state of poverty and slavery? I see lots of cheap items being thrown out because they break so easily, so perhaps we are not saving money after all? 10 cheap pairs of shoes a year that fall apart in 5 seconds or two expensive pairs that last you several years. What is more economical at the end of the day?
I love buying my veggies direct from the grower, or something that has been handmade lovingly by the person I am purchasing it from. It is a very satisfying way to do your shopping and gives those things I buy more meaning to me. If you look around you can find things made in New Zealand that are a really reasonable price, and they are usually very unique. Food items are always welcome gifts. We have so many things now that the onslaught of Christmas gifts is just excessive. Something that gets used up while it is being enjoyed is much more welcome in our house. My Dad sends me a bottle of organic champagne from a New Zealand vineyard called Wrights every year. I love it! Markets and small local boutique style shopping centres are lovely places to go shopping and good places to source locally made items.
The Meaning of this festival
Christmas was originally Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, the celebration of the longest night and the returning of the light back to earth after which the days begin to grow longer again. The Christians chose this time to introduce the celebration of the birth of Christ when they arrived in Europe because it fit well with the meaning of the celebration.
The evergreen tree was a symbol of eternal life in the middle of winter when most trees would lose their leaves. The origin of the Christmas tree was a pagan ritual where people would go into the forest and decorate a chosen evergreen tree, light candles and dance around the tree singing songs to honour the spirit of the everlasting. The indoor Christmas tree was actually invented for Queen Victoria. Originally there were no presents at Christmas. Presents were given to the servants on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas Day (and their only official day off!) Christmas was a time to go to church, sing carols and eat special foods and to give charity to the poor and less fortunate.
What does this mean for us?
Here in New Zealand we are in high summer at Christmas time, and the summer solstice is a time for celebrating the element of fire, the longest day and the plenty of the summer harvest. At this time of year cooling excess heat is essential for well being so we recommend green teas and iced tisanes to help with this. Also teas such as Balm + Roses, Chrysanthemum or Be Calm are cooling and calming, something we all need as Christmas activity heats up!
When you purchase Balanced Energy products you can trust that everything is handmade in New Zealand. We truly are an artisan company. We make everything, in house and by hand, and use only certified organic ingredients. Wherever possible we use New Zealand grown ingredients, buying direct from the producer if we can source it. If we do not know the producer we purchase from reputable suppliers who can provide us with certification and who test in house for purity. If we sell an item we do not make, such as a teapot, we thoroughly test that item to make sure the quality is up to our standards.
To find out where we are over the next week (just in case you do need some Christmas gifts!) click here
However you choose to celebrate Christmas this year we wish you much Peace, Love and Joy at this time with good health and much success for 2016.
Catherine and Henri