As the advent calendars count down the days until our jolly, red-suited friend arrives and those sweet summertime vibes fill the air, here at Flick HQ we’re also thinking about the ways we can make our festive season better.
No, we’re not talking about swapping out the Lindauer for Moët (nice as that may be) - we’re talking about better living and giving at Christmas time, by thinking more simply, sustainably and kindly. Luckily, we have some Flick friends who’re doing fantastic things, and who’re willing to share their tips and tricks with us. Wahoo!
So today we’re sitting down with the ever-inspiring Christine Langdon, founder and CE of The Good Registry, a Kiwi social enterprise that allows people to gift donations towards a good cause. Christine’s inspired by the joy of meaningful giving, having previously worked as the Community Manager (and general doer of all the good things) at Z Energy. She also volunteers as a yoga teacher, offering koha yoga to corporate clients where all proceeds are donated to charity, and writes a blog on living mindfully. So much to love!
The Good Registry’s purpose is threefold: to simplify giving, help good causes and reduce waste. They want a world where every gift counts, and where generosity is simple and enjoyable. So, at this festive time of year, when most of us are spending wads of cash on plastic presents, fancy food, and kilometers of wrapping paper, we’re super keen to find out how we can celebrate the festive season in a way that’s good for the Earth and good for the soul.
First up, can you tell us what the Christmas season means to you and your family?
Peace, love and joy! It’s about taking time out, being away from the hustle and bustle, with people I love to be with.
Has this meaning changed at all since you started The Good Registry last year? Yes, I’m so much more conscious that it’s about showing people we care about them, and that doesn’t have to be done with stuff from the shops - and in fact it’s often better without all that. In the past I’ve found Christmas quite stressful - I was almost always still in the shops on Christmas Eve, too often buying things I hoped people would like but knew they may never use to ‘tick the box’ on gift giving, and too often receiving gifts that I knew I’d never use either, and feeling quite sad about the wastefulness of that. Now I’m more likely to give experiences or something I’ve made, and encourage friends and family to make donations through The Good Registry instead of giving gifts to me.
Are there any Christmas traditions from your childhood that you still continue today? None! I don’t decorate up the house in a big way, I don’t eat chicken or turkey, and I’m not big on leaping out of bed to unwrap lots of gifts! These days I’ll keep the decorations simple, the food vegetarian, and get up with the sun on Christmas Day to go for a walk or a run.
What does ‘good’ living and giving mean to you, personally? Living consistently with my values and what brings me joy. I know that I get lots of joy from giving so I find ways to do that every day (even if it’s a simple compliment - which is so easy and always feels good!); and I know that I feel sad when I see waste, so I’m doing my best to reduce my environmental footprint and to take positive action that helps others to do that too.
Has it been hard to convince people that, when it comes to giving, less can be more? It hasn’t been so hard to convince people that less is more - most people are over clutter and waste these days! But it has been harder to convince people that it’s okay not to give someone a ‘thing’ to say ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘I love and appreciate you’. Gift giving is such a deeply ingrained part of our culture, and The Good Registry is disrupting that norm - so some people will wait until they see others around them doing it before they feel comfortable with it. But it’s awesome to see that lots of people are willing to lead by example, too!
How can we make ‘doing good’ a part of our everyday lives? By being really conscious of the kind of impact we want to have on others and on the planet, and ensuring that we act consistently with that. So, maybe you’ve stopped using single-use plastic bags and straws this year - that’s awesome! And now is a good time to ask yourself whether you’re going to buy stocking fillers or Secret Santa gifts that are also made of plastic and that may never be used. It’s also about small steps and doing what feels like the right thing to do right now. I think we’ll always make the good choice if we listen to our hearts.
What are your three top tips for a simpler, kinder and more sustainable festive season? 1: Be kind to yourself, 2: Be kind to others, 3: Be kind to the planet… whatever that looks like for you! You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing, or do things the way they’ve always been done in order to stick with traditions or expectations (maybe that’s why I haven’t stuck with any of my childhood Christmas traditions!).
What’s going on at The Good Registry over the Christmas season and summer months? We’ll be tallying up all the donations we’ve received from Christmas and paying that to our partner charities - exciting! We’ll be feeling love and gratitude for all the Good our givers have done. And we’ll be encouraging people to continue to give through The Good Registry for birthdays, weddings and all kinds of other events they have coming up throughout the year.
How will you be spending your Christmas Day? I’ll be spending Christmas Day in Tauranga with my mother and immediate family. It’s going to be our first Christmas without my Dad, as he passed away in October, so we’re going to make the day as special as we can. And I’m also looking forward to heading away after Christmas Day on a roadie to the Far North.
As 2018 comes to a close, what do you think you’ll take away from the last 14 months with The Good Registry? I’ll be ending the year on a high, knowing that we’ve helped more people experience the joy of generosity, helped some awesome NZ charities, and helped the planet! And I’ll be taking away the importance of doing what you believe in - because that’s what The Good Registry has been about for me.