It’s Christmas again, and already where I live there’s been enough snow to build an army of snowmen. I like snow, but I’ve also spent a few Christmases in the Maldives, where snow is only to be found in the encyclopaedia.
The Maldives is an Islamic state, so the usual religious connotations of Christmas do not feature in the festivities. The resort islands don’t have particularly big shops, so the traditional Christmas shopping isn’t an option either. That doesn’t stop them from getting into the spirit of things and throwing a really good party, people certainly manage to have a good time. You can see how much effort they put into things by the photo at the top of this post, that’s an exquisitely-carved water-melon.
Regular readers of this blog (both of them) will know that I’ve written about the Maldives before, and the uncertain fate that awaits them at the hands of global warming and rising sea-levels. It’s easy to forget such things at this time of year, but that would be a shame. The wrapping and packaging that accompanies much of what we buy these days is a great contributor to the damage we do to our environment, and Christmas gifts are no exception. It would be great to be able to give gifts that didn’t have all that wrapping but still expressed the sentiment of caring and giving that Christmas is supposed to be about.
Gift-vouchers are one way of doing that, but some people prefer to choose the actual gift they give, and a voucher doesn’t fulfill that need. Here’s a suggestion then, how about visiting www.magnatunes.com and buying some music for someone?
You can buy music at many places on the web, of course, but magnatunes.com adds a new dimension to the game. You can listen to all the music they offer, in high quality, for free, and decide what you like before you buy. You can then download the album of your choice in full CD-quality, or in a variety of formats. You decide exactly how much you pay for it, from $5 upwards per album, and the musician gets 50% of whatever you pay. They even encourage you to make copies to give to friends so their music gets more exposure!
This is all legal, they work directly with musicians in a business model that’s very different from the way the big record labels work. They seem to be successful with it too.
So why not take the time to listen to some music for free and choose an album or two to download for someone as a gift? If you present it to them on a re-writeable CD or a USB stick you can give them music you have chosen for them with zero waste, much kinder to the environment. Seismic Anamoly is one of my personal favourites (and yes, that is how he spells it), and I also like Ambient Teknology (yes, that is how he spells it).
A parting shot, why not also put out a little Christmas gift for the birds? I cleared the snow from a section of our garden wall and put out some bird-food a few days ago. This robin has been a regular visitor ever since.