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Christmas Thoughts in Covid Times & Sustainable Christmas Tips from Verdemar

Soraya Fernández | Photos: ©Fran Montes, ReachExtra

The pandemic has made things difficult for most of us this Christmas, and ingenuity and patience are called for. Choosing a local business instead of online shopping is now more important than ever given the current economic crisis caused by lockdowns. Art has also taken centre stage this year, and once again, the ‘Regalarte de La Línea’ exhibition are helping artists sell their work.

The pandemic won’t put an end to Christmas spirit this year; Santa and the Three Wise men will still be visiting children’s homes, but of course, change has come in the form of modifying our shopping habits and adapting to a situation which would have sounded like fiction last year.

De-escalation has now begun on the Spanish lockdown measures, although the rules vary in different regions and municipalities.

Currently, travel within Andalucía is allowed, but is subject to a curfew and other restrictions still apply to the hospitality industry. Business hours have been extended for the retail sector to allow people in Spain get their Christmas shopping done; with all the usual covid hygiene measures in place.

The hospitality sector is currently the hardest hit, but it is not the only one. Local retail has suffered greatly. So, for this reason, municipalities in the Campo de Gibraltar have launched campaigns to buy local. Online shopping became a lifeline for many in the past when it came to looking for gifts, but local business need us now more than ever.

Christmas Regalarte La Linea Covid 2020

The “Regalarte de La Línea” exhibition is currently selling works by local artists at the Manuel Alés gallery until January 8th, and this 11th edition of the exhibition is hosting 90 pieces by 44 artists at affordable prices. There are many different styles on display too; paintings, collages, hand drawings, sculptures and photography.

At Regalarte, you’ll find pieces by well know artists in the region such as Pepe Cano, Sylvain Marc, Paco Conti, Javier Plata, Yeyo Argüez, Fátima Conesa and Pablo Fernández Pujol. Each piece makes a unique gift for a friend or loved one, and events such as these promote private art collections, as the director of the Manuel Alés gallery, Macarena Alés pointed out.

Christmas Regalarte La Linea Covid 2020

The La Línea City Council has already put in place hygiene measures, which have meant format and schedule changes as well as reduced capacity.

La Línea’s counsellor of Culture, Encarni Sánchez, highlighted the variety of works on display, which appeal to a wide range of people: “The best gift is the gift of art”, he said while encouraging locals to visit the exhibition. The Manuel Alés gallery will be open from Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 2 PM, and from 4 PM – 6 PM.

Promoting a “Sustainable Christmas”

The “Verdemar-Ecologistas en Acción” group is advocating for less “senseless consumerism” that happens over the festive period and argues that it is environmentally and socially unsustainable.

Verdemar spoke to ReachExtra about alternative ways to celebrate Christmas in a more sustainable way but says that a reduction in consumption is essential to prevent environmental and societal deterioration.

Christmas Regalarte La Linea Covid 2020

Things like researching a product and the way it has been manufactured to see if the environment or humans are being harmed in the production process.

“It is important to bear in mind that it will always be more sustainable to buy locally sourced / made products. Buying local also reduces energy consumption because there is no need for long transportation”, they told us.

Verdemar warn against over-packaging, which they argue poses a serious threat to the environment: “40% of household waste is organic, of the rest of the waste, 80% is plastic packaging. This percentage is constantly increasing and skyrockets at Christmas”.

Christmas Regalarte La Linea Covid 2020

“The production of packaging destroys natural resources, uses water and pollutes the atmosphere. Both the manufacturing and even recycling need large amounts of energy when they are disposed of and have significant effects on the environment, whether they are thrown into landfills or incinerated. While throughout the year a person can produce a kilo and a half of rubbish a day (remember that 30 years ago it wasn’t even half a kilo), at this time of year it becomes 2 kilos; half made up of wrappers and packaging”, Alfredo Valencia of the Verdemar Association said.

Other recommendations were; avoiding single use products, recycling wrapping paper, rejecting plastic bags at shops and instead bringing a cloth bag, and choosing products with returnable or reusable packaging.

In any event, Covid-19 hasn’t soured our Christmas spirit. ReachExtra wishes you a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year!

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