I am proposing some radical ideas to make Christmas more sustainable and also to make it make more sense. Some of the things we do in the name of Christmas just DO NOT make sense. I heard a story at school the other day of a mother who bought her daughter three things for Christmas (even though she had just had her birthday) and the daughter returned all three things, and the mother was not even that upset about it.
I know I already posted this photo, but it is a good depiction of what I am thinking about tonight.
Lots of times, we want to give presents at Christmas time, but I think, if we are being truthful, lots of times we don’t, because we can’t think of a great gift, and we wind up getting something that people will take back, or wish they could take back. I’ve never experienced hurt feelings over a Christmas present, but I hear it happens. So, what to do? How awful would it be if we just decided we weren’t going to do the presents part of Christmas? Would every one think we are a scrooge? But so often, it doesn’t make sense, the money we spend, sometimes going into debt, trying to prove we care about someone with a thing.
I know a lot of people have made changes in their gift giving, donating to charity for example. Some good ideas can be found here at ISU’s Live Green Dec 2011 newsletter. The article on Greening the Holidays makes good suggestions about how to find thoughtful and recycled gifts. The college students here also suggest that giving your time and just being together with others is a valued and sensible gift. If intelligent college students can embrace this, can’t we?
But what about the children? A lot of people I know have given up adult gift giving but still have Christmas presents for the children. At first, I thought this was quite sensible, but you know, what are we teaching the kids here? The sociologist in me would say, we are perpetuating an unsustainable lifestyle by indoctrinating the future generation. What if kids just never learned to expect gobs of toys or expensive gifts on Christmas or every other American holiday?
If you disagree with me on all of the above, maybe at least you could think about this idea.
You know how every one tears open their presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning, and then usually it’s the mom who goes around wadding up tons of wrapping paper and putting it in the trash? And I LOVE wrapping paper. I have way more fun buying wrapping paper and bows and ribbon and gift tags than I do buying gifts, but it’s all just really totally useless and wasteful. Maybe we could at least give up the wrapping paper! Reusable cloth gift bags anyone?!