Saw an interesting article over on TreeHugger, discussing a very disappointing article in the New York Times. It’s pretty much just discouraging people from thinking green at Christmas, as though it’s a rather selfish, potentially unAmerican thing to do.
Perhaps the most annoying quote of the entire article:
Still, to some ears, the call for less excessive consumption during the holidays sounds almost un-American.
“The point of the holidays for many people is the joy people get in giving,” said Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar on environmental issues at the American Enterprise Institute. Environmentalists who scold their families are simply making “ritualistic gestures that won’t solve the problem,” he said.
Silly me, I thought there was something more. At least, that’s what I learned in church, as well as being the major point of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Perhaps I need to reread it. Maybe the presents were the point after all.
I do think there are a lot of ways to green a Christmas, and I’ll be going over a lot of green gift ideas in the days to come. Some will be greener than others, but I do think we can have fun, give good gifts and still think of the environment.
This is certainly more challenging in some families than in others. My inlaws, for example, are decidedly not environmentalists. Wonderful people in so many ways, but my father-in-law in particular is fond of the term “eco-Nazi”. Anything too blatantly “green” isn’t going to please him. We don’t talk politics much.
I’ve been improving my own habits and those of my husband, although we’re certainly not as green as we could be yet. Just this morning I stopped my husband from buying a ton of THINGS from a clearance website. Yes, all very cool gadgets and toys, lots of fun, and if I weren’t so interested in saving money and the environment I probably could have gotten into more mischief there than he wants to. But I’ve learned to control those impulses somewhat better, and nixed several items on him.
Overall, I’d far rather give my family the lesson that things do not make for a great Christmas. The people you care about do. It’s more relaxing, generates less trash, costs less money and can be a whole lot more fun.