I’m not a scrooge. I love the holidays. Wild and crazy though they are, they fill me with a sense of satisfaction, tradition, wonderment and love for my fellow man. Whether these feelings are genuinely my own, or prompted by the onslaught of way-too-happy people in way-too-many holiday commercials, is besides the point. It’s a good time of year for my psyche.
On the other hand, as someone who has environmental values, this time of year also messes with my inner soul. I know that sounds corny – and I agree, it is. I just can’t think of a better way to describe the turmoil that boils up inside of me when I walk into yet another store that wants me to buy, buy, buy.
I like to buy, when I really need stuff. But frankly, I don’t need that much stuff. I have one pair of tennis shoes for instance. I don’t understand why I need more. They are white, they go with everything. Would I feel happier with an additional, say, blue or pink pair. I doubt it.
I’m not a pauper, but neither do I have two or three closets full of clothes. I do have a half dozen or more jeans – but they constitute my working “uniform” for the most part. As a freelancer, I have the luxury of being comfortable at my 9-5. In the same respect, our house is not barren – we have furniture, dishes, towels, utensils, necessities. And I’ll admit, a few knick-knacks.
Which brings me back to this Ho-Ho-Ho season.
I’m not going to swear off of Christmas just to make a point. To me its more than just an excuse to buy until your credit dissolves like icicles on a hot day. It really is about all those things I mentioned earlier. I know, I’m a sucker for sentimentality, family stuff and even commercials that feature puppies with bows and Clydesdales romping in a picturesque snowy landscape. Sigh…
But this doesn’t mean I throw all my environmental caution to the wind for the next several weeks and dive into the mosh-pit of unrestrained holiday buying gluttony.
It does mean that I’m conscience of my purchases, such as where the products came from and what they are made of. It means I don’t over-do my spending in an attempt to impress or outdo someone else. It means I take a good hard look at what this season means to me, and then I make decisions that reflect my values.
None of this is an original thought, I know. There are probably thousands of blogs out there with identical messages. I’m rarely alone in my views. But I consider this a good thing.
In 36 days it will all be over. We’ll open gifts along with everyone else who celebrates this time of year. We’ll probably eat too much as well. Did I mention that I also love food? But if I stick to my guns, I’ll make my statement nonetheless.
There will be less wrapping paper – who needs a dozen sheets of tissue for every gift bag- and when it comes to bags, new is out of the question in our house. Recycled ones only please – a particular favorite in my family is an ancient Victoria Secret bag, pink (of course) with fake fur along the edge. Priceless.
Food will be served on real plates, with real silverware and honest-to-goodness cloth napkins for everyone’s laps. And a few days later, when we ceremoniously toss our real tree over our deck, it will be hauled down to our brush pile and welcomed by wildlife who seek shelter and warmth during the winter months.
None of these actions are over-the-top, greenie-crazy. But like the holidays, they feel right to me and my family. And I believe in a very small way, we are making a difference in a season when making a difference is the overall theme, correct?
Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe it really is all about the shopping.