The upsurge in generosity and the feelings of goodwill, demonstrated in traditional Christmas fashion, may lay a devastating burden upon our environment. Christmas packaging alone creates an additional 1 million tons of waste per week between Thanksgiving and New Years. Not to mention the short life-cycle gifts of toys, of which one UK report places at more than 40% tossed in landfills within three months. Americans spent 66 billion dollars on Christmas in 2007, and even with the current economic crisis, Americans will still spend precious resources on gifts.
According to Joel Waldfogel, author of “Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays”, most sentimental gift giving produces inefficient, unsatisfying and declining values. While I won’t discourage the spirit of benevolence, it is certainly time for thoughtful and intentional gift giving of sustainable proportions.
Some gifts that are more economically sustainable, and gentle with our earth, include hand-made, local products and services (including your very own!) These can include everything from unique pieces of art by local artisans to handmade soaps and lotions and can include gifts of time, such as volunteering with a SHARE program, or something requiring a more personal investment, such as attending the dying through hospice care, or working with a Special Olympian.
Far and away, our gifts can be the high value, low impact, and soul-satisfying demonstration of charity we intended toward our fellow man, through thoughtful choices which enrich and sustain life.
Here’s one creative gift to fight pollution and climate change... Posted last year, this little quip provides a gift solution certain to make a difference.