It’s that time of year again: radio stations start playing tons of songs about bells, children start acting way nicer to their parents and people decorate houses with lights; lots and lots of lights. Yep, it’s getting close to Christmas.
Now sure, some houses look amazing and I respect people’s decorating talent, but the unfortunate fact is, that for weeks at a time, many people are completely abusing the precious limited natural resources we have. I’m not going to spew a bunch of facts here, but it’s a no brainer that the more lights you buy and put up, the more electricity is used; the more electricity that is used, the more coal, natural gas or oil is used. (For lots of facts, there’s a great article on the Cereplast website.) I just wonder why celebrating Christmas means forgetting about the impact we make. I mean, the holiday wouldn’t exist if there was no planet, right?
But don’t freak out. There ARE alternatives. If your house is run with wind power, that’s awesome! Just take care of the lights to use them over and over. Also, you can opt for new solar powered lights, which is a good step, but of course the production of those use natural resources too. My personal favorite, though, is reusing tin cans and putting soy candles in them to create lights.
I guess what it all comes down to is rethinking what we’re celebrating and how we celebrate it. If you celebrate Christmas for Jesus’ birth giving hope to the world, why not give some hope to the planet? If you celebrate Christmas for the gift giving aspect, why not give Mother Earth the greatest gift she needs: a break.
There are truly so many ways to enjoy Christmas and the people you care about while taking the planet into consideration: make decorations out of scrap paper (snowflakes!), organize a pre-owned gift swap, or put ingredients to your favorite cookie recipe in a mason jar with instructions on it. Those are just a few reuse ideas and I highly recommend checking out the Center For A New American Dream’s Simplify The Holidays for more.
Please feel free to share the ways that YOU celebrate a low impact Christmas below, especially any unique reuse ideas. Thanks!