Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa's suit is red but his idea is 'green"

This holiday season brings a lot to think about. With the tough times we are all trying to cut back. My family has decided to forgo the presents and enjoy the company. I know we are not the only ones going this route. I can't help but wonder if this will become the new Christmas tradition? For me as a struggling student, this means more than just a weight off my pocketbook, it makes the holidays a more welcome time.

Don't get me wrong, as a child Christmas and my Birthday were two of the most exciting days of my life. As I grow older, however, it just seems to add more stress. The first stress of it all is shopping, I never know what to get, nor do I ever know what I want. Part of this may be because my stress level is already at it max trying to deal with law school exams. The other stress is because of what I've seen Christmas become throughout my life.

It begins with the day after we all come together to give thanks for all the blessings we have had in our lives during the past year. We celebrate and then flock to the stores all for preparation for what is supposed to be one of the most sacred times of year (both Christian and Jewish). Along the way we do almost anything (even kill) to complete our consumerist ritual. Then on Christmas day we tear them all open in a flurry of emotion. For me this was always the best and the worst part. We all like to get something as well as see the joy in the faces of those we give to (best part). The worst part was after it was all over, whats left a giant pile of trash.

The real conflict is this, how can I rationalize trying to become a more eco-conscious citizen when I participate in a holiday that generates so much waste. Its not that my family had so much trash, it is that a majority of families are all generating so much waste. A single day can make me cancel out half of a years attempts at living more sustainably. I'm not trying to be a Scrooge, it is just that a little reflection might help us all realize how ridiculous and out of proportion our consumerism has gotten.

Lest we forget that the whole notion of Santa is that he and his elves make all the presents they give. It would seem that we have taken the spirit from what even Santa wants Christmas to be about. This year I'm looking forward to the tradition of getting back to what the Holidays are all about, that is, making memories and spending time with those I love. I may not come bearing presents, but without a doubt I will bring more of the gifts that really matter: happiness, joy, laughter, and plenty of hugs for the ones I love; wouldn't you know they are all free.

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