Posted on 26. Dec, 2011 by Brandon Evans
Once we get everything we want we just want more.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that “Americans generate an extra 5 million tons of waste between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.” The largest chunk of that originates from Christmas shopping.
It’s ironic a holiday celebrating the birth a child that gave rise to a religion based in meekness and humility has blossomed into a day of exorbitant consumption. The Christmas story is one of supreme simplicity. A baby destined to be the king of kings is born in a barn.
Yet speed ahead to modern day and we see a holiday tinged with pomp and greed. The average American spends $850 on gifts, creating a grand total of more than $250 billion spent on Christmas gifts each year. In comparison, U.S. Social Security benefits paid are approximately $500 billion per year.
Think of all the paper and plastic wasted on gift wrapping, cards and packaging. With less than 20 percent of the world’s forests remaining intact, why contribute to so much more deforestation for the sake of holiday that actually preaches austerity?
A study found that if the world’s 6 billion-plus inhabitants went through resources at the same rate of American and British consumers, we would require another five planet Earths to support us all.
I fall victim as much as everyone else. I’m willing to blow a whole paycheck once a year just to generate a few moments of consumptive bliss on the faces of those I care about. But in the rush of the shopping and the noise of registers and the paper getting ripped and thrown on the floor, the essence of Christmas is lost.
Peace, family, togetherness and life. That’s all that should matter on Christmas. Yet, that thoughts is as remote as a star in the heavens. We’re bred to fill voids in our lives with material items. Christmas magnifies the flaw. And in the blizzard of chaos and greed, we’ve usurped the wisest tenants of a religion and replaced it with a golden calf molded in the guise of electronic gadgets and designer jeans.
Maybe next year shop less, and focus on what’s important. The simplest things can put smiles on faces. Don’t overdo it. Common acts of kindness and love are passed on and live forever, while things fade as fast as fads.