Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Jolly and Green, with an Agenda"

There was a great article in the NY Times yesterday called "Jolly and Green, with an Agenda". It chronicled several people who have tried to bring their families along for a greener holiday, through alternative gifting, eco-gifts like LED holiday lights, and giving experiential gifts only. Here's an excerpt:

"It's not just the greens who feel this emotional tug at the end of the year: A 2005 survey by the Center for a New American Dream showed that 78 percent of Americans wish the holidays were “less materialistic.” At the same time, the average American spends about $900 on presents each year, according to the National Retail Federation."

The article talked about how such changes can be emotionally charged, especially between generations. Often our parents felt "want" more than we did, and holiday gifting is a time when they can be extravagant and feel the joys of giving things that they never had (my own mom shared one bicycle among 4 siblings). Many young adults today, however, really do have everything they need. The might WANT more stuff, but let's face it--they don't NEED it. They have grown up with all kinds of stuff, and if anything, are beginning to discover that stuff doesn't make them happy. As people into voluntary simplicity already know, the more stuff you have, the more time you use up taking care of it, repairing it, cleaning it, arranging it, etc. My house if full; I really don't want more stuff.

What do I want? I want to spend time with my family and friends, give to others who have less, enjoy a good meal, and oh, OK, go to a yoga class or two. Your experience will be different, but the essential thing is that these kinds of shared experiences bring back the joy, peace. and love that gives the holiday season such a good name.

1 comment:

Raz Godelnik said...


Your choices are great. I hope that many people will choose these kind of experiences that brings them happiness and joy.

In the case you have to give a gift to someone, please let me recommend on a green book - a book that relates to an environmental issue and is also interesting (and fun) enough to be considered as gift. We run a weekly guide for such books - green guide for book lovers. You can find all the recommendations we had so far here - http://www.ecolibris.net/holiday_guide.asp

Happy green hoildays,

Raz Godelnik