Friday, November 27, 2009

Rethinking the holidays, Chapter 2

Having a wonderful time; glad I'm not there...

Just looking at this picture gives me the heebie-jeebies. How did our society become so bovine?

Hey, folks, remember that trade deficit with China? It's in your hands, baby. Ya don't gotta buy all that stuff. You really don't.
To be clear: I think giving small, meaningful gifts at Christmas is a charming tradition, one I plan to continue. But let's pause and think before we grab some piece of foreign-made, possibly toxic, crap just because we think it will make our gift recipient think better of us.

NPR's Planet Money has this take: "Economist Joel Waldfogel says giving gifts people don't want isn't just bad for the recipients, it's bad for the economy."
Check out Mr. Waldfogul's book, Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays. And when I say "check out", that's just what I mean. You do not have to buy it. Use your local library and borrow a copy on inter library loan if they don't own it. You can do this on line in most places.

Here are some other reading suggestions to help you re-think how you will spend your time and money this year and beyond:

A book that actually lives in our own home library is Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season , by Jo Robinson and Jean C. Staeheli. This book changed my thinking when I read it a number of years ago.

All of these books can be borrowed through public libraries or purchased used at modest prices. A few simple web searches can help you find other interesting books along the same lines.

Yesterday, I asked my youngest son what he might like for Christmas. This 22 year old bachelor who lives on his own in a humble apartment (and to my mind could use a number of things) answered, " A pan of lasagna and a batch of chocolate chip cookies."

Ah, my sweet. Music to my ears.

Stay turned for more holiday suggestions that won't hurt the environment, your bank account, nor the nation's economic trade imbalance.