Over the years, individuals are becoming increasingly cynical about the holiday season; especially regarding two major domains: decorations and gifts. Decorations seem to be a wasteful use of energy resources, while gifts end up becoming a wasteful use of material resources. However, I refuse to “bah-hum-bug” my way out of Christmas so soon, so instead, I suggest we employ some compromises.
With regards to our holiday decorating habits, we are heading in the right direction, but have not reached full efficiency yet. In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (one of my favourite movies), we see that Clark Griswald’s (played by Chevy Chase), attempt at installing thousands of twinkling lights on his home is nothing but comedic. Fortunately, in the real world, most homeowners are more modest in their decorative extent, but the concern of unnecessary electrical usage still arises. An easy way of curbing your energy spending is through the use of LED (Light-Emitting Diodes) and Solar-powered lights in replacement of conventional incandescent lights.
LED lights have gained popularity over the recent years, and rightfully so. Compared to traditional lights, LEDs are an excellent way of reducing your electrical usage and subsequent electrical bills (by approximately 90%), while also reducing risk of fire hazards (traditional bulbs release a large amount of heat, potentially risking trees to catch fire). Furthermore, these lights are known to last between 30-50 years, which makes your initial investment completely economical.
Now if only it were that easy to be economical when it came to purchases as well. Consumerism seems to have gotten in the way of more important things such as religious traditions, family gatherings, and overall acts of kindness. Nowadays it seems to all be about gifts, gifts, and more gifts! I, for one, am tired of giving and receiving gifts that eventually find themselves on dusty shelves. Therefore, this holiday season I encourage you give the gift of giving. That’s right – give your loved one a gift that tells them they gave something special to someone else. Thanks to organizations such as Oxfam and World Wildlife Fund, you can choose a donation that your recipient would be honoured to have helped; such as providing a goat for an impoverished family, or aiding in the polar bear relief initiative. These benevolent gifts are the purest acts of kindness, and they are sure to prevail.
During the season of giving, they say that “it’s the thought that counts” and I agree… our Earth could not be more deserving.