Deck the Halls with Over-Consumption...

Photo by [tyger_lyllie] | flickr.com

Photo by [tyger_lyllie] | flickr.com

Ah, the holidays- the time of year filled with quality family time, animated television specials, ugly festive sweaters, a lot of food and well, a lot of everything, to be completely honest. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, but it just seems like every year we consume more and more. What is it that we are consuming? Well first is the holiday preparation: driving to shopping destinations, grocery stores, purchasing decorations.  All of this joy equates to the burning of fossil fuels.

We then consume copious amounts of paper and plastic in order to wrap up the gifts we have purchased. On top of that, when our respective holiday occasions arrive, we proceed to consume large amounts of food- often wasting just as much with spoiled leftovers.

My house looks like Santa’s workshop had a decoration explosion, but as of recently I have been thinking a lot about how I really don’t any of this stuff. Another bath and body works gift set, Christmas pajamas or pair of socks (and if your parents are like mine, I’m sure you get a stocking filled of socks every year) is fine and dandy, but is it necessary? 

Then, while watching one of my favourite web videos- The Story of Stuff (click here to view) it dawned on me that we already consume far more than necessary and that during the holidays this consumption exponentially increases. Something tells me that this is not good for the planet or even for us.

That is why this Christmas I want to make a commitment to reducing my impact on the planet and also trying to do more ethical gift giving.

How you ask? Its small things like using recycled paper as wrapping paper, purchasing gifts that are eco-friendly or Fair Trade certified products.

That is why when I was asked this year what I wanted for Christmas I’ve been asking my friends and family to contribute to my fundraising campaign as part of Engineers Without Borders Canada Perspectives Challenge (click here to go to the website).

Now, this isn’t me shamelessly plugging this campaign (although I would love if this article brings a few more people to the Perspectives Challenge site) – my point is that this holiday season you should give a gift with heart in a way that takes our planet’s finite resources into account.

In the words of the brilliant Dr. Seuss' “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”:

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,

Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?"

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags!"

"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."

"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

Check out other websites, such as World Vision or The World Wildlife Fund to get some other great eco-friendly gift ideas!