Apologies for the title but I can’t think of anything else to call it.
It came upon me when I was standing writing this first draft in a damp notebook out in the dusky field, with dripping stems and little creatures settling into night. And I haven’t managed to refine it – the title sums it up too well.
You see, I’ve had a couple of excursions to city lately and it’s a bit of a shock!
I love the city and the contrast of it and had some shopping to do towards Christmas. But I get a bit overwhelmed with the crowds and the crush after this rural solitude, especially as we visited a huge shopping outlet which I would normally recoil from in terror. But I was even more overwhelmed than normal.
Actually, I came away appalled.
It was the amount that did it! The mountains of totally meaningless crap that people are persuaded to buy for those who have everything they need anyway. Most of it disposable meaningless crap that has no doubt cost the planet in resources to produce and will doubly cost the planet when it ends up in landfill after Christmas.
The pointlessness of it! The vulgarity of the amount!
Could we not all take a serious moment to consider this? To consider the cost earth-wise of all this dustbin bound paraphernalia? Of yet another present for a child who probably is inundated with presents to the point of boredom, another ornament or plastic trash for the Christmas house already creaking under the strain?
The earth will certainly be creaking.
More does not mean better. But judging by the amount we buy at Christmas this seems to be the ethos we’re upholding and the lesson we’re teaching our children.
Don’t get me wrong; I like buying gifts – a few. I also like making them, purchasing them second hand, or finding something that’s valued. And I suppose I have my share of meaningless crap too – just not that much – the decoration, wrapping and gifts have been thoughtfully created or reused. Nature has a hand in it too.
But couldn’t we create a more meaningful way of gift giving and enjoying Christmas with loved ones than one which is charged with commercialism, materialism and trashes the planet far worse than the living room floor is trashed after present opening?
What kind of lies is this telling our kids? That the more we buy the better Christmas is? That the more presents we get the more people love us? That waste or pollution doesn’t matter at Christmas and yet another set of lights or disposables is okay?
I don’t think so.
As the sun sinks itself into its rosy bed for the night and my nose and finger ends start to chill I ponder this. I ponder ways of making Christmas more meaningful than materialistic. With less cost to the purse and the planet. Less commercial hype for the children. And more imbued with a sense of togetherness than a sense of buying.
Meaningful lives cannot be bought. They are made. Meaningful celebrations are the same. And we certainly need to think about the meaning in planetary terms.
The 29th is Buy Nothing Day (check it out) – we need to do it for far more than a day!