“Christmas is the season of joy, of gift-giving, and of families united.”
This lovely quote comes from Norman Vincent Peale, the minister known for writing The Power of Positive Thinking. Christmas has always been a holiday for giving: to the less wealthy, to your families and strangers.
Everyone who celebrates Christmas tends to be more giving and generous this time around the year, and why shouldn’t they be, it is a holiday celebrating love, forgiveness and joy.
Unfortunately, over the years, the idea of giving has become more material than moral. It has become a business venture for brands where the goal is selling as much as you can. As a result of aggressive branding, people consume excessively.
While the focus is on spending time with family and friends, we still end up spending even more money than needed. We dine and feast our way through Christmas markets and spend thousands on gifts and material things.
Is that necessary?
It turns out that over consumption of material goods around has its tolls on the environment with a shocking amount of waste produced in a short time.
Let’s take a look at the highlights explained in this article discussing the cost of Christmas in the UK.
Wasting the delicious Christmas goodness
While it is fine to indulge in Christmas foods, excessive consumption is troubling.
Each year, we end up wasting more than 230,000 tonnes of food around Christmas. This is equivalent to 2 million turkeys or 275 million pounds in money value. Considering these numbers are from a couple of years ago, the waste has surely increased.
Even though more than 35% of UK residents admit to throwing away more food than usual at Christmas, the overall expenditure on Christmas-specific foods hikes up.
In the truest essence of giving, all this “waste” could feed the needy.
During Christmas, our existing piles of landfills get much bigger!
The biggest issue here is packaging and wrapping paper. Yes, the lovely wrapping papers that come around Christmas are one of the biggest contributors to Christmas-specific waste. An older news article mentioned that the UK threw away enough wrapping paper required to wrap around the Island of Jersey!
Let’s not forget the impact on the environment too and the emissions created in manufacturing and transporting Christmas waste such as wrapping paper, tin foil, plastic packaging, baubles, ornaments and lights.
What does this mean?
The purpose of raising awareness around the environmental issues associated with contemporary Christmas celebrations is not to put you off but to make you more mindful of our actions. It is important to understand the consequences our actions have on this planet that our children call home. Christmas doesn’t have to be about material exchanges and can be focused on the quality of time you spend together as a family.
This Christmas, Big Fish Tutors challenges you to educate your child on the environmental impacts of Christmas. Spend a few minutes with your child to consider and act on three ways to reduce your environmental impact. Here are some suggestions:
- use old newspaper to wrap presents instead of buying new paper
- avoid exchanging physical gifts
- buy a real Christmas tree instead of a fake one
- consider the life span of physical Christmas gifts
- avoid gifts made overseas