In the U.S. alone $25 Billion, that's billion dollars, worth of gifts have no value to the receiver and then just become waste, according to Jel Waldfogel economics professor at Wharton.
We are not the biggest seasonal spenders, 12th out of the top 26 nations, isn't that amazing.
Add to that the waste of lighting, packaging, and wrapping, fuel etc and we are swimming in seasonal waste.
The more I think about that, the more I want to scream "I'm as mad as hell and can't take it anymore!" Peter Finch in Network, 1976.
Should this solstice celebration be a completely wasteful season?
No wonder we get crabby and our familial dynamics fall completely apart.
It is like a Potlach (see my July post). A Native American practice where wealth is given away or burn up to prove how wealthy you are.
But this year's waste comes at a time when we shouldn't be wasting precious resources, we need to be investing in our future and investing in those who have been hit the hardest by the ongoing recession.
So my suggestion for gifts this year:
- More money given to charity and valuable non-profit organizations. I upped my amount significantly.
- Gifts of time and energy to friends and families. Certificates for babysitting, dog walking, errand running, etc.
- Gifts of stock in green/sustainable companies for infants and responsible older children.
- Home made food" gifts that necessary, used up and create minimal waste.
- Re-gifting, recycling, reusing.