If aliens studied us during our frenzied holiday activities, they might think the true meaning of Christmas is getting more stuff. If so, here's our theme song.
Whether it sounds like Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas or Happy (late) Solstice to you, it's all the same to the retailers, as the money from a holiday gift purchase vs that from a Christmas gift purchase spends just the same. The mad rush to buy gifts for each other this time of year, especially the obligatory ones we buy just because we know we'll be receiving some and don't want it to be awkward, is responsible for generating a lot of income for businesses, while also consuming a massive amount of resources and producing a boat-load of trash.
Often it ends up leaving us with a whole bunch of extra stuff afterward, either from gifts that are funny but useless, unwanted or unneeded, or because you still have the older version of a new gift, or maybe because the gifts are essentially single-use or disposable or poorly designed and cheaply made.
I'm not anti-gift, and I'll be the first to admit that not all 'stuff' is inherently bad or evil, environmentally speaking, but I do lean strongly toward anti-consumerism in my own life, so the practice of buying gifts just because we need to give a gift is a strange one to me. And while I like receiving store-bought gifts as much as the next guy, I'd rather get something personal or simple or handmade than get the newest gizmo or gadget, because quality and good intentions go a lot farther in my book than do quantity and obligation.
We've covered the issue of stuff extensively here on TreeHugger, so the idea that we don't need any more stuff isn't a new one, but in the spirit of the season, this animated musical is the perfect theme song for last minute shoppers:
Happy Merry Seasons Greetings Holiday Christmas!