By Sheryl Eisenberg
Author, This Green Life
I still remember virtually every gift I received in childhood, not because the gifts were so special, but because they were so few.
Though I was a comfortable child of the post-war boom, the times were thrifty compared to today. I never had more than a few dolls, games, crayons, records, books, a bike and a sled. And that was more than enough, yet not so much more that I didn’t appreciate every item — and enjoy it to the end of its useful life, or my childhood, whichever came first.
What middle class American child can say the same today? Our kids are so inundated with playthings, they need bins and chests and extra closets to store them. We adults are equally awash in our grown-up toys.
Nevertheless, we are rushing to the stores as usual this holiday season to buy more for our kids and each other.
No one wants to give up on the holidays or the sense of abundance they bestow. The only question is how to be generous without bankrupting the Earth. Here are some thoughts.
If you don’t know of anything a friend or family member genuinely needs or wants, resist the urge to buy something useless. Instead:
Remember, the greatest gift of the season is the holidays themselves. It’s the one time of year when society permits you — indeed, encourages you — to escape from the daily hurly-burly and experience the meaning and poetry of life. Don’t miss the chance.
Sheryl Eisenberg is the author of This Green Life, a monthly journal of sorts published by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). She is a writer, web developer and long-time advisor to NRDC. Sheryl is based in New York City. To subscribe to This Green Life, click here.
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Photo credit: Sheryl Eisenberg
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