Christmas: A time to cut down on consumption?

Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:45pm EST
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By Nick Rosen

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - If the environment is high on your agenda this Christmas then ditch the pointless presents, lighten that table groaning with food, change the log blazing in the fire and consider your options to the traditional tree.

"The big opportunity this holiday" said Graham Hill founder of a leading green web site, is "to get together as a family, talk to each other about what Christmas means to us, and then design our own holiday."

If that is a stretch for most, even the high priests of capitalism agree that consumption these days, whether at Christmas or any other time of the year, has gone too far.

"There is a danger that the green agenda will be side-lined by economic difficulties and that's not right, but one of the interesting things about this recession will be how it might encourage sustainable or responsible consumption," Martin Sorrell, boss of WPP, the global advertising and marketing agency told Reuters.

Re-using old wrapping paper, "re-gifting" unwanted presents, and making cards, decorations or presents together with the children are all traditional ways of saving money at Christmas which have taken on a new environmental significance.

But careless Christmas giving is not the only tradition under threat. Eco-Christians are being asked to forego the traditional, heavily lubricated pre-Christmas parties.

"Reserve your celebration for the day itself and the 12 days afterwards," advises Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, who speaks for the Church of England on environmental matters.

Greeting cards can be emailed, or for the adventurous, try Plant ME plantable cards - they look conventional but instructions on the back tell the recipient what flower to expect if they bury it in the garden.   Continued...