The exchange of consumer products in Christmas wrapping, many of which will be unneeded and/or unappreciated, contributes to the sending of consumer waste to landfills, unless consumers choose to regift them.
The cultivation of Christmas trees for display during a few weeks, before they are sent to landfills, represents a monoculture which sometimes reduces the use of arable land for agriculture.
Artificial Christmas trees are manufactured by processes which may have harmful effects on the environment.
Christmas decorations for homes and for Christmas trees are consumer products which are sometimes discarded to landfills.
Electric Christmas lights consume electricity, which, by most means of production, harms the environment. But remember candles and oil lamps can be fire hazards.
Increased travel to visit friends and relatives generally involves the consumption of fossil fuels.
One solution to counter the negative effects is alternative giving to help you to save money, reduce your Christmas carbon footprint and have a more eco friendly and sustainable Christmas.
Some manufacturers and retailers have developed new ranges of less environmentally damaging products in response to consumer interest and demands. Support these efforts.
When buying gifts check that they have not been manufactured using cheap labour in sweatshops in third world countries. Read labels carefully. Be aware of false or misleading claims that products are safe for the environment. Support local Oxfam/Fair Trade/Amnesty retail outlets. Try to wrap presents with ribbon or string instead of sticky tape.
Catholicism and the commercialization of Christmas are two different things. First, Christmas is a Christian holiday that includes Baptist, Lutherans, Orthodox, Evangelical, Episcopal, Mormons, Adventists, Protestants, and multiple others. The custom of gift giving is rooted in pre-Christian Rome where undesirables of the community gave gifts to the royals during the Saturnalia holiday in December. In the 4th century, in order to influence and Christianize the pagans, the Vatican decreed Christ’s birth on the 25th of December which correlated with the last day of the Saturnalia week. It is thought by scholars that Christ’s actual birth was sometime in March. This type of layering over pagan holidays was not uncommon; All Saints Day and Halloween for example. So gift giving is not a Christian creation. It is rooted in a pagan holiday ritual. The commercialization of Christmas is nothing more than businesses wishing to make a buck and has nothing to do with Christmas as a religious day of observance.
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