Thanksgiving has happened so now America shops for Christmas. Well, I don't, but it seems like everyone else does. The economy depends on it. It seems to me there has got to be better ways to base economies than just accumulating stuff. I'm more inclined to give home cooked food. People eat the cookies or whatever and they aren't burdened with more things to cram into their houses or landfills.
I recently lectured a couple of my friends about buying kids too much plastic. I felt guilty afterwards as both friends are enthusiastic grandmas who want to spoil their grandchildren -- but maybe they are exactly the kinds of people I should lecture about plastic?
Think about it, we ship oil across the world to be turned into plastic in a third world country, or we buy oil from the Middle East with its problems, before shipping it to the third world country. Making the plastic is a toxic mess that gets into the air and water, poisoning the underpaid workers and getting into the global environment. Once the all-important plastic stuff is created, it's shipped back around the world where it will be used for a short time before it's thrown away. This doesn't even factor in the excessive plastic packaging, or the trees that are cut down for all the Amazon shipping boxes, or the fact that there are oil spills and other mistakes that dump plastic in the oceans.
When I visit the homes of people with children, I'm amazed at the amount of stuff little kids have. It's crazy. The kids don't even play with all that stuff. One family has a couple of T-ball stands in the back yard. I watched the boys have a good time whacking plastic balls with plastic bats. That's nice, except I drove home and thought about the old days. T-ball was a wooden post nailed to a wooden X base. The ball was leather stuffed with who knows what, rat fur as far as I know. Renewable resources at any rate. The kids learned to hit the ball, then they didn't need the T anymore. The wood was used for something else or it returned to the Earth by rotting in the backyard, but the plastic T, bat, and ball exists forever and probably end us in a bird's stomach.
I know, I know, some of you adore Christmas shopping. You love spoiling the kiddies. I know nobody wants to be lectured. At the same time, can I suggest that you buy more Earth-friendly gifts? Cuddling a kid on the couch and reading a book together is good. Every kid (and adult) loves cookies. Maybe you could make a snuggly stuffed animal or blankie for them? I'm not anti-gift, I'm just trying to stop people from giving their kids their weight in plastic every year. Give them experiences and memories. Take them to the zoo or make crafts together.
I did this Christmas art for the Mensa Bulletin's December issue. It doesn't have much to do with "brain" other than encouraging people to use their brains a little differently when shopping. Illustration Friday has forgotten the meaning of Friday in its name. Oh well, if they don't follow the rules that frees me up to ignore the rules too, right?
I hope everyone has a happy, cookie filled, plastic-free holiday season!