Excitement over a finding that more people will buy “greener” presents this holiday season misses the important point. It’s consumption, itself, that is the problem. I found several articles recently that point to more enlightened shopping this year. Here’s an example:

A study of Americans done by the retailer Plow & Hearth, however, shows that some consumers – green consumers – are willing to spend a little more to buy a product that is environmentally friendly. According to an article on Portland Business Journal the study found that
About two-thirds of those going green this year say they are willing to spend between 10 percent and 25 percent more to by ecofriendly holiday green gifts.

So what can we conclude from this? . . . there’s some good news here. Even in these tough economic times, many people are still seeing the importance of making sure that their purchases leave a lighter impact on the earth. They also understand that their eco-friendly purchases may have to come at a higher price tag and are willing to pay extra up to a certain extent.

Giving gifts is a well-established means to show respect and caring for others. Maybe it really is “the thought that counts,” not the object. Material gifts are supposed to signify a relationship wherein the parties are the real gifts to each other. Sustainability depends on rediscovering that it is the caring and the relationship that counts, not the gifts. And remember that gift giving at this season has become a duty to make sure that all the retailers make it into the next year, especially this particular season.

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