The Lessons Of The Christmas Season – Honolulu Civil Beat


Three years ago my dad put his foot down and announced that, after spending an arm and a leg on my college tuition, we needed to have a Sustainable Christmas.

Naturally, I was taken aback. 

My indignation grew as he explained what sustainable meant to him in this case: almost no material gifts, decorating our small indoor palm rather than buying a Douglas fir and spending Christmas morning baking and eating cinnamon rolls rather than unwrapping presents.

“But, Dad!” I cried. “It won’t feel like Christmas without a Christmas tree! And without presents!”

Despite my reservations, it did. The weeks leading up to Christmas were filled with long FaceTime calls to extended family and friends to have genuine conversations about how they were doing. My brother and I baked gingerbread cookies and later dropped them off at our neighbors.

We spent Christmas Eve at the beach. On the morning of Dec. 25, we woke up to the smell of cinnamon rolls rising in the oven and fresh coffee brewing. Since then, every Christmas has been sustainable in our house.

To say that the holiday season in the United States has been overrun with commercialization in the past years would be an understatement. Christmas has seemingly become synonymous with Buy! Buy! Buy! The holiday industry is worth $465 billion and the average American will spend $900 on gifts this season.