Christmas lights, they’re a thing of wonder aren’t they? As a child our house was always the most extravagantly decorated in the street, and probably the town where outdoor lights came in moderation for most of the busy, middle class families. But our house was like Santa’s grotto. My mum loved Christmas, and always viewed it much like a child – full of pretty objects, shining lights and colourful decorations that brought her joy. As a child our house was envied – plenty of festive spirit inside and out. (And yes, if you haven’t already heard – our Christmas tree was up for nearly 7 years.)
But as I grew older, and especially as I hit my mid teens, even I realised that the exterior of a house speaks nothing of the lives that are lived inside of it. Broken families lives are not made easier by the Christmas period – if anything they are more stressful. Plans of visits and time allocation for different relatives, trying to organise seeing both sets of families, knowing that things might be different and long-time traditions may be broken. Plus the stress of having money problems can cause tension between parents, especially if a relationship is already frayed.
Or perhaps someone is missing at the Dinner table who might have normally been there. Although Christmas is a time for families to get together, it is sometimes the time when those who are no longer with us are missed the most. Stories shared remind us of happy memories, but also the pain of loss.
The lights that surround us at Christmas time should also remind us of the future: the world that we are leaving behind for future generations to enjoy. In our urge to decorate our lives with comfort and luxury and festivities, we should not forget that is our children who will pay for our mistakes – it is our children who will live with the consequences of the things we do. So if we will not curb our selfish behaviour for our peers, perhaps we should for our children, and our grandchildren.
DNCIC recommendations for today:
· Switch off the lights, or at least ration how long they are on for.
· Buy those LED lights, and fill your house with those instead.
· Christmas present problem solved – buy everyone energy efficient light bulbs and rechargeable batteries – and get some for yourself while you’re at it!
· Work out your Carbon footprint – and resolve to reduce it. There are lots of resources on the Web for working our your Carbon footprint and offsetting your Carbon emissions, such as the UK Carbon Footprint project at www.carbonfootprint.com, or the Big Green Switch at www.biggreenswitch.co.uk
· See the Church of England’s Shrinking Your Carbon Footprint campaign at www.cofe.anglican.org
· Switch to a green energy supplier. Again, there are details on the Web and help in switching at websites like the Green Helpline at www.greenhelpline.com
“Unless we change the direction we are heading, we might end up where we are going.” Chinese Proverb