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My mother-in-law showed up at my door this morning with two giant bags of clothing from Mervyns. “They’re going out of business, everything was 70% off!” she said as she eagerly showed me her loot.

“But we don’t need any more clothes,” I said, a bit panicked as she pulled out shirt after new shirt that she purchased for my two boys.

“..but it was 70% off!”

But it still cost money, I thought. It is still more STUFF. It is still just one more example of how Americans are wired to spend, spend, spend this holiday and accumulate more and more STUFF.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love my mother-in-law and she always has the best intentions. However this morning’s episode reminded me once again of how obsessed American’s are with STUFF. We just don’t need that much STUFF! And with the advanced in technology, the Internet, and more attention towards global warming, Americans should easily be able to take more steps away from accumulating so much STUFF.

The tragedy that happened last week when a man got trampled by overly eager Wal-Mart shoppers was clearly the peak of this over-consumerist society (see story here) The family of the man that died is suing Wal-Mart not only because of the lack of security or safety measures, but because they say that Wal-Mart was responsible for marking prices down so low, and basically working shoppers up into a frenzy. Seriously! Can American consumerism get any worse?

During the month of December, Americans become exceptionally wasteful. Marketers are wasteful with the amount of catalogs they send out. Every day since Thanksgiving ended, my mailbox has been packed full of catalogs – and multiple ones from the same companies! After all, how many Crate & Barrel catalogs do I need? And I get it; Bed Bath & Beyond has 20% off Coupons. Why can’t they just have these items available online so I can download when I need them?

And why get in the car and DRIVE to shop after shop, when again, the technology is easily available to do all your Christmas shopping online. And back to the issue of American’s just having too much STUFF in general; why not buy family members something that doesn’t impact the environment. Why not buy them a gift certificate to iTunes.com or a new e-book. If your family isn’t tech savvy enough to appreciate these types of gifts, why not download a great recipe and make a batch of homemade goodies. Old fashioned home cooking is something that is appreciated, useful, and doesn’t take up room in our landfills a few years later.

Energy use during the holidays is another matter of concern. Americans eagerly show off their holiday spirit by cutting down trees and hanging Christmas lights while draining precious energy sources. Why aren’t more American’s demanding Solar Christmas lights!?

I don’t mean to dampen your Christmas spirits. After all, I am named “Holly” and was born during the Christmas season. I am a fan of holiday gatherings, eggnog and candle lit nights. We even have our house decorated with Solar Christmas lights. I am just hoping that by writing this blog today, it will get a few of you to rethink how you celebrate the season, and what you can do to use technology to reduce your global footprint this holiday.

If you’ve got more holiday ideas that reduce consumerism and help the environment, I’d like to hear about it. Post your comments her

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Billy Dec. 7, 2008 @ 7:04 p.m.

Solar lights are a great idea! How about e-holiday cards as well.


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