For so many, “the holidays” have been in full tinsel and package for a couple of weeks now with holiday TV ads and flyers starting Thanksgiving week saying loudly without words, “get out there, shop, buy and spend!”
Wait a minute… But what about Christians? Can we buy into the spending hype the stores are selling? In other words, is it OK for Christians to shop, wrap, gift and indulge in the “holiday spirit” like everyone else? What about Black Friday? We like bargains too!
Being a Christian Green Blogger, I have a bit of unique perspective. My Instagram feed is full of both Christian content (think EWTN & ChurchPOP) AND eco-friendly content like Earth911 and a slew of green bloggers.
What came across my Insta feed this year, however, left me heartbroken from both sides…
Being Green & Being Christian Shouldn’t be Opposites
According to most of the eco-friendly/green commenters on Instagram, those who took an airplane to visit their families for Thanksgiving or bought a new TV on Black Friday are huge hypocrites not worthy of their eco-friendly hashtags. AND, the Christian commenters are all for buying & selling with full vigor!
What bothers me the most about this is that they are both WRONG.
I admit I am a Black Friday shopper.
Do I go out and spend, spend, buy, buy, buy — camping out to get the cheapest, fastest, and most? No, of course not. So why do I go?
I go for family, tradition, and fellowship.
It’s a tradition in my husband’s family to spend Black Friday shopping together for family Christmas gifts. These past 10 years or so it’s turned into Mothers-in-law & Daughters-in-law shopping together for our kids, but it’s so much more than that.
We waste time together. We shop, we eat, we laugh, we connect. Mostly good, sometimes imperfect, but always together.
So when the eco-friendly crowd blasts all Black Friday shoppers and consumers of air travel as evil incarnate, they majorly miss the mark.
AND, when the Christian crowd encourages indiscriminate shopping and bargain hunting, they also miss the mark —by a long shot.
So how should Christians approach Christmas shopping? What’s the answer?
Intention. Consideration. Balance.
If you live in Denver and your parents live in Florida, of course, you should fly to visit them once in a while. If you need a new TV because one of your kids accidentally shattered your old one with a pretty pink fairy wand when she was aiming for her brother, of course, you may buy a new one — even at a Black Friday discount.
But, be intentional. Strive to make your travel as green as possible.
Pack your own water bottle and snacks in reusable containers. Fly on an airline with proven eco-friendly policies. Avoid being wasteful and consuming disposables in the airport.
Consider Your Impact Before You Buy
If you buy a new TV, make effort to properly dispose of your old one in a way that has the least negative environmental impact. Research new products made as ethically responsible as possible. Reuse, recycle and dispose of the packaging appropriately.
Make Balanced and Eco-friendly Shopping Decisions
If you chose to shop on Black Friday (or during any other sale), shop only for what you really need and buy gifts responsibly. Don’t buy the cheap items that will probably be thrown away in a few months after Christmas. (They are literally made to be disposable.)
When buying gifts, ask yourself a few questions before you buy, “Will he really enjoy this gift and be thankful for it or am I giving this gift just so he will be excited that I gave him a lot of gifts?” Another question we need to ask when gift giving is “Is this healthy for her and for the environment?”
Being intentional and shopping with consideration and balance will probably be more time-consuming. It will often be inconvenient, even hard. But, this is part of our responsibility as Christians.
Pope Francis is widely quoted from Laudato Si’ for saying, “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” God gifted his creation to us for our use and care, so we cannot in good conscience fill it up with more trash in celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas.
This year, be green. Be faithful and joyful for the gifts we are given and responsible with those that we give. God bless!
Don’t forget to pin it! Thanks!