The Pies Have It


OPINION — If you, like many Americans, have just finished celebrating Christmas in the standard, traditional, American fashion, then you’ve probably gained several pounds, burned a lot of extra electricity by lighting up your house and Christmas tree, and are now just about ready to strangle some of your favorite relatives. Which is exactly the way Christmas is supposed to be. At least that’s how I do it.

Well, according to a lot of colleges around the country, I’m doing it wrong. The news website ‘The College Fix’ recently reported that many American institutions of higher education have been encouraging students to engage in ‘sustainable’ practices during the Christmas season. And in case you’re wondering, I don’t think they’re using ‘sustainable’ to mean pacing yourself on the ham and turkey and mashed potatoes so you’ll be able to eat half a pecan pie and a pound of fudge after supper. They mean something else.

What they mean is, if you do Christmas right, the way your parents and grandparents did it, then you’re destroying the environment, and you should stop. And they offer helpful suggestions on how you can do that. And I have to admit I agree with some of their ideas.

For example, the College of William & Mary has a ‘director of sustainability,’ which is evidently a real job, including a real salary. I have no idea what that person does, but I suspect he goes around campus grumbling and turning off lights, the way my dad used to do at our house. I wonder how much you can make doing that. Probably a lot.

Also, for the record, I think it was ‘Joseph & Mary,’ instead of ‘William & Mary.’ But I’ll refrain from calling the school. I’m sure they’d be plenty embarrassed if anyone pointed that out.

Anyway, this director of sustainability suggested re-gifting old items at Christmas, instead of buying new stuff. Capital idea. Of course, I’ve been doing that for years. One Christmas I gave my wife a set of hand towels I acquired by taking them out of a drawer in the kitchen. They didn’t quite match, but it’s the thought that counts. It just doesn’t count for much.

Another great idea is to skip wrapping presents, because using wrapping paper irritates spotted owls or striped tree frogs or something. Now, I’m not too worried about what the owls think, but I’m all for not wrapping stuff. It’s a pain. People are just going to tear the paper off, anyway. Besides, when I try to wrap something, you can usually tell what it is without even shaking it. I’m not what you’d call an adept at wrapping stuff.

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Above: My bad wrapping capabilities.

Furman University agrees about re-gifting stuff. They said, “Going to a white elephant party? Don’t buy something new. Gifts are just as fun, and sometimes funnier, when they’re re-gifted from last year or come from the attic.”

The attic? I never even thought of that. Who wouldn’t love to get a box of moldy clothes and worn out shoes that don’t fit, and were last stylish during the Nixon administration? Not to mention that you’d be killing two birds with one shot, providing a gift and cleaning out the attic at the same time, and saving money while you do it. It’s a win-win-win.

Other colleges offered ideas like sending gifts electronically, which is possible if you’re giving gift certificates or sending e-cards. I’m not real clear on what an e-card is, but I’m thinking the owls are in favor. Plus you don’t have to lick envelopes that way. I have to admit it kind of takes the joy out of opening a present, but you can’t have everything, and if you could it would be bad for the environment. Probably.

The big issue though, with sustainability, is Christmas lights. Your average leftist hates Christmas lights, because they make people happy. Leftists don’t like happy people, because happy people don’t properly assume guilt over their blatant consumerism. Can’t have that. Guilt is what leftism is based on. They lie awake at night, knowing that someone, somewhere, is happy, and Christmas causes a lot of that. Leftists are basically the Grinch with a bad case of plausible whineability.

So lights are a Bad Thing. On your house, on your shrubbery, on your lawn decorations, on your vehicle, and on your Christmas tree. The activists at Gonzaga University are especially worried about lights, because the campus has a huge Christmas tree covered with them. Not good, particularly since Gonzaga is located in Spokane, Washington, which is a writhing nest of leftist activists. You can’t sling a cat in Spokane without hitting a leftist activist, probably one who advocates against cat slinging.

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Above: Lights are bad, especially on big Christmas trees. 

But Gonzaga is also a Catholic school, and Catholics are big on Christmas, because of Jesus, you know, so it’s a conundrum, what to do about the giant Christmas tree, with all its earth-killing lights. It’s like when you really, really want to eat that burrito at the gas station, but you know you’re going to pay for it later, if you get my drift.

Personally, I like sustainability, but I think Christmas is worth destroying the planet just a little bit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take a swing at one of my favorite relatives . . .

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