A Lump Of Coal

I don’t know how many times I have heard Kim tell our son Ben, that if he was naughty, Santa would know, and would leave a lump of coal under the Christmas Tree instead of a present.  Don’t get me wrong, he has not been a naughty boy, he is just being a boy and I love him!

Personally, I would prefer that the coal stays in the ground and not placed under the tree.  Alternatively I prefer that it doesn’t get burnt to power the millions upon millions of high wattage Christmas lights that adorn just about every house in the western world.  Sorry if I sound a bit scroogeish, but there is a good reason.  Here is why.

I know the lights look pretty and it helps heighten the spirit of the season for children, but I can see the energy companies rubbing their hands with glee at this time of the year.  I have a few LED Xmas lights strung up on our real tree outside and a few strings inside on our fake tree.  A grand total of 10 watts for the lot!

All around me, I can hear the planet sobbing with sadness from all the CO2-e being released from coal-fired power plants and resources being squandered.  Such a simple act of using energy efficient Christmas lighting which is just as cheap as the normal incandescent bulbs would avert millions of tonnes of CO2-e from being released this year.  Try and tame your inner Griswald this year, please. 

Maybe I over did it with the planet crying bit, but Christmas is the biggest consumptive festival of the year.  More resources get used for little or no purpose at this time of year than of any other.  It just breaks my heart to see unwanted presents thrown away, when they could be donated to charity for someone who would really enjoy the gift. 

We for one are having a simple day tomorrow.  A roast dinner shared by the family, a few thoughtful family gifts, and some family games in the afternoon.  Notice the repeated word?  You guessed it.  Family.  That is what it is all about.  It is not about what you get or more the case didn’t get or consumption for consumption’s sake. 

All I want for Christmas is to be with my wife and children and have an enjoyable time.  Another gift we have given ourselves is an extreme lack of credit card debt.  In fact, we have not bought a single thing on plastic this year!  Everything saved for, and paid in full with cash.  You have to be happy with that!  Credit card debt = $0.

So, on this day and tomorrow, I wish you all a Merry, low carbon, and debt free Christmas.  What else could anyone ask for?

Oh, and have a coal free New Year!


  1. says

    Dear GOG House,

    Wishing you the best of Christmasses and a safe trip into 2009

    Back to the issue , my carbon footprint is now dramatically lower as I have only driven my truch one in the last fortnight, Ive spent very little time at the tv or computer and the only light is seem to need is the love and light from family and friends.

    Have a god one see u soon.


  2. says

    I have to admit that I’d miss it if people didn’t light up their houses but there are lots of LED alternatives around this year. We’ve had LED outdoor and indoor lights for a few years now and although one of the outdoor decorations isn’t, it isn’t up this year either and will be replaced with a low energy alternative next year. I do think it’s important to find a balance in things, so as not to take away the festive cheer whilst treading a little lighter.

    Hope you an your family have the Christmas you’re hoping for. Enjoy :)

  3. says

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Gavin.
    I don’t usually comment but I do enjoy reading – I live not so far away in SE Melbourne and we’re trying to get a bit greener ourselves so its interesting to find out what you’ve been up to.

  4. Anonymous says

    We went for a drive around two nights ago and there wern’t any lights up in our town so the message is getting across slowly but surely ELLIE

  5. The Best Neighbours in the world says

    I hope none of you receive coal this year.

    As soon as Mason wakes up, we’re coming over with our xmas present for butch.

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