Voices Of Youth

Don't let Christmas go to waste

We often see Christmas through children's glistening eyes: the extravagant trees that line Orchard Road and new toys that line stockings.

But this year, I implore others to see Christmas from the point of view of our incinerators and off-shore landfill.

The generous ritualised gifting during Christmas is deeply entrenched in wanton consumerism. And the festivities often contribute to burgeoning local waste.

If we wait till our mindless consumption patterns catch up with us, that would perhaps be too late.

We need to correct the current imbalance between our Christmas gift-giving and its ecological impact.

We need to recognise that the cost of a gift is more than the dollars and cents on the price tag.

We do not have to do away with presents entirely. We just need to develop a consciousness for the environment during our shopping.

For example, opt for presents with minimal packaging. Refuse the free gift-wrapping services or use recycled wrapping paper.

Celebrate the season of goodwill with monetary donations instead of gifts for charities. Remember, too, that frivolous, mass-produced goods do not add value to our ties with others.

So, before we embark on our Christmas shopping spree, let us spare a thought for our environment.

Since it's about the spirit of giving, why not give a better home to our next generation?

Elgenia Wong Tien Min (Miss), 20, second-year university student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2015, with the headline 'Don't let Christmas go to waste'. Print Edition | Subscribe