Monday, April 23, 2007

The Cost of Celebrating Christmas: American style

As I began reading chapter 12 (It's Coming on Christmas) of Elizabeth Royte's book "Garbage Land", I was shocked by the number of holiday catalogs that hit our mailboxes in 2001-a whopping 17 billion or 59/person!! I receive approx. 2-3 catalogs per day (not including the holiday season) and it makes me crazy! I've decided that I must be on every mailing list that exists because it takes me about 30 minutes/night to sort through my mail trying to decide what to keep, recycle, tear-up or just throw in the fireplace.

Having already established my own set of issues about how commercialized the holidays have become, I became curious about how much we Americans were really spending during the holidays. According to the U. S. Census, Americans mail 1.9 billion cards to family & friends every year and receives 20 billion letters, packages, and cards between Thanksgiving and Christmas (USPS). In December 2004, we spent $31.9 billion at retail stores and in 2002 we cut down 20.8 million Christmas trees! So, who's birthday is it anyway?


Anonymous said...

I totally understand what you're saying, Nancy, because I'm on every mailing list out there too. It's especially disturbing when I get more than one copy of the same catalog. Because I have a hyphenated last name, I get all kinds of name variations, which greatly multiplies the amount of junk mail. I signed up for, which is really convenient because they do the work for you of getting your name removed from the mailing lists. Additionally, when I order something now, I'm asking the company to not put my name on a mailing list or to put it on an email list only.

mckown said...

Kim, that's a good idea- signing up for the I am definitely going to do this. I get catalogs from companies that I last ordered something from five years ago!