In an editorial in the Centre Daily Times, Pennsylvania, Community columnist Nalini Krishnankutty, a journalist of Indian origin, called for an end to the US practice of wrapping Christmas gifts.
The threat of climate change is reason enough to reduce all that waste, she said, and suggested a better way – give the gifts in re-usable bags or wrapped in old newspaper. She pointed out that no envelopes, cards or gift wraps are used in Kerala at the time of Vishu.
She wrote: "There was a time, someone told me recently, when people received an orange and an apple as gifts at Christmas — unwrapped — and were happy to get an orange and an apple. Does Santa remember that time? What would he say if he heard of gift giving in my parents’ generation, in faraway India?
"For our New Year (Vishu), in April, my family followed a tradition of Vishukaineetam, literally translated to “extending the hand at Vishu” for giving and receiving gifts.
"The oldest person in the house gave gifts to all the younger people and anyone in their employment — gifts of money and fruits to family members and money, fruits, vegetables and rice to employees — all given unadorned and received with thanks.
"As a child, I happily received my Vishukaineetam money directly in my hand while calculating my total “loot” for the day. No envelopes, cards or gift wraps were used, no indulging a need to surprise — saving so many trees and creating less pollution."
Read on: "Helping Santa save the world, one gift at a time"