It’s no secret in our house that my brother’s two children set the tone for Christmas—even now that they’re 19 and 21 and actual adults. Like a lot of young folks their age, they are very concerned about the environment. So this year, their Christmas lists were crammed with very practical items. Frivolity was out this year. If we were going to buy them something, they wanted it to be something they needed and would have bought for themselves. You got bonus points if you bought something that made an attempt at being environmentally friendly.
So as the mounds of presents were unpacked, out emerged socks, dish towels, reusable water bottles, thermal underwear, and hats. They gave us locally made jams, books about going green, bamboo scarves, and a homemade table. Other than a harddrive, the only really techie gift under the tree was the iPod nano that my brother gave me.
These two aren’t eschewing technology. They organize their lives online. They have iPods, Macs, and Facebook and MySpace accounts. But they’re becoming thrifty and careful about what they buy. Consumerism used to be fun, but now they aren’t that thrilled by it because they’re a lot more aware of the consequences. So they aren’t mad for the latest object, techie or not, because it’s new.