What Is the True Cost of Christmas?

A few days back - scrolling through our YouTube comments - I came across a witty one from Blitz Fire (actual name) who said:

"Problem is, you're trying to make way too much money off it."


My response to Mr./Ms. Fire included a reference to a quote I recently heard that went something like this: 

When your livelihood is dependent on sustainability and the environment, you fight like the devil to protect it

(apologies for the lack of reference, but I'm not sure exactly where I heard it).

I find this sentiment rings even more true during the holidays - Christmas especially - as it is a season that brings such mixed feelings, even more so as I become more in tune with what it means to be the Dad of two little boys.

On the one hand, holidays like Christmas bring on a feeling of magic - which is incredible to watch when you see the hold it can take on little people.

It's a magic that brings hope, that reconnects and even ignites a spark of gratitude and kindness.

But the version of Christmas most of us are familiar with today was born out of class struggles and violence in NewYork City at the beginning of the 19th century, and if you look around, it's obvious that this struggle continues.

This really smacked me in the face a few years ago when I started learning more about the origins of all those plastic toys my kids have grown to love so much over the last couple of years:

Many toy companies divide their toy orders among dozens or hundreds of factories in order to ensure that their orders in any given factory only consists of a small proportion of that factory’s total orders usually no more than 20 percent. Toy companies will also use this as a basis for avoiding responsibility for poor labor conditions. For example, if CLW uncovers labor rights violations at a Disney supplier factory in China, Disney might respond that it only maintains a small number of orders in the plant and is unable to influence the factory’s behavior.

(Huff Post, 2014)

And now that I run a company that is supposed to be built on an increased awareness of the connectivity of everything, it has lead me to think a little more about what Christmas really costs in terms of its impact on our planet and the people, products and principals that go into making Christmas magic.

So here's to you and your families.  Here's to increasing that awareness, recognizing the connectivity and continuing to turn honest contemplation into meaningful action.

Stay tuned...




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  • Lisa! We just sold out of our lunch bags :(. BUT we’re also totally into reusable straws, as well – stay tuned!

    Melanie @ etee on
  • Love the wraps and would like to see lunch bags. I also found your blogs very interesting. We all need to pay a bit of attention to what we are consuming… perhaps consume a bit less & reuse a bit more. If we all did a bit….. Reusable straws are my latest.

    Lisa on
  • Yes I did give the tee wraps as Christmas gifts. Some to those who don’t use computers so I had to go over how to clean and use the wraps. Everyone loves them and I have shared your website with everyone who asks.
    A reflection on your story above: I realized years ago that Christmas ‘habits’ create a huge wasteful activity – from extra food from parties just being thrown out to the gift wrap being kicked around after the gifts have been open ( we have a very large family)- so a few things we did to change it were sponsor a family and give gifts to those who really need it, reuse and/ or create reusable bags for gift giving, every one brings potluck and shares for mealtime eating. The reusable bags may be something you could expand upon?

    Barbara on
  • enjoyed your blogs
    am encouraged by the direction(s) you’re going
    I am very hopeful for your success. cb

    carolyn bowering on
  • In gift-giving the last few Christmases, I have tried to include products that have turned my daily life toward less waste or a more natural way of life. Nothing I do as one person will change the landfills, but if I introduce Etee food wraps to my grown children who may share with their friends, who knows? This year I not only gave Etee food wraps, but I asked for them, too. I got. I gave. They gave. They got. It was fun and gave us a great laugh. Thank you for your mission and products. Can’t wait to try the lunch bag!

    TERRI on

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