Wasteful living
If Bill McKibben's main point in "Christmas Unplugged" [Dec. 9] was that materialism damages God's creation and we should change our ways, I agree. If his point was that Christmas should be celebrated frugally because materialism is harmful, I think he neglected a much stronger line of reasoning, and incidentally forgot to mention the significance of Christmas. A stronger and simpler argument would be: Since Christmas commemorates the birth of Christ, Christians should celebrate in a manner appropriate to the event.

It would seem more fitting to celebrate by giving gifts to the poor and homeless, and by worshiping God with awe and adoration for his compassion and humility. We neglect both of these activities year-round, to our shame.

-Susan S. Monk
Chapel Hill, N.C.


I agree wholeheartedly with McKibben's suggestion to turn off our tv sets. My wife and I did that years ago, and we've felt our lives richer for the increase in time spent together and the decrease in meaningless distraction. But he also wants us to stop spending at Christmas. He says to stop spending at $100, but one supposes that he really means to stop, period.

I suggest that McKibben do what my wife and I have found so satisfying. We have "adopted" a needy child through Metro Ministries in Brooklyn, New York. We don't decrease our spending at Christmas, we greatly increase it. We get our "daughter" and her family as many presents as our finances will allow, and we wrap them and send them off and thank God for the opportunity to make a difference in just one family. We spend far more on this family than we do on our own. The joy we receive is incomparable.

If McKibben allowed God more room to worry about his creation and its environment, and spent ...

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