Truer words were never spoken than those of The Office's Michael Scott on Christmas: "Presents are the best way to show someone how much your care. It is like this tangible thing that can point and say, 'hey man, I love you this many dollars-worth". Christmas is a special time of year that brings out the ravenous consumer in all of us: we are lulled by omnipresent holiday melodies and assaulted by flashy commercials until there is no choice but to wave the white flag (or gold card, in this case). Christmas is when you give up your focus and your diet to the all mighty Capitalist Hypnotist: mass media. Widespread consumerism makes it a dangerous time of year. The average American plans to spend around $929-1000 in Christmas-related endeavors, and the number continues to increase each year (with 2015 at @ $830). On top of wasting money, the holiday season gives way to wasted resources. Behind the all-consuming consumer-driven multi-media backdrop of today's Christmas --presented, of course, as the force responsible for maintaining it's "magic" -- is the forgotten or possibly rejected traditional sources of Christmas cheer, (i.e., meaningful family time, helping those in need, community and religious gatherings). Instead, for example, of numbly watching a slew of football games and Christmas movies from the 90s that aren't getting any better, school your racist grandma, or entertain your tween cousin by asking about all the hot middle school gossip. Enjoy the holiday feasts and boozy luncheons, but take your leftovers to a shelter. Additionally, a more ethical Christmas could involve something as simple as wrapping gifts in newspaper, giving second-hand or locally made presents, and/or turning off your outdoor and indoor tree lights when you go to bed. Speaking of trees, real Christmas trees are more environmentally friendly than fake ones. So let the scent of pine and cookies enthrall you, sing along with ubiquitous Christmas music, but don't use this winter wonderland as a scapegoat for your excessive consumer habits.