Merry Christmas! I know that our readers are religiously diverse, but Christmas is my own tradition—so I’m wishing you all a warm Merry Christmas from me and my family!
I appreciate each reader who visits OurValues.org—and I’m especially thankful for readers who take a moment to add comments. This is an experiment in civil dialogue and OurValues.org works best when we’re talking to each other.
I’m not going to add anymore stories until Monday—but I welcome anyone to comment further on this challenge of listing Top Values Stories. (Scroll down to read the first two stories in this series.) I’m intrigued by the many comments on Monday and also several notes we’ve received from you about Christmas lights.
The apparent nationwide reduction in Christmas lights ranks No. 3 among values stories on my own list for 2009—although as Susan from a suburb of Atlanta points out: The lights aren’t fading everywhere in the U.S.
Around my home in Michigan, the tall evergreen across the street isn’t lit this year. Homes that are usually resplendent with lights are dark. Others offer illumination on a modest scale. Have you noticed this, too?
Why is this a top values story? Holiday lights are a kind of public good—every passerby is free to enjoy them (or not) and no one is excluded. Less of that public good is offered this year.
The scarcity of lights is an indicator, a sign of our times. We’re still in a grinding recession. We’re reeling still from the Wall Street crash. Many Americans are still jobless, without insurance. We’re still mired in foreign wars that drain our resources. Michigan, my home state, boasts the highest unemployment rate in the nation. We’re facing big cuts in public education. Our leaders can barely strike a deal over healthcare reform and even more contentious issues lie ahead.
Lights aren’t much, really, in all this. Lights add a little to the electrical bill—unless you’re Buddy Hall (Danny Devito), who, in the movie “Deck the Halls,” illuminated his house with enough wattage to be seen from space.
But just about everyone is cutting back, everywhere. A new frugality is upon us. That’s what makes the scarcity of lights a values story—a story of priorities and the decisions we have to make about how to spend time and money.
What do you think? Are we in the age of frugality?
What else should we put on our list of top values stories of 2009?
Add your picks!
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