Giftmas comes but once a year, and I’ve participated for several years now. Rhonda Parrish, author and anthologist, creates this annual event in aid of the Edmonton (Alberta) Food Bank – this year she’s aiming to bring light to someone’s darkness. And if you can’t donate to the Edmonton Food Bank here, then why not put a few things aside and take them to your local food bank? Or a present package for kids who won’t otherwise get one. Or many other ways of bringing some sunshine into an otherwise dull life.

But please, reduce the candlepower in these dark nights, and turn the lights off before you go to bed–give all those who need to recover in darkness a chance to do so.

Giftmas 22 Light in Darkness banner

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and cohosting this month are:

 Joylene Nowell Butler,Chemist Ken, Natalie Aguirre, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

Insecure Writers Support Group badge

Too much light in darkness

I am seriously worried about all the light that is being poured into our skies at night. Apart from the wasted electricity–goodness knows we need to save the planet by not using so much of that–all this light is killing not only nocturnal creatures, but ourselves.

I knew about the disappearance of hundreds of types of insects including moths from our countryside where light pours from highway and security lights into spaces that should be dark at night.

The irony of security lights is that by keeping observers reliant on ‘day’-light, intruders can keep to the shadows and do their deeds undetected.

Worse than that, it skews whole populations of animals into giving birth at the wrong time, when there is no food for the offspring, and for making them not reproduce at all, since they don’t get the signals from the moon they expect. If coral doesn’t reproduce, it dies. So do all the small fish that rely on it. If turtle hatchlings head for the lights of cities when they think that’s the moon, they die. A whole raft of creatures that would come together as plankton don’t. That means there is less for fish to eat. Then there are fewer fish for us to eat…

All because we are producing too much light, not only near the sea, but everywhere. You can read Johan Ekloff’s new book The Darkness Manifesto and make up your own mind. Basically, we are killing our planet in many ways, but too much light is the most easily remedied.

darkness manifesto

Light in darkness was welcome in primitive times. It provides hope and safety where there seems to be none. We all need a light some time.

A light. Not several thousand strung around every house in the neighbourhood.

What can you do?

Please, please, this holiday season… Have a care for those for whom light in the wrong place at the wrong time leads to sleep disturbance, mental illness, physical incapacity, and loss of the food supply chain.

Turn off the lights. Enjoy the stars, or the sight of blinking lights as planes (and satellites) pass overhead.

We don’t need to light up all our buildings to prove how important and successful we are.

Let’s be successful by saving our planet instead.


  • Donate to the charity of your choice (like the Edmonton Food Bank)
  • Give time if you can’t give money
  • Write stories that help people understand they can change things for the better
  • Bring hope
  • Bring a light in the darkness.

And the Question of the month…

Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?

Neither. Holidays are holidays. I do not schedule anything for holidays. Oh, except for reading. I generally finish all my reading challenges for the end of the year, and possibly do some planning in the week between Christmas and New Year. This year I’ll be doing the same as last, but with Volume 2 of Stephen Sondheim’s memoirs. Reading the books with the lyrics and comments, and listening to the music. It worked for me last year. 🙂

See you in the New Year, if you don’t nip back for any of my festive goodies later in the month, like my hopefully hilarious Year in Books (which is great for copying to your own blog and filling in your own titles) – copy last year’s.

See what others have been doing about Giftmas 22 – Light in Darkness here:

Giftmas 2022 Light in Darkness Schedule

Tuesday, November 28: Introduction blog post —

Tuesday, November 29: Laura VanArendonk Baugh —

Wednesday, November 30: Samantha L. Strong —

Thursday, December 1: Beth Cato —

Friday, December 2: Ashley  —

Saturday, December 3: Paula Johanson —

Sunday, December 4: Iseult Murphy —

Monday, December 5: Stephanie Cain —

Tuesday, December 6: Stephanie L. Weippert —

Wednesday, December 7: Jemima Pett —

Thursday, December 8: Wrap-up post —

Update, December 12: Final fundraising totals

Light in Darkness #IWSG #Giftmas2022
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14 thoughts on “Light in Darkness #IWSG #Giftmas2022

  • 7 December, 2022 at 11:49 am

    That’s great that you don’t have a schedule during the holidays. I agree it’s a great idea to donate to a food bank at this time of year.

    • 7 December, 2022 at 10:21 pm

      I have a list of things I can do if I get bored… but the main thing is to relax properly for a change!

    • 7 December, 2022 at 10:17 pm

      I knew about various animals in different habitats that were affected. When you put it all together, it’s horrifying.

    • 8 December, 2022 at 2:43 pm

      YES! I try to share about Dark Sky lighting when I can, and I’m personally conscious about not lighting unnecessarily at night. We continue to do harm with so much artificiality. I hate that I can see closed businesses from miles away. Embrace the natural night! It’s healthy for all of us.

  • 7 December, 2022 at 4:25 pm

    I struggle about the lights—I need all I can get this time of year. But obviously, turning them off at bedtime is a no-brainer. I set my outdoor light on a timer, but now you have me worried about messing up the critters’ sense of dusk. OTOH I live in a city. Lights everywhere, though at least not over the top in my neighborhood.

    • 7 December, 2022 at 10:19 pm

      I find wearing my yellow jacket does all the brightness I need in the winter days, but yes, there’s a difference between getting light to keep ourselves well, and dark to keep everything else well. There’s some research that humans get worse slepp when there’s too much ambient light around at night, too.

  • 8 December, 2022 at 12:40 am

    Thank you for all of the information. I have known light pollution was an issue for years, but not considered all of the consequences. I do long for a dark night with no lights. My happiest nighttime memories are of visiting my aunt’s farm and laying out all night to see everything I could never see at home near a city.

  • 8 December, 2022 at 5:17 am

    I’m between New York City and Philadelphia. Light pollution is a known problem. (If you’ve seen the children’s movie “Madagascar,” the zoo animals talk about “the star is out.” ⭐ It’s difficult to see much of the night sky.) The worst example I can think of is the warehouses around here. Pallets are stored outside, where bats sometimes get in the wood. And then pallets are transported to warehouses, which are open 24/7/365 with lights always on. And the bats freak out. 🦇 And several are endangered, so it becomes a very big deal for the warehouse to deal with them. I’ve heard a lot of workers talk about it being a big problem.

    Hope your IWSG day is inspiring.
    “The only limit to your success is your own imagination” – Shondra Rhimes
    I wish you a merry holiday ⛄ season, and a New Year full of peace, joy, and creativity.

  • 8 December, 2022 at 9:34 am

    Hi, and thanks for this reminder of how wonderful it is to live in dark skies country, six miles from the nearest village , ( don’t usually run out of water in winter)
    This morning’s full moon pearly above frosted fields and below icy fells. Giftmas ? Sticking with our usual pact. , . Wouldn’t be Christmas without any presents,, but must come from a charity shop , £1 max. Used to be 50 p. Match the rest to cost of real presents, and donate. Water. sanitation, food, medical care. . Prize ( virtua) for the funniest . Lighting Chanukkah and Christmas candles, and hoping for no power cuts.

  • 8 December, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    There is so much common sense and wisdom in your post, Jemima. I grew up with parents who believed in turning off lights and not running the water to brush your teeth until you were ready for a rinse. I still feel that way. Thankfully, they’re teaching my grandchildren to respect nature.

  • Pingback:2022 Giftmas Wrap-Up | Rhonda Parrish

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