Have you already started to become a bit stressed about all the Christmas shopping you have to do? Do you feel pressured to shop with money you don’t have, rather saving it or using it for something more substantial? While we enjoy giving and receiving gifts with some sensibility and social-responsibility, with so many people (yours truly included) wishing for a job this Christmas the concept of Black Friday seems frighteningly distasteful. But here’s an organization going against the grain and asking you to do the same. Buy Nothing Christmas is a non-profit organization initiated by Canadian Mennonites several years ago, inspiring people all over the world to say no to excess consumerism. With a website offering plenty of ideas, big and small, you’ll get the low down on how you can give gifts freely without money being an issue.
Consumerism adds up to 70% of America’s GNP and is of great importance to the country’s wellbeing. For years now, the key day that sets the holiday shopping frenzy in motion has always been Black Friday, where shop owners and companies focus much of their advertising dollars in devising ways to lure people with offers written in big red letters they can’t refuse nor escape.
But despite some of the scary behavior this day has brought in the past, to date, figures do show that Americans have chosen to save money this year, rather than engaging in excess consumerism. And whether this is a sign of the recession or long-term goodwill, what is true is that the American market and culture still holds great weight on the global market – and if Americans can make such a difference for the world financially, one can only imagine what they could do emotionally and ideologically.
We may live in a world governed by consumerism, but next time you’re standing in hour-long queues with a cart-full of goods, you should really consider whether or not this is something you could skip. We think those hours could certainly be spent more wisely with the same friends and family you happen to shopping for.