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An Alternative to Holiday Consumerism – Buy Nothing!
We love the holiday season and definitely love scouring the web for fabulous eco-friendly gifts, but sometimes we get overwhelmed. With the economy in its lousy state and the fact that we’re trying to be good environmental stewards, we aren’t buying quite as much anymore. There are days when we wish we could forgo the whole gift-buying frenzy and just have a lovely holiday with our family and friends. And who really has time to buy so many gifts and then wrap them? For those of you out there feeling stressed out from having to buy too many presents, maybe it’s time to cut back completely and buy nothing.
Here at Inhabitat, we like to suggest useful and thoughtful gifts that have a lower environmental impact than other options out there. Along with our gift ideas, we also want to encourage you, as the consumer, to be mindful this holiday season. If we cut back, we’ll have more time to go ice skating, skiing, for a walk, or play games with our kids, and as an added benefit reduce our environmental impact. Most of us have gotten to a point in our lives where we don’t really “need” anything anyways, but we’ve become so used to the ritual of shopping at Christmas that we feel we have to. Well, don’t feel obligated. Liberate yourself and Buy Nothing.
We highly recommend checking out Buy Nothing Christmas, which has a wealth of information, reader suggestions, and alternatives for having a merrier holiday without all the consumerism. The organization was originally started by Canadian Mennonites, but is of course open to anyone. We adore their Buy Nothing Catalogue, which has a number of gifts for you to not buy, but to give freely on to others. Our favorites – Irrational Play and Public Art Installations.
Buy Nothing Christmas also has a long list of alternative gifts to inspire you like calendars, art, baked goods, or items you don’t use anymore. They also provide free resources like downloadable coupon booklets, scripts and scores for Christmas musicals, Kits for Youth Groups to rebel against the consumerism of Christmas, and some great posters. The creativity of this organization is overflowing with free ideas full of holiday cheer and a lot of fun.
Facebook has a Buy Nothing group that you can become of fan of, and Adbusters has a Buy Nothing Campaign which is 81,000+ members strong. The Adbusters campaign encourages people to support Buy Nothing Day, otherwise known as Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Sadly enough 3 people died in the melee this year. Is it really worth getting up at 5 am to go shopping for sales?
Buying Nothing doesn’t mean boycotting the holidays or not enjoying all the good things they include, like good food and drink, or singing holiday carols with your family. The Buy Nothing campaigns merely suggest cutting back on consumerism, having mindful holiday celebrations, and not succumbing to the frenzy that causes so much stress and grief. Giving is still a great way to show your love for family and friends, but it doesn’t have to be bought in a store. Make something, bake cookies, knit a scarf, give away your favorite books, take people to dinner, volunteer. And if these guidelines and resources don’t answer your questions, maybe you should ask yourself, “What would Jesus Buy?”
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