In case there’s someone in my vast reading audience who hasn’t gotten the message, here’s an oldie (first posted in Nov 2008)
“There’s only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth: we have to consume less.” (From the Adbuster’s site)
I boycott Christmas.
The gift purchasing part.
I still bake cookies, and sing along to carols, and eat candy canes, and go to parties. I do give gifts, but they’re either homemade (think hot pepper jelly) or gifts of my time (who needs babysitting help?) I have no desire to offend anyone or hurt any feelings, so I have bent my own rules on occasion, buying something for someone whom I knew just would not understand my point of view, but mostly, I try to stand firm.
I don’t even buy gifts for my own children.
I take them to a locally owned bookstore, tell them that they can buy ANY book they want, and then we all sit together in the cafe for hot chocolate and whatever usually verboten goodies they’d like. See how I make my rules up as I go? I guess, technically, buying them a book is buying them something, isn’t it? I just don’t think of books in that way. There you go. Just goes to show that I have my own version of reality.
I made this boycotting decision 3 years ago, but I’d been on the verge for much longer. My own personal values just didn’t match my actions during the holiday buying frenzy, and I felt more and more uncomfortable trawling through the malls in desperation every year, searching for presents that I was sure were redundant. I actually started feeling queazy with the disconnect I was experiencing. I’m an athiest, I have no spiritual connection to the holiday (and even if I did, I still don’t get the significance of buying things as a way to celebrate a religion), and I’m a staunch anti-consumer the rest of the year, so I began to feel that I was being dishonest by participating. I hate buying because it’s the thing to do, and I don’t like recieving things that people felt obligated to purchase. I don’t like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day either.
I remember one Christmas, when baby #3 was 11 months old, I took a look at all of the unused mountains of toys in our basement playroom, and had a flash of brilliance. I found one that had been particularly well buried, wrapped it in glittering paper, and put it under the tree for the baby. He was none the wiser, and nor were the slightly older two. I think that was the beginning of the end for me.
Anway, long story short, my good friend S sent me a link to the Buy Nothing website. I guess I’m not quite the trail blazer that I thought I was. Click here to check out their list of alternatives for gift giving.