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Buy nothing Christmas

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 January 2013 03:47

buy-nothing-christmas-santa-adbustersWhy has consumerism hiiacked the spirit of Christmas? Do we need to spend dollars to celebrate this special time for practicing Christians and even non Christians? Do the advertising campaigns, sales, cojoaling and promises to children prompt you to buy something to show you care?

Do retail products occupy too much space in our homes and hearts at Xmas?

 Giving someone you love a truly unique present, and supporting a local and/or independent artist at the same time, kind of produces double levels of gift-giving warm fuzzies.

Your time is the most precious gift to give and if you are creative and make or grow something that gift is giving twice.

Consider instead purchasing gifts that give back ie adopt an animal in care, plant habitat for wildlife, support any number  of  conservation groups locally nationally or globally. Pay for a gift subscription to Wildlife magazine, digital or hardcopy. Give to charity to support those unfortunate who have little. Whatever you decide to buy, know more than its purchase price.   

Some valuable wisedom from Why Christians should resist Black Friday

Find inner peace. Away from the din of deals and under the clutter of gadgets is a sense of serenity available to you. It sounds like fortune cookie wisdom but it's true: quiet resistance to consumer culture is the way to personal peace.

Celebrate non-material joy. The secret of joy and happiness lies in developing non-material riches: build relationships, foster generosity, acquire skills, volunteer in the community - and commune with nature.

Practice social justice.  We can challenge economic powers with what we buy, who made the goods and who profits from them. Most of the deals on sale won't qualify as fair-trade items. So stay home and support other shops another day.

Promote old fashioned values with the kids. Let's teach children to show love in the most precious way: through kindness, loyalty, creativity, affection, self-sacrifice, humor and devotion. Let's not associate love with the size or price tag of a present. Besides running the risk of emotional bribery, it fosters low self-esteem when the purchasing power wanes. Elevate the splendid, intangible riches of love and we well equip our kids for whatever comes.

Need something to start refecting on what you give? Look at Annie Leonard's animated short, The Story of Stuff, in which she explains what goes into making what we accumulate and where it goes when we're done with it. Of all the products we buy, Leonard says, only 1 percent is still being used half a year later: "Ninety-nine percent of this stuff is trashed in six months."  Meanwhile, for every can of garbage we haul out to the curb, 70 cans of waste were generated "upstream" — in the making and shipping of the product.

Gifts that are discarded contribute to the waste steam and our own carbon footprint. Share your experiences of a green Christmas. How green is it?

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