as you are celebrating all the things you are thankful for today, consider this from www.redefinechristmas.org:
Consider that the amount of money spent on candy alone during the holiday season is greater than the annual budgets of the American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity combined.
It’s not about reinventing the holiday. It’s about changing the way we look at gift giving and receiving. It’s taking money we usually spend on obligatory gifts with little meaning, and creating gifts of charity that give in multiple ways, to the receiver, the giver, and people who truly need.
There is no question we are in the midst of difficult financial times. And if it has you feeling unsure or uncomfortable this holiday season, imagine how purely difficult it’s becoming for people who already, or are about to, depend on the generosity of others for the things that only a donation can provide.
As we consider our individual place in this world we can be of help to others with a simple gesture that bestows the gift of charity on those who are in need, on behalf of the ones we care about. If this sounds like a good idea to you, redefine Christmas by giving others donations to their favorite charities, request that others do the same for you, and use this site to share this message with as many people as you can think of. Chances are, you’ll like the way it feels.
i’m also a big fan of Heifer International, where you can support sustainable living by donating farm animals to poor families around the world.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with BNC, consumerism, NaBloPoMo | Comment (0)
once again…time for the annual rant against holiday consumption and nudge toward a smarter economy….
it’s not like i don’t buy things. i do. but i try to buy them conscientiously, knowing where things come from, who made them, and how they were made and what from. i support local fashion as much as possible, shop recycled/used clothing stores, and try to avoid “made in china/sri lanka/vietnam/indonesia” when i buy something new. when it comes to food, beauty, and cleaning products, i look for the most organic/fewest ingredients/greenest thing i can find. but this doesn’t make me anti-consumer. i certainly couldn’t go a year without buying anything. in fact, i think because i am always looking for the perfect thing, the greenest thing, the most sustainable, best choice, i probably end up shopping MORE than someone who just walks into Wal-Mart, loads up the cart and walks out. i probably go to 5x as many stores looking for the best alternative, and pay more for things too, further supporting the economy.
i say this because i don’t want people to get the wrong impression when i support things like Buy Nothing Day (no shopping the day after Thanksgiving) and Buy Nothing Christmas (a radical Christian idea!). i understand that these seem extreme, and many people think futile. does it really make a difference if you shop the weekend after Thanksgiving or a week later? and aren’t giving gifts a nice thing to do?
in my mind, it’s the mindset of these activities that bothers me most – that this ritualized consumption is now an expected part of American culture, so much that people put themselves through horrid situations at the beck and call of retailers like cattle through a gate – remember the people getting trampled last year on “black friday”? – and into financial debt they can’t afford to “participate”. and, in the end, what percentage of Christmas gifts are actually something people wanted?
go ahead, consume. i’m not going to pretend that isn’t part of all our lives. but i encourage you to do it as mindfully as you can. this saturday is the first ever widely organized Small Business Saturday, with companies like American Express giving huge promotions. so maybe instead of hitting up the Best Buy and Wal-Mart on Black Friday and filling up your cart, take some time to find some of the items on your shopping lists at small businesses in your community on saturday instead. if done right, this can turn our economy around. small family businesses will thrive, artists will make a living, communities will come together. in my mind, THAT is the American way.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with adbusters, BNC, BND, consumerism, economics, NaBloPoMo | Comment (0)
yes, my friends, once again i am advocating a BUY NOTHING CHRISTMAS and intend to spend black friday somewhere along the northern california coast between the pacific ocean and a grove of redwoods, not a shopping mall or wal-mart for miles.
IMNSHO, if you really want to celebrate CHRISTmas…in these hard economic times, put giving to the poor at the top of your list. food banks first. i started my giving early this year and last week sent a check to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. find a food bank near you.
if not buying any gifts seems too hardline for you, and/or, although i don’t empathize, i can understand, you LIKE shopping for your friends and family, and you want to express your love and admiration for them with gifts, i suggest buying handmade, local items. use ebay or etsy.com. visit a craft fair. or hey! talk to the people in your town. i bet some of them make things. people are crafty. now, these might not be the “hot gifts” everyone (especially children) has been hypnotized by television to want this year, but i thought it was the thought that counted? or maybe you’re one who believes that the way out of this recession is through consumer spending, and running out at 4AM to Macy’s on Black Friday is part of your patriotic duty….that leads me to another thought:
people keep saying that our Democracy runs on the Dollar, and lots has been written and said recently about our politicans being bought. if that’s true, then you have POWER. think more about where you send your dollars. there’s a lot of frustration lately about companies outsourcing work and manufacturing overseas while Americans are losing jobs. there’s something you can do about that: stop buying things from overseas, and from the companies that outsource. that means you might not get that huge new plasma screen TV, or your kids might not get the hottest Made in China toys for Christmas this year. but wouldn’t you rather have a job? Wal-Mart and other huge retailers take middle-class jobs away by killing small businesses and selling imported goods, yet everyone keeps giving them their money, usually for things they don’t need. why? long ago i pledged to stop buying anything with that MADE IN CHINA label unless i really, really needed it. sometimes, it’s unavoidable. but most of them time, you don’t need it. and america doesn’t need it either. america is losing the 21st century. as this great recent NYT Op-Ed points out, “Never cede a century to a country that censors Google.”
so this Christmas, support America. please give to the poor, and as for gifts, either Buy Nothing or Buy Local. i support both.
“If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” Matthew 19:21
…what He said.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with adbusters, BNC, BND, wal-mart | Comments (2)
although overall i support Buy Nothing Christmas, i know that not everyone else does, and sometimes i even buy a few small gifts myself. it’s the hundreds-of-dollars-at-Macy’s shopping i’m really against. on the other hand, supporting hand-made and local artists i’m totally for.
since it’s getting close to Gift Day, i want to link to some of my friends who create great works of art that make FABULOUS gifts:
* check out Naughty Santa’s, where there are several local artistes selling their wares….impress your friends and family with awesome handmade gifts…. fur collars! kleenex holders! knitted stuff! art! jewelry!
* miss ariel’s Warmies – reconstructive fashion. warm. cute. hip. perfect for your female friends (i guess guys can wear them too……you have to be a super cool guy though)
* miss aurabelle’s amazing handmade jewelry that i always get TONS of compliments on – if you’d like to see her current stock, leave a comment. her beadwork is very intricate, her stones are real, and they are fantastic! the bracelets in particular make perfect stocking stuffers.
*hussy hats! – Kiki and Marshall’s very sexy trucker hats with vintage burlesque photos. i have a pink one, and boy does it get attention!
*thinking of buying flowers? for those of you who ever buy and send flowers online or by phone (for valentine’s day or mother’s day or whatever), please consider OrganicBouquet.com. They are a friend of a friend’s new business, they have beautiful flowers and wreaths, all of which are either organic or green label certified, and they’re not any more expensive than any other flower shop, online (such as 1800flowers.com or FTD.com) or otherwise. They deliver anywhere in the US, and they are GORGEOUS! Also, flowers, which require a lot of fertilizers, pesticides, energy, and labor, are especially important to buy responsibly, particularly ROSES. So if you’re going to get someone flowers, buy organic!
* and of course, custom hoops!
anyone else i’m forgetting? (and yes, i have to actually know you to link to you. don’t even ask if i don’t.)
of course, wherever you shop, try to keep in mind where your things come from and where your money is going: buy blue and, to coin a phrase, get the red out.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with BNC, economics | Comment (1)
picky.eater has reminded me that it’s already that time of year again when the GAP and MACY*S have about two hundred sales and stupid jingles ring in your ears at the bank and the grocery store and the pharmacy and advertisers go nuts trying to convince you that you NEED things you have absolutely no use for and make you feel GUILTY for not buying your special someone a glittery glowy sparkly rock or scented pillow or heated shoes or SOMETHING.
once again, i advocate boycotting the consumer mania and focusing on spending the time and effort and money you would’ve spent shopping on treating your friends and family as human beings that you love, not just gift recipients. make charitable donations, work a soup kitchen, give a heap of toys to the Goodwill. if you must buy something, buy something good and pure and USEFUL and productive, not some ugly sweaters or gadgets no one will use or toys that will break in 10 minutes, and above all else don’t buy it for yourself, even if it is on sale for 99.99% off.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with adbusters, BNC, BND, economics | Comments (3)