Friday, November 25, 2011

Occupy Christmas: Buy Nothing Day and our Gift-Free Christmas

Our Christmas tree, a few years ago.

As many are already aware, today is Buy Nothing Day -- Adbusters Magazine's call to action against Black Friday -- purportedly the busiest shopping day of the Christmas season.

Since my family rarely buys anything anyway, this day doesn't mean a whole lot to us, but I thought I'd post here about our Christmas plans for the year. We are going gift-free, this year. In past years we've elected to go on a family outing instead of exchanging gifts among those of our household, but we still exchanged gifts with others in the family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends, etc.) Although I personally love giving and receiving gifts, and cherish many of the thoughtful gifts given to us by those we love, we are literally inundated with these beautiful things each year, so that we now spend days going through our belongings every year, choosing things to give away to make way for the new -- and often that's very hard to do! So we end up packing things away into the attic, under the beds, into the office and the studio, etc. The outcome of this, of course, is that we are now suffocating in our belongings.

We love the gestures of those who love us. And the objects they give us are usually very meaningful and/or useful. We love spending time giving gifts and watching those we care about (hopefully) enjoy their gifts. We love this time so much that I've spent the last few years creating cloth wrapping bags (as needed) so that we could have a beautiful assortment of wrapped gifts sitting under the tree, without having wasted paper, in the end.

But the time has come for us to receive no more. This year we want to cherish the time with those people, talking, singing, sharing and feeling each other's presence. My family has always done this, so it won't be much of a change, but we'll have to find some activity to take the place of the usual Christmas morning exchange with our family. We have some ideas about this, such as sharing stories, songs, or poems, watching a slideshow of old family photos, etc. but none of these has been received with much enthusiasm, so far. We'll have to see what transpires as December unfurls.

I look forward to doing a little more baking, this year, and making a few more fir-bough-garlands to decorate the house. I hope that the time not spent shopping and wrapping will be as valuable as I imagine it will.


  1. I love this! Oh to be freed from the fear of man!...and I'm not so sure hubby would be on board for this...

  2. thanks for your comment! As it turns out, our Christmas was not gift-free, after all. A certain grandmother could not fathom the idea, and we decided that living up to our ideals wasn't worth her sadness. So... it was only partially gift-free. And included one happy Nana. Ah well... We tried.


Your comment will appear after it is approved. This can take a while!