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Buy Nothing This Christmas
by Michael I. Niman
Getting a Grip
Really, I’m not being a scrooge here. It’s just that with most Christmas gifts either coming from sweatshops or filling dumps with toxic debris, buying more consumer crap doesn’t seem like an appropriate way to spread holiday cheer. At the very least, spending your Thanksgiving holiday weekend doing the zombie crawl at a dozen big-boxes doesn’t seem terribly creative. Why not skip the shopping ritual and actually celebrate the holiday by spreading some love to the people you care about?
While boycotting the whole gift ritual is fine, that’s also not what I’m advocating. I’m just throwing out the idea of demanding a bit more creativity from yourself this year. How about going easy on the earth but big on the sharing spirit with a bit of creative repurposing. Old cars made new are the rage among those with $200,000 to spend on a like-new 1970s Ford Bronco or Dodge Power Wagon. You can do the same thing by investing time transforming basement, attic, or flea market trash into a giftable treasure. Maybe give new life to an old cast iron fry pan or vintage camp lantern. Maybe clean up and rewire an antique clock or light, or clean and polish an antique wrench or some jewelry.
Or how about making gifts this year? Most of us have some sort of skill. Maybe you can pot a plant or make a photo. A homemade gift can also be conceptual rather then physical. How about a gift certificate for a special experienc?. Twelve-year-olds would really enjoy an Adirondack safari, for example, with your detailed certificate promising perks like “ice cream for dinner” and late-night UFO sighting expeditions. Be creative. Anybody with money can buy a gift. Not everybody can conceptualize a gift. Think romantic picnics or blizzard walks.
These unbought gifts are labors or promises of love to come. Ultimately they’re what people long for but can never buy. And the best part of it all is they come with a big juicy “fuck you” to the corporate scrooges who want to project their exploitive toxic hell into our most sacred family traditions. Fuck you, I’m not going to have any part of your stinking theft of Thanksgiving. Fuck you and your battery-operated plastic trash world. This holiday season say fuck you loudly and clearly to the greedy corporate bastards who want to transform our culture into an ad campaign. Fuck the “economic indicators,” there will be no new sales records this year—just lots of love and resistance!
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