Christmas shopping in the midst of a financial crisis is not much to look forward to, while gift-giving is a profound action that helps glues communities together and contributes to making people less individualistic, it is also true that this offering has been exploited and de-natured by consumer capitalism. Lecturer and author, Fawzi Ibrahim says “Today, humanity faces a stark choice: save the planet and ditch capitalism, or save capitalism and ditch the planet.”(1) Our joint adventure towards a sane sustainable future starts on an intensely personal and individual level: dare to be more creative with the presents you share and put the heart back into the holiday season.
Co-founder of “Buy Nothing Christmas”, Aiden Enns of Winnipeg says that, “while gift-giving is a good thing to do at Christmas, that doesn’t mean we have to go overboard”. “Buy Nothing Christmas” is a Canadian initiative that was sparked by the success of Adbusters magazine campaign “Buy Nothing Day” where consumers are asked to refrain from spending any money at all that day. “I noticed how successful the Buy Nothing Day campaign was, especially in North America and the UK.” “What a shame that it’s only one day, I thought,” says Enns. Buy Nothing Christmas was born in order to infuse the festive season with an uncomplicated and organic character.
According to a consumer study by Deloitte, the European trend is now leaning more and more towards purchasing practical, low-cost presents. For many buying nothing or at least a lot less isn’t even a choice this year so we’ve put together a few suggestions to spark up your gift-giving this holiday season… Here are some alternatives to corporate gift-giving.
- -Give a personal hand-crafted gift: could be anything from a collection of photographs, home-made cd with a tailor-made selection of beautiful music, a framed painting by a local artist, a or a self-made hand-craft, if you have that kind of talent. Why not make gorgeous, chemical-free soaps this year? Or cook up a storm and present delicious home-made cookies and muffins to your loved ones?
- -Boycott the big international chains.
- -Buy locally-produced, fairly-traded products with environmentally friendly or no packaging.
- -Recycle or re-use things you don’t need and turn them into a special present for somebody else.
- -A gift can be an experience instead of an object: take someone somewhere and spend time together instead of giving them another pair of socks they’re going to find half price during the January sale.
Are you planning to in Buy Nothing (or Buy Less) this Christmas/Holiday Season? Tell us about it in the comments section!
1- ‘Capitalism versus Planet Earth, an irreconcilable contradiction’ by Fawzi Ibrahim published by Muswell Press, London, 2012.
This post is also available in: Spanish