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Thursday, Dec. 21, 2006 at 5:59 PM
Disgusted with the personal debt, spiritual emtiness and ecological damange that the holiday season now entails, writers and artists began to promote the idea of a downshifted Christmas in the late nineties.
Dear Jammers and Cultural Creatives,
If you celebrate Christmas, you likely don't need any reminders that it's just around the corner. You are also probably well aware of how stressed-out, hyped-up, dumbed-down, and just downright expensive the "holidays" have become. Nevertheless, we thought we'd take a moment to remind you that it doesn't really need to be this way.
All it takes is a few simple changes -- less presents, less decorations, shorter "to-do" lists, and a wee bit more good old-fashioned craftiness -- to bring a new rhythm, purpose and spirit to one of the world's chief cultural rituals, now warped beyond recognition.
Consider it a long-term cultural project for the those seeking a little consumer sanity, a way to rescue our shared traditions from corporate interests and those who confuse big sales with real cultural meaning.
Of course, re-inventing tradition is not the type of thing that happens overnight. But that doesn't mean we can't start right away. If you need a bit of inspiration, check out our new BNXmas headquarters at www.adbusters.org. We have ideas for holiday actions like "The Jesus Walk," links to extensive web resources, plus downloadable posters, cards, and gift exemption vouchers to give to your friends and family.
Like-minded people worldwide have already posted their plans for a less materialist, more meaningful holiday. Once you've had a chance to see what everyone else is up to, go ahead and share your own thoughts and plans via the web form. And if you have spare second during this busy time of year, be sure to forward this year's press release (below) to your local media and absolutely anyone else that might be interested in what we're trying to accomplish.
Good luck and all the best in the new year.
The BNXmas Team
RECLAIMING THE SEASON: Those of us who shiver at the thought of hour-long line-ups and gift tags finally have something to rejoice about over the holidays: fed-up citizens and social activists from across the world are inviting everyone to take part in Buy Nothing Christmas.
Inspired by the international successes of Buy Nothing Day, and disgusted with the personal debt, spiritual emptiness, and ecological damage that the holiday season now entails, writers and activists began to heavily promote the idea of a downshifted Christmas in the late nineties. Since then, the idea has been taken up by individuals, community groups, churches, and schools in at least a dozen countries, with strongest support in Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Despite the name, the Buy Nothing Christmas campaign is not really about refusing to spend a dime over the holiday season. It’s about taking a deep breath and deciding to opt out of the hype, the overcrowded malls, and the stressful to-do lists. It’s about reminding ourselves to really think about what we are buying, why we are buying it, and whether we really need it at all.
“First and foremost, it’s about restoring authenticity to one of the world’s great religious and secular traditions,” said Kalle Lasn, editor-in-chief of Adbusters magazine and long-time advocate of holiday restraint. “Christmas has been warped beyond recognition by commercial forces. It’s about time we took it back.”
Most participants will still exchange gifts, but will opt for recycled, homemade, locally produced, or fair-trade items. Some will excuse themselves from gift-giving altogether, and focus instead on valuable time with family and friends, on charitable works, and on rediscovering older, non-commercial holiday traditions as they also invent a few new ones.
Throughout the month of December, activism-minded participants will be taking two of these new traditions to their local malls and commercial districts. Groups of meditating Santas – dubbed “Zenta Clauses” – are offering stressed-out shoppers free soup, coffee, and a place to rest their aching feet as they take a break from buying. This year, they will be joined for the first time by slow-moving activists in robes and Jesus masks, who will be asking their fellow shoppers one all-important question: “What would Jesus buy?”
Introducing Buy Nothing Christmas »» See CBC news on carollers here
This Christmas we'll be swamped with offers, ads and invitations to buy more stuff. But now there's a way to say enough and join a movement dedicated to reviving the original meaning of Christmas giving.
Buy Nothing Christmas is a national initiative started by Canadian Mennonites but open to everyone with a thirst for change and a desire for action.
Buy Nothing Christmas is a stress-reliever, and more people need to hear about it. You can change your world by simply putting up one of the posters (or make your own) in your church, place of worship, home or work. Be sneaky about it if you have to. The point is to get people thinking. It's an idea whose time has come, so get out there and make a difference!
»» Free information kit here
» Download a FREE poster and change your world
Three easy steps off the treadmill
» Get this 3-session guide for youth
We are pleased to offer a free ready-to-use study kit for youth groups. Discover a fresh, radical way of reading the Christmas story by clicking here.
Session 1: Take a risk, don't conform to those in the spending spree. Mary, the unwed mother of Jesus, went against the grain. Think about it.
Session 2: The best gifts come in no packages. The Christmas story is all about flipping the system on its lid.
Session 3: Image is everything? Well, don't get pegged as a mindless consumer, be a rebel this Christmas.
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