Before you call me a Grinch and run away screaming, please watch this video.
I think we all get a little disillusioned with Christmas sometimes. We know it's not about the stuff. We know that even if we strip away the gifts and the wrapping paper and the decorations that we can't strip away the meaning and the joy of the season.
But we don't shop as if we believe that, do we?
And so many of us have tried before to have a simpler Christmas, but somehow we get off track and end up giving in to the pressure to give the perfect gift or to have everything just right so that our kids can really soak up the magic of the season. As if all the right stuff will create that warm fuzzy feeling we get at the end of It's A Wonderful Life.
So this year I am daring us all to rethink Christmas. And to do something that is very radical in our culture: to opt out of the empty,commercialized, stuff-based version of Christmas by choosing not to buy more stuff for people who are already drowning in too much. To not cheapen our love for other people by giving it in the form of a made-in-china trinket. To practice an environmentally and socially sustainable Christmas by not buying, giving, and hoping for things we don't need.
The best thing about a Buy Nothing Christmas? You make the rules. You can choose not to buy anything except the materials for homemade gifts, or choose not to buy any gifts except for second hand items in good repair (it is absolutely okay to give someone a thrifted gift!) Or to only buy local, or to really truly buy nothing at all except the bare necessities and give all the money you save to the poor. You decide how deep you will dive in.
For our family, this is what our Buy Nothing Christmas will look like:
What we will buy:
- Materials for homemade gifts.
- Second hand items for upcycled gifts.
- Local, natural elements like a live potted Christmas tree (more on that to come).
- And actual necessities, like food and soap.
What we won't buy:
- Gift wrap.
- Christmas gifts.
- Any new consumer goods that aren't a) actual necessities or b) materials with which to make handmade gifts.
- Fancy new Christmas outfits for the kids.
- Baubles/Tinsel/Mugs with little snowflakes on them.
<a href="http://theyearofless.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-november-december-challenge-buy.html"target="”_blank”"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-tQEINJJ3k9M/UJHVB5Lq8_I/AAAAAAAAFsQ/Sy6dtflo54I/s300/buynothingchristmasbanner1.jpg" /></a>
Check out BuyNothingChristmas.org for some ideas on alternative ways to celebrate Christmas. And stay tuned to the blog because I plan to share some ideas for homemade gifts (even if you aren't particularly crafty) and some ways to enjoy a simpler, greener, more intentional Christmas this year.