Monday, November 28, 2005

Buy Nothing Christmas

I don't know if you ever get tired of living in a consumer's culture. But if you are, then you would probably really appreciate this new site started by Aiden Enns entitled buy nothing christmas. I had heard of buy nothing day which encourages people not to shop on the day after thanksgiving. And while I admire anything these days that helps make a move against the consumeristic current that we live in, when I thought about the buy nothing day I would usually think, "What difference does it really make to delay my shopping for a day, except for the fact that I didn't shop on the busiest day of the year, which I have never have done anyway."

So it was pretty cool coming across this other site, that is simply trying to create a helpful alternative for people, especially those who go into 6-months debt to have a "happy" Christmas. What I liked about the site was that they were thinking about how to keep the Spirit of Christmas - giving, generosity and love, without caving into commercialism. For instance, you can download a free information kit, where you can find 59 alternative ways (and growing) to celebrate Christmas with little or no purchasing of new stuff. One idea was that students at Trinity Western University (Langley, BC, Canada) set up a free store, bringing things they didn't need and trading with each other.

An idea that I had in mind for this Christmas that was most likely mentioned somewhere on the site, was to give gifts in people's name to help relieve poverty. I'm really hoping that in the next week or two, barring any technical or other difficulties, Genesis, a guy in our congregation and I will have the website up for The Solis Foundation. It is a non-profit with 5013c status where we will be giving micro-loans for people in developing countries, helping orphanages, and in due time bringing medical supplies and a new kind of housing to developing countries. When we get the site up I will definitely let you know. This first year our focus will most likely be Kenya and the Philippines.

The article that the Vancover Sun did on this group was pretty enlightening and entertaining. Enlightening to learn that polls indicate that one in three North American's throw some Christmas gifts into the garbage, and that Ipsos-Reid reports that the average spending per Canadian adult for gifts is $724.00. Entertaining, because Aiden Enns and a group of "cheery carollers strolled through a suburban shopping mall this month belting out anti-consumer Christmas carols. To the tune of 'Rudoph the Red-Nose Reindeer," they sang:

Uh oh we're in the red, dear
On our credit card it shows
Christmas is almost over
But the debit line still grows
Shopping like Santa's zombies
Sent our budget down in flames
But all our Christmas spirit
Helped the giant retail chains

Apparently after a few carols, the malls security guards asked them to leave what was private property.

Lately I have been doing my best to live a life characterized by what I call simply beauty. Living more simply while still appreciating beauty and excellence of craft. I have felt God leading me in this idea, especially in light of my studies in the book of Mark and my growing awareness of the problem of extreme poverty in our world. I have to say that I struggle with this tooth and nail, because I have acquired a taste for fine things. But as another step in my fight of faith, I will be trying some alternative ways to celebrate Christmas this year. It will be cool get the creative juices flowing.


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