Saturday, November 17, 2012

Occupy Christmas

A wise colleague told me earlier this year that we must "decry the rampant materialism" that has led to individualism.

The local TV news last night reported that there are 39 days until Christmas, then warned those us who have not commenced Christmas shopping that we had better start now. They also reported that residents of my state (Western Australia) are expected to spend $5 billion this Christmas (based on this report by the Australian Retailers Association). While I don't begrudge local retailers and producers a living, I do wonder how many Christmas gifts, decorations, cards and other purchases will end up in the bin long before next Christmas rolls around.

In 2012, Saturday November 24th is Buy Nothing Day. I first heard about BND via Adbusters magazine, which I used to read in Borders on Oxford Street. (Appropriately, I never purchased it.) BND is a protest against consumerism. It will be nearly impossible for most people reading this blog to buy nothing for one day because most of us are continuously paying things like rent, mortgage, insurance, utilities, education fees, phone bills and so on. However, it is possible to plan your day so you are not buying any food, drinks, fuel or "stuff" on BND.

A variation on BND is Occupy Christmas. This movement encourages us to purchase locally produced goods from independent retailers. Visit design markets, small independent stores and farmers markets and you won't be disappointed.

Will you give Buy Nothing Day or Occupy Christmas a go? I've found that participating in Buy Nothing New Month is still having a positive influence on my purchasing patterns.

I leave you with the words of the "world's poorest president", Jose Mujica of Uruguay, who decries the model of consumption in rich countries. He is interviewed in yesterday's BBC News Magazine:

"I'm called 'the poorest president', but I don't feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more. This is a matter of freedom. If you don't have many possessions then you don't need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself. I may appear to be an eccentric old man... But this is a free choice."

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