Yesterday was Black Friday in the US – a day when, it is said, many businesses sell so much stuff that their finances go into the black. It was also Buy Nothing Day, a day that was created in direct opposition to the materialism and craziness of Black Friday.
I started a thread on Ravelry’s Remnants forum about it a couple of days ago, and the debate continues.
There is a website called Buy Nothing Christmas and they have a very useful list of alternative ideas for giving at Christmas. Of course these ideas would work for any special occasion throughout the year.
Our family opted out of the commercial Christmas about 5 years ago. I initiated a new festival for our family – or should I say an old one – Yule, or Winter Solstice, which we celebrate on December 21st. We have a tree, we bake, we give each other gifts. But we don’t trawl the malls looking for things to buy just because we feel obliged. “Santa” may not visit our house any more but instead the children put more thought into giving to each other.
“Shopping” or “Retail Therapy” is a hobby that promotes environmental degradation, debt and stress. If every single one of us was to look around us with fresh eyes at the stuff that’s in the stores, especially the cheap crap that many offer, we would see the stupidity of a wasteful society that just wants stuff for the sake of having it. Keeping up with the latest in technology, just because we feel entitled. Forget keeping up with the Joneses – when I look at my neighbour’s stuff, like an RV or quad bike or boat, I see debt. And the money is lining the pockets of the huge corporations and their CEOs.
Happiness doesn’t come from having more material possessions. It comes from inside, it’s all about attitude and perspective. And I’m grateful for that.