Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Gift-Free Christmas: Making a List and Chucking It Twice

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Gift-Free Christmas: Making a List and Chucking It Twice

Article excerpt

Judith Magloczki isn't buying any gifts this year. Instead, she's gearing up for Christmas in a dark room, printing her own film for friends and family. Making gifts and cards is "a great alternative [to buying them]," the Madison, Wisc., college student writes on BuyNothingChristmas.org.

Ms. Magloczki is part of a quiet revolt against commercialism at Christmas. Across the country, even around the world, a growing number of people are banding together in quirky and quixotic ways to ponder the meaning of Christmas beyond Segway scooters and the latest version of Sims. One of the most ardent proponents of this simmering revolt is the Adbusters magazine, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Its editors have launched "Buy Nothing Day" on the busiest shopping day of the year - the day after Thanksgiving in the US. It's garnered followers in 30 countries since 1992.

Last year, it spawned a similar movement, "Buy Nothing Christmas," which encourages people to give to charities, make gifts themselves, or simply spend nothing at all. The goal is "a rejuvenation of Christmas as a time of peace and solidarity," says Aiden Enns, an editor at Adbusters and the central organizer for Buy Nothing Christmas.

"Right now, people think as consumers, not as citizens or members of a religion, a neighborhood, a work force," says Mr. Enns. "We make money to buy things, and then we go home to talk about them. 'Consume, spend, make more money.' I'm challenging that routine."

SOME of the challenges are downright peculiar. Last year, on the day after Thanksgiving, Seattle carolers sang their own versions of traditional songs: "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" began, "Slow down you frantic shoppers for there's something we must say." In Japan, "Zen-ta Claus" led a group meditation outside major shopping centers. And in Cairns, Australia, a group wearing black with large bar codes across their chests and plastic chains on their legs shepherded a Corporate Santa, dressed all in logos, and yielding a "consumers whip. …

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