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No shopping, no presents, no guilt!
December 29, 2001 2:16 PM   Subscribe

No shopping, no presents, no guilt! End compulsory consumption by resisting xmas. It's never too early to start campaigning for next year.
posted by mathowie (65 comments total)

 
No thanks, I enjoy a nice national holiday where I don't have to go to work.
posted by Keen at 2:25 PM on December 29, 2001


Oh hey, Nina's Adventures! I haven't seen that strip for a while.

Here in Seattle the county sponsored the Give Experiences Instead of Stuff campaign, a drive to have folks buy tickets to plays and events rather than buy crap that'll wind up in a landfill. Yes, it's kind of a marketing gimmick (you don't see any free "events" -- like a nice walk in a park -- on the list), but I do believe that going to the theater with your parents is preferable to giving them both Salad Spinners or whatnot.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 2:36 PM on December 29, 2001


Christmas really is the most coercive holiday. I'm at a point in my life where I fall outside of the orbit of influence, but I still feel the tug. I was out walking on Xmas morning, and all was quiet—everyone was at home worshipping the conjugal family!

And Santa's reach is wide, too. See: Santa Visits Porgera Children.
posted by rschram at 2:37 PM on December 29, 2001


Mathowie hated Xmas!
The whole Xmas season!
Now, please don't ask why.
No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that Blogger was hacked into last night.
It could be, perhaps, that his cashflow was tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his bandwidth was two sizes too small.
posted by MrBaliHai at 2:37 PM on December 29, 2001


Don't be such a scrooge.... lots of little kids enjoy christmas.
posted by jeff318 at 2:47 PM on December 29, 2001


I'm 'bout it 'bout it. this year I couldn't afford to give my friends any presents and I asked them all not to get me anything but lo and behold they did! I know they probably don't think ill of me for it, but I think ill of me for it.

I'd rather spend the year giving them replacement guitar strings, picks, and drum sticks for when theirs break, rides to concerts/conventions/parties, burnt copies of CDs they've always wanted, food and drink and gas whenever they are short on cash, spare legos for when theirs fall down the air conditioner vent, cold medicene, tools, donut tires, blank cd-rs, homemade Queen's greatest hits comps, and anything else they need than fight holiday traffic and crowds to get one or two random things on just one day.

Keen--you may not work on christmas day but lots of people working too hard (doubly so during the holiday season) for a measly $5-$7 an hour do, and I'm sure they'd like a break that day.
posted by mcsweetie at 2:51 PM on December 29, 2001


Give gifts as the spirit moves you the rest of the year

I do this but it doesn't work. All the Christmas elves respond by piling up their counter-gifts and then off-load them on you, via a third party, at Christmas. They enjoy finding cleverer and cleverer ways of doing this. I just refuse to open them until, well, the spirit moves me to receive.

It's having to give someone something I hate. Forcing yourself to find something in accordance with her or his personality.It's much better when you just see something and know it's ideal for someone. Even if you don't like them all that much.

Funny thing, gifts. A lot of anthropologists and philosophers do nothing else but think of them.

Loved the site, the logo, the sentiment - innocence regained!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:51 PM on December 29, 2001


I've said it before & I'll say it again: let's make the primary focus of the traditional "holiday season" NEW YEAR'S EVE instead of (a) xmas, (b) hannukah, or (c) kwanzaa. It is celebrated almost universally, regardless of religious beliefs, it is intended solely for merriment, good cheer, and best wishes for a new year, and what better time to rip open the presents than just after the stroke of midnight? It's win-win! So - who's with me? New Year's Eve - let the magic begin!
posted by davidmsc at 2:54 PM on December 29, 2001


As someone who's been taking final exams before vacation for the past nine years, I have to agree with davidmsc. I just tell my friends as they give me their presents that I give ones for New Years. I get to buy stuff on sale, and I don't feel guilty about shopping rather than studying.

Now that I'm done, though, we'll see if I do this next year.
posted by phoenix enflamed at 3:01 PM on December 29, 2001


mathowie: I've been uncomfortable with Christmas all my life (being named "Carol" contributes!): not a Christian, not a shopper, not a materialist. I'm glad others are speaking out against all the forced fun and foolish spending.

As for New Year's Eve, we can emulate Scotland and celebrate Hogmanay!
posted by Carol Anne at 3:17 PM on December 29, 2001


My wife & I only bought each other (small) presents for xmas this year & nothing for nobody else, even though we could afford to. I like the feeling. We're not Christians, for Christ's sake! I spent last year in Vietnam & Tet (the lunar new year) is a lovely holiday devoted to seeing one's family, eating, drinking, watching fireworks & generally whooping it up. I didn't miss xmass a bit.
posted by barkingterrier at 3:32 PM on December 29, 2001


Hogmanay, yes! And then it's time for Up-Helly-A'a!!
posted by rodii at 3:38 PM on December 29, 2001


. o O (All hail the Guizer Jarl!)
posted by rodii at 3:41 PM on December 29, 2001


Boycotting Christmas? Where have I heard that idea before?...oh yeah, from Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and those atheists who've chosen not to celebrate the holiday with Christ's name in it.

As someone who's gone the last two and a half decades Christmas-free, and who comes from a family that, to the best of my knowledge, has never celebrated it, I'm always amused when this is presented as a novel concept.
posted by isomorphisms at 3:46 PM on December 29, 2001


I think xmas brings out the worst in people as much as it brings out the best. Here are some experiences with that:

1. There's only one reason why someone would "accidentally" forget to remove a price-tag. My ex-girlfriend a couple years back did this with me (contributed to me leaving her) for a $29.99 pair of sandals. For good measure, I got her a $30 ring and manipulated the amount to read $180 with a fine black pen and artistic precision. The look on her face was priceless when she opened it up, one of surprise, but also one of anguish as her plan had backfired. Needless to say, she repayed me in ways that men expect women to pay. Point is: her xmas price-tag idea brought out the worst in us. Two wrongs make a right, right?

2. At my dorm last year, I received a shirt from one of my friends before the holiday break when everyone went home. Over the break via e-mail, she had the audacity to ask me what I was getting her. I was disgusted but told her it was a surprise. She liked angels, so I went outta my way to find her an angel-encrusted photo-frame. It felt awkward, like I was doing my job rather than charity, when I finally handed her the gift. To add injury to insult, she told me the frame was fat and ugly. Ugh! Stopped talking to her after that episode. Moral of story: don't become friends with former flings you turned down a "relationship" with.

-Mach3avelli
posted by Mach3avelli at 4:26 PM on December 29, 2001


There's only one reason why someone would "accidentally" forget to remove a price-tag.

Wrong. I forgot to do it on a couple presents this year, and so did my wife. It was an honest mistake, on presents that weren't especially expensive (one for my six-year-old daughter, and I promise you, I have no illusions about her ability to buy me expensive gifts).

My ex-girlfriend a couple years back did this with me (contributed to me leaving her) for a $29.99 pair of sandals. For good measure, I got her a $30 ring and manipulated the amount to read $180 with a fine black pen and artistic precision. The look on her face was priceless when she opened it up, one of surprise, but also one of anguish as her plan had backfired. Needless to say, she repayed me in ways that men expect women to pay.

That was creepy of you. This story and the next leave no doubt that this woman should be thankful she's an ex.

Ugh!

Ugh!
posted by rodii at 4:35 PM on December 29, 2001


That was creepy of you. This story and the next leave no doubt that this woman should be thankful she's an ex.

Why's that? Because I'm candid about my imperfections (even those from my naive teen years that no longer apply)?

Then why am I so sought after by girls all around me?

-Mach3avelli
posted by Mach3avelli at 5:13 PM on December 29, 2001


Needless to say, she repayed me in ways that men expect women to pay.

You suffer under the misapprehension you're a man, Mr. Pricetag.
posted by KLAX at 5:18 PM on December 29, 2001


There always the crazy kids ad AdBusters to look to for advice. Buy Nothing Day is always the day after thanksgiving, the largest shopping day of the year.
And, more in tune w/ this thread, you can download a high quality "Gift Exemption Voucher".
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:35 PM on December 29, 2001


Mach, indeed, you "sport the true nature of someone who eclpises a broad comprehension of rhetoric, wit, charm, and appeal." What woman could resist that?

*tee hee*
posted by rodii at 5:40 PM on December 29, 2001


Then why am I so sought after by girls all around me?

This deserves a FP post as a topic of discussion.
posted by stbalbach at 5:41 PM on December 29, 2001


All I have to say is where was this support group when I needed it about a month ago? :-)

Now that we have a kid, I'm stuck with a very serious dilemma about how to deal with Christmas when I feel it is rotten to the core but nobody else in my family or my wife's family shares the same opinion. I would love to just let Christmas be invisible, but I just don't see how to get there.
posted by briank at 5:57 PM on December 29, 2001


(Brian, I totally forgot you were having a baby! Congratulations.) I know exactly what you mean. But the kids love it, so forget about escaping it. Just try to keep it in perspective (for the kids) (and the grandparents (but forget about that too)).
posted by rodii at 6:08 PM on December 29, 2001


This is a good start on the assault on consumerism, especially the variety that derives much of its momentum thru guilt. Since this whole panorama known as 'celebrating Christmas' has nothing to do with Christianity I would expect it to be shunned by Christians and enjoyed only by non-believers.
posted by Mack Twain at 6:25 PM on December 29, 2001


Then why am I so sought after by girls all around me?

Because you are a boy. And a very silly boy at that. Maybe someday you will grow up & find out what women are like, but given your outlook, I'd say this is doubtful. You're most likely going to wind up as one of those pathetic old guys sitting in a stinking lounge in a strip mall, wearing an orange toupee & talking about all the ass you used to get.
posted by barkingterrier at 6:26 PM on December 29, 2001


Oh c'mon think of all those department store Santas. Where else are recovering drunks gonna go for a quick buck?

Besides as a retail worker, I have a dispensation to celebrate xmas in June.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 PM on December 29, 2001


If nothing else, it drives the economy.

Boycott Christmas?! HOW UNPATRIOTIC OF YOU!

Someone alert Uberfuhrer Ashcroft!
posted by crunchland at 6:43 PM on December 29, 2001


Does anyone ever notice how the really sweet chicks chase after the dirtbags?
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:00 PM on December 29, 2001


Does anyone ever notice how the really sweet chicks chase after the dirtbags?

Does anyone ever notice how the level of discourse around here takes a nosedive like a gutshot duck every time the new user registrations are turned on again? Not that I'm complaining....

Ah, fuck it, I am complaining. If you have nothing vaguely intelligent or amusing or even tangentially on topic to say, display some self-restraint and don't say it. OK? Please?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:32 PM on December 29, 2001


stavros- be nice, Jake's a buddy of mine, he was just cracking a joke at Mach3veli's expense
posted by jonmc at 7:35 PM on December 29, 2001


Grrr....all right, sorry.


Nurse! Where's my meds?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:40 PM on December 29, 2001


Ya know what stavrosthewonderchicken, I had some really nasty thing to say, but then I saw the pic on your MeFi profile, and you remind me of Serj Tankian from System Of A Down. So, I guess I can't badger you. Drats.

Oh well, rock on. Tip your waitress.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:52 PM on December 29, 2001


I'm glad others are doing this because I'm incapable of doing anything on my own.

People are sheep, only the shepherd changes.
posted by Mick at 8:28 PM on December 29, 2001


Am i the onlye one here who LOVES Chistmas time? Grantes, i am a Catholic, but it is the only time of the year my whole family gets together, i get to go on vacation to see my extended family, i get a rest from school after finals. CHRISTMAS ROCKS!
posted by jmd82 at 9:19 PM on December 29, 2001


You know, you can reject the consumerism, pressure, and even religion of it and still have a merry Christmas. I mean, sure it's become a consumer holiday, corporate opportunism being what it is, but you don't have to be all bah-humbug to decide not to be part of that. Just sayin'.
posted by Nothing at 9:36 PM on December 29, 2001


Ho ho ho!

Re: gf and bf manipulating present prices)

One of the many pleasures Metafilter brings me are the conversations that, mid-thread, lurch and suddenly change topic. Bravo!

matthowie: Christmas to me is about family and friends getting together. Okay, and about my parents buying me a DVD player :P
posted by sillygwailo at 9:47 PM on December 29, 2001


I seem to remember a time when I liked Christmas--but I think I'm long past it. Maybe I can progress from merely not observing the holiday to ignoring it completely. ("Huh? December 25th was somebody's birthday and we were all supposed to buy stuff for each other? No way!")
posted by StOne at 9:54 PM on December 29, 2001


my sweetie & I usually get in some sort of terribly nasty, stressful fight at the holidays...it also manages to bring out all the money, emotional & family issues one's heart could wish for.

this year we finally got it right. a little bit of shopping for each other, something wildly magnanimous for our cats, one gift for a very good friend, and new year's cards for everyone else.

and the gift for the friend was a game book...so that we could play with her. she saw through our ruse, and set up the best Xmas day game I could've possibly imagined.

mellow was the watchword this year, and it seems to have worked wonders.

now, next year I'll have to find some way to duck out of the insane dept. party at work.
posted by epersonae at 10:00 PM on December 29, 2001


I like Aaron McGruder's take on the boycotting of Christmas in Boondocks.
posted by bragadocchio at 10:17 PM on December 29, 2001


it is the only time of the year my whole family gets together

Exactly the reason so many people dislike the holiday, I expect.
posted by kindall at 10:23 PM on December 29, 2001


Mathowie hated Xmas!

Actually, I saw the stickers around town today and thought it was a funny site worth posting. I don't have strong feelings about xmas one way or the other, I like gathering with family and friends, though the gift-buying guilt is a bit much at times.
posted by mathowie at 10:30 PM on December 29, 2001


Then why am I so sought after by girls all around me?

Because you are a boy. And a very silly boy at that. Maybe someday you will grow up & find out what women are like, but given your outlook, I'd say this is doubtful. You're most likely going to wind up as one of those pathetic old guys sitting in a stinking lounge in a strip mall, wearing an orange toupee & talking about all the ass you used to get.


Nah, I've got it down pat. I look for the quick fix, and I know how to get it. I'm only 19, and I'm not in the mood to settle down now. I treat girls with respect, and I've got my head on straight to pursue anything I want.

So I guess I won't be coming to join you in that sleazy strip club of yours.

Does anyone ever notice how the really sweet chicks chase after the dirtbags?

Wow, someone's bitter....get a little more self-respect and the girls'll come flockin' to ya. I guarantee it.

My stories were meant to point out the things xmas does to peoples' greed. So let's quit hammering a naive guy who existed two years ago and focus on why xmas should be done away with.

-Mach3avelli
posted by Mach3avelli at 10:38 PM on December 29, 2001


Mellow is exactly the way to handle Christmas/the holiday season and not stress out. I got my shopping done early (just token things for friends and family, since we all have Stuff), and spent time with them, baking cookies and just hanging out.

The other thing I did, which I highly recommend, is to do things for others less fortunate. Serve food at a mission, adopt a less-fortunate family for Christmas, etc. Service to your fellow man, in your community, gives immediate tangible results to them, and gives you a warm glow and a glimpse of what Christmas is really all about, consumerism bullshit and stress aside.
posted by ebarker at 10:48 PM on December 29, 2001


I agree ebarker. I finally got my act together and collected some toy donations this year. I was amazed how easy it was and it just felt good.

Mach3avelli, congrats on getting more ass than a toilet seat. Sorry, ladies, but he's not in the mood to settle down just yet. Rock on, r33t brutha.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:54 PM on December 29, 2001


I do that every year. Didn't send a single card or present this year, woohoo! (I did receive two cards though)

I keep having this book recommended to me by Amazon.. 'Skipping Christmas' by John Grisham, all about a middle-aged American couple who skip Christmas, and the trouble that ensues. Haven't bought it yet, but it sounds funny.
posted by wackybrit at 11:18 PM on December 29, 2001


Mach3avelli -I'm only 19

Really? We never would have guessed...
posted by jonmc at 11:20 PM on December 29, 2001


Truth is, Christmas is for about about children ... whichever fantasy they want to buy into about the meaning of the day, it's a magical time when you're young. Unfortunately, at some point, it stops being magical, and that magic can only be rekindled when you have kids, and you get to make it magical for them.

I'm thinking that anyone who can get away without buying or giving gifts probably doesn't have any kids in their life.
posted by crunchland at 11:49 PM on December 29, 2001


The gift-giving "tradition" is pretty damn recent and pretty much limited to the American and European countries.

I'd wholeheartedly love to see an end to this obscene gift-giving orgy. There's not a kid on this planet that needs hundreds of dollars of toys all at once, and all us adults should have the capability to go out and buy anything we need or want without a whole lot of trouble.

Eliminate the gift orgy and what are you left with?

The peace, kindness, and generosity part of it.

Now, spread that peace, kindness, and generosity idea out to cover about 365 days of the year, and we'd actually have something going...

But, hey, no: our cultures are pretty ugly, so we'll kick back into the mean-spirited greed motif within a week.

Makes me want to move off to some small Polynesian island.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:12 AM on December 30, 2001


Xmas is a dreadful holiday that encourages competitiveness, fosters ill will amongst children over who gets the most toys, leaves untold thousands alone without a warm body or family members to get in touch with and completely deludes the American public, et al. into ignoring some of the very real problems that humanity faces: namely, the homeless, world hunger, and any particular purview directed towards the needy or lower classes. The weeks before Xmas yield a world populated by bombastic carols, cards packed with odious homilies sent off to friends and relatives never contacted throughout the rest of the year, and materialistic vultures swarming through shopping malls. Any kind of boycott over gift giving limited to once a year (and only once a year! Call now!) and these negative aspects of Xmas is a good idea in my book.
posted by ed at 12:22 AM on December 30, 2001


what's r33t mean?
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:26 AM on December 30, 2001


Something about lemurs. Don't worry about it.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:34 AM on December 30, 2001


mach:

i'm guessing r33t => l33t (spoken as though by someone with a japanese accent). or i could be wrong.
posted by moz at 12:36 AM on December 30, 2001


There's nothing new under the sun...

Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said "Bah!" again; and followed it up with "Humbug."

"Don't be cross, uncle!" said the nephew.

"What else can I be," returned the uncle, "when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"
*
posted by crunchland at 3:15 AM on December 30, 2001


Convert
posted by Postroad at 3:33 AM on December 30, 2001


Truth is, Christmas is for about about children ... whichever fantasy they want to buy into about the meaning of the day, it's a magical time when you're young.

But magical why? For most kids it's magical because of the stuff they get. My daughter is four and really wanted a doll house and Barbies. I almost puked, and my wife and I had long conversations about what Barbies represented and whether it was a good thing to give her what she asked for since it sets up all sorts of future expectations of materialistic wishes come true. We compromised, sorta. She got the doll house, but it came with Dollar Store "Barbies" which will fall apart in about a week.
posted by willrich at 3:45 AM on December 30, 2001


Darn it wackybrit you beat me to it! My brother bought me 'Skipping Christmas' for Christmas and it's almost exactly like the boycotting campaign that's going on.

As I'm only 13 and leagally a child I enjoy Christmas for the innocent happy time it is. Hand making presents for my close family, baking a lopsided cake and burnt cookies, talking to my great grandparents over the phone and playing 'Flummoxed' and 'Uno Extreme'. One day I'll probobly be old and bitter and dislike Christmas for the shallow, gift orientated occasion it appears to be. However for me each Christmas is still fresh and new, Santa still a mystery, the tinsel still shiny and fun, church still filled with singing angels.

And cake, much cake.
posted by hugsnkisses at 3:54 AM on December 30, 2001


I've said it before & I'll say it yet one more time: let's make the primary focus of the traditional "holiday season" NEW YEAR'S EVE instead of (a) xmas, (b) hannukah, or (c) kwanzaa. It is celebrated almost universally, regardless of religious beliefs, it is intended solely for merriment, good cheer, and best wishes for a new year, and what better time to rip open the presents than just after the stroke of midnight? HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!
posted by davidmsc at 7:31 AM on December 30, 2001


I actually like the gift-giving. I limit the amount I spend, and try to find small tokens of genuine affection. It's nice to remember each member of my family once a year in a tangible way. Oddly, I don't much care about the gift-getting, except from my son. Gifts handmade by a kid are the best.

What I like every year is the singing, the atmosphere of good cheer, eggnog, with or without coffee brandy (try it over crushed ice-yummy) and the lights.

Sometimes I try to see it the way an anthropologist might, as a highly elaborate cultural ritual.

The commercialism is best dealt with by turning off the teevee, which is generally good advice anyway. And with no Kathie Lee Gifford holiday special this year, what's the point of even having a teevee.
posted by theora55 at 7:34 AM on December 30, 2001


my god, its yahoo chat room time
posted by clavdivs at 8:26 AM on December 30, 2001


Mach3avelli -I'm only 19

Really? We never would have guessed...


hey now, not all of us 19 year olds are callow jerks.

though i've been all about the "bah humbugness" for the past couple of years, i think we should let the holiday stick around. if we're gonna be cold in the winter, we might as well get gifts.
posted by lotsofno at 8:51 AM on December 30, 2001


I don't know. The missus and I did gifts this year, but we tried to give thoughtful gifts first, without any ego about the costs. We caught up with family (in fact, we spent Christmas day cooking brunch for an old family friend who's a widow), and spent the rest of the day just enjoying each other's company. We only really did gifts for the people we are close to, not everybody in sight, as so many feel compelled to do.

The true sin of Christmas is buying into the commercialization, not the holiday itself.

Of course, on the flip side, I wouldn't have a new leather coat, Krups espresso maker, or GeForce 2 video card if it wasn't for Christmas...
posted by Samizdata at 10:44 AM on December 30, 2001


The commercialism is best dealt with by turning off the teevee

This is true. It's amazing how much pressure (from my point of view) or potential delight (from my kids' point of view) comes from the TV.
posted by rodii at 11:52 AM on December 30, 2001


" ... Am i the onlye one here who LOVES Chistmas time? Grantes, i am a Catholic, but it is the only time of the year my whole family gets together, i get to go on vacation to see my extended family, i get a rest from school after finals. CHRISTMAS ROCKS! ..."

I'm with you. I love it. I love getting gifts from friends and family, and I love giving gifts to them. I also hope the general sentiment on this blog isn't too widespread of a sample. It is about as bitter as I've seen anywhere. Those that want to focus on "commercialism" are missing the point altogether. Giving gifts is a wonderful way to express a whole range of sentiments.
posted by MidasMulligan at 12:47 PM on December 30, 2001


"What Christmas Means to Me"

"Xmas and Christmas"

Two essays sharing thoughts on the matter by C.S. Lewis.
posted by aaronshaf at 3:58 PM on December 30, 2001


Aaron, did you get permission to use those excerpts?
posted by rodii at 4:19 PM on December 30, 2001


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