A Calm Christmas

What is Christmas? Is it a religious occurrence, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? Is it a collective spirit of family values and caring? Or is it simply a terrible consumer phenomenon perpetrated by the retail industry? Well, its probably all three.

From: Culture Jammers Network
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2001 10:35:54 -0800
Subject: Calm Christmas

Did you do it? Was it more painful than you thought, or less?

It shouldn’t be too hard keep the wallet buttoned for just one day. But damned if shopping’s not a stubborn routine to break. A decaf-latte here, a video-rental there, a newspaper and a tank of gas on plastic – the routine has become unconscious. We’re slaves to our consumption patterns, and it’s hard to know how much so until we break them. That’s what Buy Nothing Day is about. It’s an experiment in self-awareness-and self-control-in the service of a broader global message. If you’re among the thousands worldwide who took the Buy Nothing Day challenge for the first time, what did it feel like?

This much we know: The experience has changed people. Maybe it changed you. Maybe you felt…lighter. More relaxed. More alive than you have in months. And maybe you want to ride that feeling right into the Christmas season and beyond, turning a thoroughly commodified holiday into something more authentically fulfilling: a Calm Christmas.

On Buy Nothing Day a small group in Fairbanks, Alaska staged a peace march right through the local mall. A group in Calgary, Alberta, heard about that and staged one of their own. (Could we have found a new use for malls?) And so the meme spreads. What we have on our hands here, quite possibly, is a whole new way of celebrating Christmas. Doing the Right Thing, surrounded by the ones you love, and quietly redefining “freedom” in the bargain. No one can say that’s not patriotic.

This was my first year of buying nothing, but it won’t be the last. And when people ask what I want for Hanukkah this year, I will respond with the truth: I don’t need anything material. Having you ask me is enough.

2 replies on “A Calm Christmas”

  1. Is this where you learned about memes? Hey! When I asked you what you wanted for Hanukkah you said an iPod! (By the way, have you seen the iPod commercials? No patriotic stuff, but they’re okay. Anyways, you should try not to contradict yourself. Maybe you hadn’t written this yet.

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