Buy Nothing Holidays

Why Buy Nothing? ~ How to Buy Nothing

Novasutras is helping with the #Amazon4Amazon campaign. This effort urges people to boycott the world’s largest online retailer, to pressure the company and its CEO to invest some of their vast fortunes into protecting and preserving the Amazon rainforest.

As part of this boycott, or for many other reasons, you may be trying to buy less stuff.

If you’re concerned about the environment, one of the kindest things you can do for the Earth is to reduce the amount of new stuff that you buy. Stop and think before making any purchase... Will my friends and family join me for a Buy Nothing ChristmasBuying less stuff is not only much kinder to the Earth, it can save you a lot of money, to spend on doing the things that you really love…


Buying Nothing = Agaya & Ubuntu

Buy Nothing Holidays would be an excellent expression of agaya and ubuntu, regardless of whether you are participating in the boycott (though you really should consider participating in the boycott).

While energy and transportation are major factors in our ecological footprint, the food and material goods we purchase often represent significant carbon emissions, toxic byproducts, and wasteful packaging, not to mention abusive labor practices and encouraging a detached consumerist mindset. What kind of holiday is it when we are asked to ignore the real sources of joy: the splendor of healthy living systems and the healing connections of interdependent community?

How to Buy Nothing for the Holidays

How can we resist all the messages—subliminal and screaming “buy, buy, buy, buy”—that come at us during the month of December? How can we reclaim the holiday season from the corporate conglomerate?

How to Have a Non-Commercial Holiday, Frida Berrigan

Giving up buying gifts and decorations is not at all the same as giving up the holidays, and in fact can add a new layer of joy to your celebrations, bringing you deeper into resonance with ubuntu and agaya. There are many alternative ways to express and share your reverence, joy, generosity, gratitude, and loving-kindness.

Draw Something
Sew Something
Cook Something
Sing Something
Build Something
Make Something

Adbusters, 2005

Craft or cooking projects with friends and family can be a joyful way to celebrate together, producing things to be further gifted away as another opportunity for joy. Perhaps you can consciously choose to borrow something from a neighbor, then invite them over to help out or to enjoy what you’ve created.

Coming together to perform becomes a gift to a wider community, transforming strangers into friends in ever-wider circles of ubuntu.

Even if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have time or means to create gifts or perform, you can choose non-material gifting as part of your celebration. Can you give the gift of your time, offering a skill, a service, or just a promise of loving listening and presence to be redeemed in the future? If you have more money than time, perhaps a donation to a mutually-inspiring charity in the name of another?

What are your favorite ways to buy nothing and celebrate the holidays?

Please share your ideas in the comments.

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  1. I’ve been doing this for years. Even BC before my children were born (1986). May because we never could afford it but it always seem to be more personal and meaningful.

    This year I’ve decided to surprise my kids and write them stories it’s the first time doing this, and quite the challenge but I’m done. Three stories complete for all three of my boys.

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