It’s that time of year again – time to reconnect with loved ones, give thanks for the blessings God has given us, make happy memories… and the next day, behave like a bunch of baboons on meth as we try to buy ALL THE THINGS so that we can WIN AT CHRISTMAS.
Buy Nothing Day originated in the ’90s as reaction to all this insanity and has mainly been promoted by the left-leaning magazine Adbusters. However, even if you have very different political views from the usual Adbusters reader, Buy Nothing Day is probably a holiday you can get behind. Here’s why:
1. Christmas is over-commercialized.
All right, yes, this is hardly news. But if you want to keep Christ in Christmas, the first step is recognizing that a consumer feeding frenzy is not the way to prepare for Jesus’ birth. If you ask me, the biggest threat to Christmas in America isn’t people saying “Happy Holidays” (I share Kendra’s thoughts on that one) or Starbucks cups (the contents of the cups is what I object to). It’s the fact that Advent is supposed to be a solemn, prayerful time to prepare our hearts for Jesus, and instead we’ve made it into a whirlwind of shopping, parties, shopping, decorating, and more shopping. Count me out.
2. If you aren’t fighting the crowds, you can spend more time with your family. Thanksgiving is one of the few 4-day weekends many people get, and very often we spend it with people we don’t see at other times of the year. Yeah, you could drag yourself and the family out of bed at 4 AM, get into an MMA match with the insane mob, and buy some crap that nobody needs and everybody will forget after New Year’s… or you could go to daily Mass, or go outside and appreciate nature, or play games or a sport, or do crafts, or even just stay home and watch football or Netflix. If you want to get the word out about Buy Nothing Day, you could even try one of Adbusters’ protest ideas. Any of those things f would promote more togetherness than going to Wal-Mart.
3. Thanksgiving Day isn’t the only day to count your blessings. One of the things that repulses me most about Black Friday shopping is that we live in the richest society the world has ever seen, and yet we clobber each other for more, more, more. Many people serve meals at a homeless shelter on Thanksgiving itself, but the homeless people are still homeless the day after. Instead of shopping, consider doing something for the least among us. Even if you can’t give time, buying nothing will leave you with more money to donate.
I hope this Friday, you’ll ditch the mobs and find a way to, as they say at the end of Mass, “glorify the Lord with your life.” Me, I plan on sleeping in and having a movie and game night with family.