Embracing Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day

There's nothing quite like a consumer-free day. Image: Adbusters.

I love Buy Nothing Day. I’ve celebrated it since it was first announced twenty years ago by the same band of merry activists who launched the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Why do I like it so much? It’s not just the rejection of a massive consumer culture that I relish, though I do find the doorbuster frenzy mentality tacky and dangerous. No bargain is worth taking my life in my hands.

But moreover, the values of more, more, more stuff just doesn’t resonate with me, either materially, or as a way to enjoy holidays.

Happy holidays!

Don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays. And I love the gifting part —both giving and receiving. But with so many ways to share love with family and friends, from homemade foods, garden harvests, handmade cards, photos, knitted or sewn items, or just a gathering, I feel little need to make our celebrations a year-end over-the-top display.

I don’t want to feel that we should quickly shove food down our gullets on Thanksgiving just to line up outside of a big box store at midnight salivating to get our hands on a deeply discounted product that’s probably making global warming and peak oil situations worse, anyway.

When I do want to buy something, I shop locally first, or from the artists, cullers, and crafters on outlets like Etsy.

Sweet relaxation

But the best part of Buy Nothing Day may not even be the sticking it to The Man part. It really may be the profound relief of taking the day off from any and all forms of consumer interaction. If I go out, it’s for a walk. I don’t drive, because that “spends” gas. I don’t see movies, because even though we have a locally owned cinema three blocks from my house, it’s just the day I choose not to go.

Instead we keep our lights low and kick back for good reads, family games, a little outdoors time, and yummy Thanksgiving leftovers. Buy Nothing Day has turned into my Thanksgiving bonus day —no cooking, just hanging and relaxing. I believe if you try it, you’ll like it.

For me, the best path to success is planning to use Buy Nothing Day for ease and reflection. Make sure you’ve got enough food on hand, some good stuff to read, and ideas for filling those glorious unstructured hours. Talking to your family members can be so cool! Or try throwing an old fashioned family theatrical.

Play charades! Make cards! Look at old family photos.

I don’t think you’ll miss the low, low prices at all. And it’s just a small step from there to looking at what else you can give up in this frenzied culture to buy yourself some peace of mind and time instead.

–Lindsay Curren, Transition Voice

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