Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Twenty-First Century Addiction

From the bean of Green Bean.

I intended to post today about Buy Nothing Day, an annual event which occurs on "Black Friday". Participants protest the consumerism of Christmas by buying nothing on Buy Nothing Day.

I planned to urge you to participate by "not participating" on November 28. But that kind of a post is so last year.

We are a different society than we were in 2007. The era of conspicuous consumption has slammed to a close. Gone are the days of shop 'til you drop. Frugality is the new bling.

In part, we have the flailing economy to thank for our turn around. But there is more. The election proved that we are a society awakening - gradually, yes, but awakening none the less. We are just beginning to understand the impact of our actions - on our deteriorating environment, on our over-indulged children, on our strained bank account. As a comment on No Impact Man's blog brought home: "People are consuming less and eating local. Conspicuous consumption is suddenly passe. Gardens and home canning are back. SUVs are done for. Oversized homes in the hinterlands were the first ones that stopped selling. People are changing, perhaps not with the sort of 'Mea culpa, you were right and I was wrong!' sentiment that some would like to hear, but people are surely changing."

As changed people, we now longer covet the newest fashion accessory. No longer shiver with anticipation at a Christmas tree surrounded with gifts. We are no longer hooked on shopping.

Now, the craving to economize is front and center.

How many of you get a secret thrill from turning nearly sour milk into yogurt and getting another couple meals out of it? From cooking almost rotten strawberries into a syrup for yogurt pancakes?

From darning a sock for the fifth time or ignoring holes sprouting in your child's shoes for just one more month?

From scoring a really nice pair of jeans at the local thrift store for $3 or borrowing garden tools from a neighbor?

From doling out holiday sweets a bit at a time so that they are truly enjoyed and not just devoured?

From unraveling an old sweater and using the yarn to knit for holiday gifts?

From finding happiness in the people with whom we spend our holidays and not what we spend?

Embrace this new era and celebrate it on November 28th by consuming less and living more.

Happy holidays.

Related posts:

Losing My Desire

Stop Shopping Recycled

It's Better to Borrow


Liam said...

Anyone wanted a more longwinded exposition of the frugality argument can find it at this link.


kale for sale said...

Walking to the office this morning I could feel that holiday energy heating up; the excitement and anticipation that so often leads to shopping. Thanks for pulling me back and getting my feet on the ground again. I'm still excited about the holidays but I don't have to shop to show it.

Anonymous said...

We're going up to our cabin on Friday. We'll definitely be sledding and hopefully cross country skiing if there's enough snow. We'll be binging on leftovers and playing board games. The closest stores are 25 miles away!


Fix said...

I'd like to add that Friday is StoryCorps' "National Day of Listening". I went to the booth and recorded something with my sister a few years ago and it was amazing! Listening to other people's stories and asking questions seems so simple but it is very powerful. And you don't have to buy anything!

fullfreezer said...

My daughter (14) has never been one who needed the designer clothes but I realized that I had raised her right when she was really excited about shopping at the local thrift store and scoring several shirts for a quarter each! She was quickly adding up how much we had saved and what else that could go to. I'm quite proud of her.

Green Bean said...

Liam: Thank you for sharing.

Katrina: It is hard, isn't it, sometimes to pull back from the shopping? It's like we're programmed. Once we get over it though, we find so much more meaning in the holidays.

Diana: Sounds like you will have a very successful Buy Nothing Day!

Fix: National Listening Day sounds awesome. Thank you for passing it along.

Fullfreezer: Sounds like someone has done a great job parenting! :) You must be one proud mama.

Joyce said...

I wonder when the Black Friday thing started. No one in my extended family has ever done it, except for one daughter-in-law that grew up in a family where the men went hunting that day, and the wonmen went shopping.

I think the day of listening is a great idea!

Electronic Goose said...

I'm in for Buying Nothing Day. Week ... maybe month ...


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