All I Want for Buy-Nothing Christmas

Only 21 shopping days left till hypochrismas. Here’s how I rolled over the past week.

Last Friday on GoodEvaning, I wrote Occupy the 99%: How to Shop on Buy Nothing Day. In preparing that post, I encountered Buy Nothing Christmas, which reminded me of the documentary What Would Jesus Buy? and I said to myself, Yeah, right on, Brother! Those ideas are easy for me to buy into since, being a recently diagnosed freelance writer, I can afford to buy nothing.

That same evening I went to Swap Sity’s screening of the film Living Without Money and listened to guest speaker, “Barter Babe” Shannon Simmons, talk about how to make bartering a part of your personal financial plan. That’s something I could afford – Christmaswapping!

Buy Nothing Christmas

Buy Nothing Christmas

But when my dear family began to pester me for my “Christmas list”, which should be an oxymoron rather than a cliché, I felt myself toning down the buy-nothing rhetoric. I’m doing it for them, I told myself, because it would just break their little hearts if I didn’t have something under the tree to unwrap, from each of them, with their names on the tags. Altruism can be a vicious game.

So yeah, yesterday I sent out my list. If I were to get everything on my list, the retail value would be more than I’ve earned in the last six months – I’m talking hundreds of dollars – stuff that I have admitted I do not need.

Then today I flip-flopped again. After saying a firm “No” three times to joining an expedition to a non-specific warehouse sale, I caved rather than “ruin the Christmas spirit”. The aim of the mission was to buy “stocking stuffers” – the season’s most repugnant word pair. What horror. Mountains of infomercial rejects. Who could possibly want any of this crap? Damn, I am such a hypocrite! Okay, I confess – I let someone buy me a $4 baking pan, which I will use for baking Fair Squares*, the brownies I will be giving everyone for Christmas. [Too late for a SPOILER ALERT?]

Now here is my selfish Christmas wish, which I am sending out to you and the world. What I want for Christmas is to increase my readership of a dozen subscribers to over 100. So, please, indulge me. Try getting in the spirit of giving without spending, and make this the best Christmas ever – for me – by subscribing to

And it’s a gift you can give to everyone you know at absolutely no cost to anyone. And it’s a gift you can enjoy for years to come, or ignore without guilt, or get rid of without harming the environment, or – the best option – re-gift without letting go of it.

Please take a few seconds and subscribe, and then take a minute to suggest to a few of your friends and family that they subscribe, too. I don’t aspire to be “bigger than Jesus”, but I’d like to spread my words. That’s what I want; what do you want? Donate a comment.

Have a happy solstice!


*To help the producers of the ingredients – many of them actual Christians in Latin America – earn a wage that might enable their families to celebrate Christmas, I use Fair Trade cocoa and Fair Trade sugar (and eggs from local, free-run chickens). FREE RECIPE FOR SUBSCRIBERS.



Filed under conscious consumption, fair trade, writing

12 responses to “All I Want for Buy-Nothing Christmas

  1. Kate

    I came here tonight with the intention to subscribe, so it’s win-win, I say. You know, I have actually come to dread Christmas, because too many folks in my sphere have lost the spirit I used to love. Too much pressure, expectation, and obligation. Three of my least favourite things.

  2. If I weren’t a believer (in your blog) already, I would now. Can I join again for the same price? (Notice I ask ‘can I’ rather than ‘may I’ as I’m fairly sure you’d permit me. But an i, and stil lbe logical?)

  3. Guess I should have checked the writing quality before I hit send. But I rarely read my own writing. Need an editor. Know one?

    • Please direct that urge to subscribe anew into getting five other people to subscribe. (Okay, I’m being greedy. Three will do.)

      Comments can be copy-edited upon request. No charge.

  4. Jadesmom

    I am going to take these comments seriously, dear writer.

    • Do take it seriously! If I get nothing but my 100 subscribers, it will be a very satisfactory “Christmas haul”. I really do give family my list of suggestions with no expectation of finding an order filled. And the things I say I’d like (but don’t need) are not superfluous, they are luxuries. Like Fair Trade chocolate and sugar (some of which I give back, in cookie form).

  5. Seth

    Well, yes and no, as an old man once said. while modern christmas has become a vomitorium of greed, that in itself does not mean that exchanging money for goods and services is bad. At least, it is no worsse at this time of year than any other. The Buy-Nothing movement may have some sort of good intent, but as you recently commented, they tend to miss the mark, unless they have a goal of anarchy, social collapse, and general economic selfishness. Yes, selfishness. If that isnt a self-evident trait for those who espouse the doctrine of buy-nothing, I suggest a good old logical analysis of the who-benefits-from-which-approach.
    The winter solstice seems the best of all reasons for annual celebration, and I see no reason to change this just because some irritating cult religion tried to commandeer the date.

    • True, exchanging money for goods and services is not bad. But why not emphasize the giving rather than the spending? And more importantly, why not emphasize the good will rather than the giving?
      Absolutely, let’s celebrate the ‘return of the light’! And if you want to buy what your receiver wants to get, do that. But don’t scan “Gift Guides” to check names off a “must buy for” list. If you want to give but don’t know what is wanted, give something that won’t collect dust. Like food, which can be re-gifted or aggressively shared if they don’t like it. Or give preachy advice. People can’t get enough of that stuff!

  6. Marcus

    I was already following your blog through Google Reader but I cancelled it and today subscribed directly through the site. Happy Winter Solstice!

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