Holiday Anti-Consumer Pledge (7262-7278)


I am taking a pledge to not buy anything during the holiday season with a few exceptions:

  1. Food and necessities like toilet paper and sunscreen
  2. Two gifts each for my children (from me AND Lonny)
  3. A bed (but I promise it will be from a thrift store)

Yep, that’s it. Keep in mind that I am making this pledge and not Lonny, although he would argue that his purchases are for business purposes only. Fine.

I might replace Blue's squeaky toy but I consider that a necessity.

I might replace Blue’s squeaky toy but I consider that a necessity.

I promise not to ask him to buy anything for me and thus skirt my obligation. And you know how I am about my obligations. I write every stupid day because a year ago I promised no one that I would do it. And here we are.

If I do slip up, I promise to post about it so you all can publicly flay me.

This isn’t a hard promise to make. I hate shopping and when I do I kind of have a little panic attack.

I’m not kidding; my heart starts to race and I feel kind of swimmy and ill. It’s a good thing.

I figure if I want something that badly, I can wait until January at which point it is highly unlikely that I will still want it. That’s just how it goes with impulse shopping.

Christmas isn’t a huge holiday around here. I don’t think we’ll have a tree this year because Pussy Galore is in FULL ON search and destroy mode.

A Christmas tree and my great-grandmother’s handmade ornaments won’t stand a chance.

img_0628

My great-grandmother Annie made these in her ballroom, a closet with a small desk with shelves loaded with tinsel, lace, pins and beads. She made each one by hand. Her ornaments are my prized possessions.

The kitten is completely insane. I woke up early and enjoyed the sliver moon from the office window while I got on the computer.

The cat made any peace impossible. She ran a circuit around the room, attacking the dog, scratching the couch and clawing the vintage Mantilla draped over my dress form. Repeat.

I can only imagine what she’d do to a tree.

black-cat-in-christmas-tree

I might hang a swag of decorated evergreen boughs somewhere high and put up the wreath (I already own an artificial one, HA!) and decorate those. I’ll also bust out the Advent Calendar (already own one, boom!) and we’ll have Christmas morning with my mother-in-law (who I love), but I’m going to avoid the frenzy.

roflbot-3 copy

Nobody is making you shop!

I will not post about how exhausted and stressed I am about holiday shopping and gift wrapping because, surprise, I won’t be doing any!

This is all self-inflicted brain-damage, people.

But what about the kids?

They’ll be fine.

I’ve been trying to emphasize the importance of friendship and family over gifts. I’ll get them one or two gifts and I’m sure their grandparents will give them things. I have been saddened in the past to watch them tear through a big pile of presents like greedy animals.

Little_girl_excited_christmas_present

Christmas morning never looks like this, which is what marketers want you to believe buying more stuff will accomplish.

That's more like it.

That’s more like it.

They rip off the wrapping, barely registering what they’ve gotten in their frantic race to move on to the next bit of loot. It’s terrible to see them treat a gift so cavalierly.

I don’t want them to turn into this person.

roflbot-3

You can’t truly enjoy anything when faced with a mountain of it, unless it’s snow. The boys are old enough to think good and hard about what they would really like and don’t need a giant pile to experience the magic of Christmas, whatever that’s about.

We’ll have friends over, parties, dinners and family, sledding and cocoa, we’ll go see the lights and check out the parade. I want them to associate Christmas with people and charity, not consumerism.

Don’t your kids believe in Santa?

No.

No.

But what if someone buys you a gift. Won’t you feel like an asshole if you don’t have a gift to give them in return?

I’m tired of this argument. It has kept me in the mad cycle of impulsively buying meaningless gifts, just in case.

These days, given who I am and what I do, everyone knows that I don’t want anything. They know that what I want more than anything else (gift wise) is nothing at all.

wheres-my-pony

Maybe a pony would be nice. Just kidding.

If you want to give me something for Christmas you can go for a walk with me.

All I want

Really, that’s it. I love going for walks.

I don’t even want to go out to eat or for drinks or anything. There is so much excess around the holidays that the one thing you can give me that won’t make me feel bad about myself is a little fresh air and conversation.

If you are far away, we can enjoy a nice conversation on the phone while I walk the stupid dog. If you are a reader and don’t know me, give me a like or leave a comment. That would be wonderful.

Time to cut the crap.

13 thoughts on “Holiday Anti-Consumer Pledge (7262-7278)

  1. I have an anti-consumer pledge too but a little different. I refuse to participate in the whole black friday madness. People are fucking crazy! Last couple years I have heard horrible stories about people getting trampled, injured or even killed cause they just go insane trying to get that hot item or save a few bucks. It’s dangerous and complete madness. And now many of the stores opened Thanksgiving evening which I think is horrible. So now instead of these employees being able to spend the day with their families, they have to work and put up with crazed shoppers. Or the shoppers themselves instead of enjoying the holiday with their family are going out and risking life and limb. It’s not worth it! Even if I had the money to spend I wouldn’t do it. My kids know that they’re likely to get 1 or 2 gifts and they’re ok with it. Well the older 2 at any rate, not sure about my youngest, plus his birthday is on the 14th and I’m trying to figure out how to come up with the money for it all even as little as it’ll be.

    Not to mention, I’ll be going into the hospital on Monday to have a hernia repair, will be in there a week and then several weeks recovery at home. Gifts might not happen till after Christmas.

    • There is so much madness around the Black Friday frenzy. Someone has already died from being trampled. My son was watching the news report about protests against stores being open on Thanksgiving. Even at just seven years old he said, “That’s just wrong! People should be able to be with their families on Thanksgiving!”

      Good luck with your surgery. I feel your pain.

      Best wishes to you and your family.

  2. You Boulder people–don’t you care about the health of the economy? Your refusal to shop and consume is subversive, anti-American, insulting to all those who do their part by going to work every day in their cars, like God intended. Good heavens, how can we have economic growth if you won’t shop?!!

    • For real, baby. All I hear on the news is Black Friday outcomes and forecasts for holiday shopping revenues. Surely there must be a better way to stimulate the economy than to land the consumer in greater credit card debt.

      That said, I will be expecting a very expensive present from you.

      • Nice reply. Eugeneagain, the economy will survive when it is based on something sustainable that the people want. I didn’t choose an economy that placed value on things and corporations over people. My partner and I are giving Kiva (http://www.kiva.org/start) microloans to help others have an economic advantage and sustain their families and communities, and I will be gifting some cuttings and plants and bits and bobs from the garden (as it is summer time in the Southern Hemisphere). The message for us is simple: “Time is the most valuable thing that a man can spend.”
        ― Diogenes Laertius. All of the time you spend transporting yourself to work every day in your car, waiting in line for some mindless purchase, and blindly consuming for the sake of economic growth are times that cannot be meaningful in other ways. I guess I enjoy spending time with my animals, my partner, and my garden a bit more than waiting in line for some new “stuff.” Healthy economy or a healthy life? I prefer the latter.

        • Thank you Sarah! It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one on-board with this. It’s been several weeks since I’ve bought anything (except I redeemed a gift card for a book) and certainly nothing for the holidays. People get so freaked out about the holidays but they seem to forget that they can be whatever you want. The ad agencies aren’t the arbiters of our holiday rituals.

        • We need to rethink how we define a robust economy. We can’t keep growing and expect our planet to continue sustaining us. It isn’t about saving the planet, it’s out saving ourselves. We will run out of resources before we know it.

  3. Pingback: Drop and Give Me Twenty (7279-7292) | Vivienne's Process of Elimination

    • Hm. Kindred spirit? Did you used to be an administrative assistant? I was one years ago at the university and got into the mindset of keeping the office stocked. It took a really long time to realize that you don’t really need that stuff in a regular house. Not that I’m regular.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree. I hope that the sales associate stomping and greedy cold hearts of the consumers will eventually soften over time but you can’t expect too much from sheeps and robots. Nice to see people posting something thoughtful for a change instead of blindly and hazily following the masses.

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