Reduce Your Consumerism at Christmas, 460°

As most people on the planet aren't Christian this probably won't mean something to everybody. However, if you live in the western world it's hard not to get caught up in the consumerism that surrounds Christmas, no matter what your beliefs are. As we in the west are responsible for most of the worlds pollution, due largely to our appetite for things we don't need, which we buy more of at Christmas than any other time of the year, why not try something different this year?

Buy fewer presents or even none at all. If you must buy presents do Chris Kringle amongst your family and friends and buy one inexpensive present (under $20) each for someone else.

Also, if you do buy presents buy ones that have less impact on the environment.

Buy less food for Christmas dinner. Have a simple Christmas meal and don't pig out on the Christmas pud.

21 comments about this action

This action is a really good opportunity to help our culture move away from dependence on senseless consumerism.

My family has a tradition of excess at Xmas. It has been difficult curbing those tendencies but with the assistance of my wife we have been doing quite well at opting out of massive participation in worship at the temple of consumerism at Xmas. For the last several years we have kept it simple and are getting simpler.

in November 2008

Oxfam ( and other aid organisations have schemes where you can buy a gota, pig, chicken, schoolbooks, etc, etc, etc, for a developing community on behalf of your loved one. People whoo need help. Your loved one gets a message to say you're thinking of them, and that you've done this thing on their behalf - and you don't contribute more crap that they don't want or need to their lives.

in November 2008

Instead of gifts for birthdays and Christmas (we already have too much stuff!) I donate the equivalent spend to a charity of the recipients choice. So far it's up to $500 per year that has gone to good causes instead of over packaged, un-wanted and un-useful stuff being presented in copious amounts of gift wrap, that ends up int he rubbish. And this action is getting easier with the launch of on-line donation hubs like

in November 2008

Our family has decided to do Green Silly Season this holiday. Funny cards or homemade cards and a recycled gift that is in "New" condition or handmade gift. We not only decided to cut back because of the economy this past year but we all consciously decided to quit buying so much stuff that quickly ends up in the landfill or broken. Even all the kids and little ones in the family thought this was a great idea. It is amazing how the items in our trash and recycling has decreased. Much less cardboard and plastic from packaging material, plastic shopping bags, etc. Guess what? After puchasing much less this year we all realized that we don't miss this stuff. So please consider making this holiday, a Green Silly Season.
We wish everyone a Happy Green Holiday.

in November 2008

Instead of buying people material things, Oxfam has a great programme they run around the world called "Oxfam Unwrapped". Each gift is delivered to a person in a developing country. You get a gift card indicating the gift you can then pass along to relatives. Buy goats for the mother-in-law, composting toilets for a pesky little brother, or condoms for an... erm... loose friend. I've been doing these for the last few years, and the relatives now expect them. :) Give it a go on

Another suggestion I would have is for donating to a micro finance scheme in developing nations around the world. You can lend $$$ so someone can buy a sewing machine and work their way out of poverty. This site has a great reputation and they offer gift vouchers you can send to other people.

Have some safe and happy holidays people!

in November 2008

We've been slowly reducing our holiday consumption over the years. Each year we've realised that there's less and less crap you need in your life.

Now we're down to just having a normal day off work. We no longer link gift giving to Christmas. We no longer have heavy meals, decorations or such trimmings. Instead we just go outside and enjoy the bounty of nature. Of course it helps that I live in the SOuthern Hemisphere so Christmas is in summer!

in December 2008

We wrap our presents (homemade where possible) in newspaper and magazines we collect through the year. There are some great images on there already and with some imagination you can produce great-looking gifts.

in December 2008

This post is a little late but there is always next year.... For my gardener uncle, I purchased a gift certificate to Seed Savers Exchange (a non-profit supporting gardening with heriloom seeds and plants). This gift will last all year and the environmental benefits will ripple as he grows and shares his own food.

in January 2009

I've been 'reducing the yuletide consumerism' for years -to the chagrin of my kids when they were younger it's always been about the people more than the the things with us, but recently we started promoting things like getting a 'twofer' by buying small gifts at 10000 villages or from other worthy causes.

in April 2009

...yes we should do this to prepare for the next year..

in September 2010

Agree with posts on Oxfam unwrapped. Also at the end of each year, I try to round up a few friends to help a good cause. Something like soup kitchen or helping out disadvantage children. It's a step further from just donating money as it's a great way to actually see the difference you make.

in September 2010

maybe this will work, for sure we will have improvements!

in January

Christmas has approached us sooner than we expected. It has been widely reported that consumerism increases in the season of Christmas and the western world is trying to diffuse the extend of consumerism by implementing certain systems.Merry Christmas!!

in February

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