Today is Buy Nothing Day, and while it was a long way from my 4:34 a.m.* shopping start last year South of the border, I did buy something. Four somethings, in fact. Four studded snow tires for my car, and I paid to have them installed. $565.29. I could make the argument that snow tires are essential safety equipment, but it was well above freezing with clear blue skies today. I could have waited till next week, or had them installed yesterday. But today was convenient for me. Therefore, whereby Buy Nothing Day is not only a stand against spending excess dollars and the First-World consumption crisis, but against the convenience-culture of our time, I completely failed at Buy Nothing Day 2010.
In defense of my 4:34 a.m. shopping start last year, we were jet-lagged, making it a very reasonable 8 a.m. for us. It was my one and only venture to the United States, exactly a year and one day ago today. I’d like to argue it was purely for anthropological and societal observation, but the truth is we bought a camera and a dozen blocks of butter (Hello! Three dollars a pound? I’ll take twelve!) and some heavily discounted clothes for the baby that had not yet been born. Arriving in Montana on the Eve of Black Friday was purely coincidental, but we did take shopping advantage while we were there.
Despite my total lack of commitment to Buy Nothing Day, I’ve taken a personal vow to make all my Christmas presents whenever possible, and to purchase only from artists, independent businesses or not-for-profit organizations if I can’t make it myself. And when tangible things will not do, I vow to give gifts of experience such as language lessons, concert tickets, etc. I don’t have a long shopping list, so four weeks will be plenty of time. (The baby is getting empty boxes wrapped in foil paper, all things I have on hand already. It’s sure to be her best Christmas yet.)
I make similar promises to myself each year, but this year I make that promise in a public forum, and I expect you, my loyal blog readers, to keep me in line.
Except… (and there is always an exception). I have already purchased one gift from an international retailer, a gift that is trademarked to another international corporation. I can’t divulge the precise gift for fear the recipient will read it here, but it truly is impossible for me to make myself, and it will bring such delight on Christmas morning…. and it’s already purchased and wrapped, so I’ll just go ahead and make a mark in the naughty column for you.
Here’s to a corporate-free, (almost) Trademark-free Christmas! Bring it on!
The tally so far:
Gifts purchased from big-box store: 1
Experience gifts: 1
Gifts purchased from the artist: 1
Gifts handmade: 2, both in progress.
*I have the picture to prove it somewhere.