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Christmas shopping?

Traditionally, December 1st marks the beginning of the regular season of Advent (last Sunday was kind of a preseason game, as I understand it). Increasingly, though, Advent isn't much of a thing these days; so instead December marks the beginning of Christmas itself, the shopping and decorating part of the holiday. Unless of course that already started before the Thanksgiving turkey was even digested.

It's natural to object to the treacly consumer-fest that Christmas has become in the United States. Especially during a holiday that purports to celebrate God's loving presence on earth, it makes sense to want to turn away from the frenzy of desire for a moment, even if that means turning away from traditional celebrations of Christmas. Hey, the Puritans felt the same way all the way back in the 17th century! And you don't have to be Christian to hate American consumer culture, either. For anyone thinking about sustainability and socially responsible living the seasonal shopping frenzy kicked off by "Black Friday" looks pretty terrible.

And yet, I don't think that we should stop buying each other Christmas presents or support Buy Nothing Day. On the contrary, I think that campaigns like that—and apparently AdBusters is now talking about a whole "Buy Nothing Christmas"—are actually a part of the consumer culture that they're reacting against. Because you know, you don't need a break from buying things in December if you haven't been buying things all year long.

Believe it or not, there are people who don't go shopping every weekend (or even every month). Whether it's due to poverty or intentionality (or a happy combination of the two, yay!) many people manage to not buy a whole lot all year round. Rather than ratcheting up an already overwhelming race to consume, then, Christmas provides an opportunity to bust out just a little bit from our non-consumerism and treat loved ones to some special gifts: things that they wanted all year long! And if Black Friday lets us get some good deals, so much the better!

Now, don't think that this means I'm heading to the mall for a carful of designer clothes and consumer electronics. We're having a pretty homemade Christmas here at the squibix household, as is our custom. But not entirely homemade! Even back in the pioneer days our doughty DIY ancestors had to buy things every once and a while, and Christmas is as good a time as any to do it.

In short, don't make Christmas special by not buying things in December: rather try to buy less all year long. Then make your Christmas shopping special, and rejoice in giving thoughtful presents, sometimes homemade but sometimes carefully chosen at select commercial establishments, to your loved ones.

But you can still grump about the terrible Christmas music on the radio.


did someone just grump about terrible Christmas music on the radio? in case the squibix household has not yet heard the northgate take on this:

I have! It's here, for those that want a direct link.

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