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Thursday, November 24, 2011

A non-traditional Christmas season

Occupy Christmas

By Dave Fisher,

Christmas is a time of mass consumption and displays of trance-like mob mentality that has, in recent history, led to stores being stormed and people being trampled. A jolly time when Americans go into debt, partake in gluttonous behavior and, basically, hit the nitrous on the already redlining engine of consumerism.

In the United States, five times more trash is created during the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's; 1,500 plain-old Christmas lights can double your electricity usage when left on overnight.  I think that it’s about time that we rethink our behavior around the holiday season.
Rethinking and changing our behaviors seems to be a central tenet of the Occupy movement, and there really isn’t a more perfect time than the holiday season to draw attention to just how misguided things have become. Every year, advertisers whip children and adults into a Bacchanalian fugue state of acquisition and all of the trappings, such as wrapping paper, ribbon, cards, gift bags, etc. This year, send a message of solidarity to the Occupy protestors for the holiday season and Occupy Christmas. The rules of Occupy Christmas are simple.

First, beecgin your low-dough holiday with a full day of no purchases on Buy Nothing Day, this Friday, Nov. 25. Also, take some time to drop off a coat at your local winter coat drive.
Second, the only gifts you can give have to be made by you or purchased from a locally owned store or direct from a local producer. Home-cooked or baked foodstuffs are always a good bet as a gift, and people will appreciate the effort that you put into the gift.
Third, turn out the lights. I’m all for a festive spirit, but does your house really need a lighting display that can be seen from space?
Fourth, opt for a living tree. A friend of mine recently turned me on to the living tree, a potted tree that you can leave in the yard for 11 months a year. Heck, you can just leave the lights on it!
Finally, use the time and money you save to volunteer for or donate to a charity. The best way to give thanks is to give back. There is a wide socioeconomic spectrum within the 99 percent.
There is an Occupy Christmas facebook page. Like it if you are going for the low-impact Christmas and leave a post with your ideas on having a safe, sane and sustainable holiday season.
Dave Fisher is the managing editor of ecoRI News. He is choosing a no-gift Christmas. He wishes the best to all of those who don’t have the luxury of that choice.