Curing Affluenza
Do nothing


Escape... *The holidays are coming, and even though the retail decorations have collected dust since their September resurrection, the day after Thanksgiving is when the shopping race truly begins.

Stores open at 6 a.m.; people push each other out of the way while they pile gifts into their arms. We search for that One Perfect Gift to buy for our kids, our husbands and wives, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, children's playmates, teachers, colleagues, girlfriends and boyfriends, friends and neighbors...

We make lists, we drive all over town; we speed to the sales to charge and check; then we subtract, and try to balance or even finance, and then subtract some more. But mostly we sweat, and hope and pray that we can pay off the bills in time to do it all over again next year.

This year, make it different, and make a difference. Sleep in. Keep your credit card in your wallet or, better yet, cut it up. Buy nothing. Save money. Spend time with your loved ones. And save the planet from the burden of western materialism

Buy Nothing Day is Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving.

Six years ago, dismayed by consumer hysteria, Kalle Lasn, a former ad executive from Vancouver, chose the busiest shopping day of the year to go on a 24-hour shopping hiatus. Lasn is also the founder of Media Foundation, a group that produces environmental advertising and publishes Adbusters, a magazine which examines the role of advertising in our culture.

Join people from Australia, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, the U.K., and the United States in celebrating Buy Nothing Day.

  • Create "no shopping zones" in malls or in Wal-Mart parking lots. Bring chairs and tables. Bring friends and family. Play chess. Play the guitar. Entice the harried shoppers to share a cup of cocoa with you and tear up their shopping lists.
  • Perform street theatre. In the Netherlands, activists performed a "rat race" dressed as a clown and a rat while teasing surprised and amused shoppers.
  • "obligation" to buy you a gift, and make plans to spend time together.
  • Share the idea. Create your own Buy Nothing Day posters, flyers, bumper stickers and t-shirts.
  • And to cap off the holiday season on New Year's Day, pledge to live more simply and sustainably throughout the year.

Jill Carroll, a Columbia native, lives and toils in Atlanta.

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