Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December consumerism: no, thanks

We've all survived another year of Thanksgiving, black Friday, and cyber Monday. (I also received notification of cyber Wednesday, presumably for those too lazy to get around to internet shopping until two days later.) Now the Christmas* season is upon us, with its pervasive question:

What do I want for Christmas*?

I want world peace, and for humans to stop destroying the environment and each other. I want a solution to P=NP (with proof). I want three feet of snow.

What I don't want is more stuff. I have lots of stuff. I have all the material objects I need (food excepted -- I just keep eating it!). Probably, you have all the material objects that you need, too. You don't need anything more. Perhaps you want something more, or advertising has convinced you that you want something more. I don't want anything more; I don't want to have to carry it around and keep it clean and in good condition and worry about whether I'm using it too much or too little. Stuff is just a hassle. (See my other notes on Project Simplify.) This Christmas*, I want to avoid consumerism, reduce my wastefulness, go off the grid.

So please don't get me more stuff. If you want to get me a present, get me something that has meaning. I'd much rather have a nice letter from you than a DVD. I'd rather eat something you cook than play a video game. Let's go on a walk instead of buying each other silly cards! What I'm saying is partially that I'd rather have something that cost you time and brain cycles than something that cost you money. I'd prefer interpersonal value to monetary value.

And I also want to give such gifts. I'm working on that now.

So what do you want for Christmas*?

*or whatever you would rather read -- insert your own politically-correct or -preferred holiday [noun] here.

This post's theme comic is from A Softer World:


George said...

So you will accept hand made macramé gifts? How about pottery I made? Original, short, musical compositions? I can understand that you might not want pottery since it is "stuff", but I thought I would ask.

Did I already give you any of my pottery?

Lila is a complex system. said...

That is fine. You haven't given me any pottery, though you did try (unsuccessfully) to offload an asymmetrically-squashed vase once.

Smokotalky said...

What I want is for Lila Prime to magically appear under the Christmas tree at our house in Montclair N.J. It's Misha...

Laz said...


I agree with you completely. All I want for Christmas is to spend time with my friends and family and enjoy their company.

All the best,