The sooner we, as a culture, realize that we can't spend our way out of our current problems the better. We live in a closed-loop system. In such a non-infinite system, we cannot continue consuming ever-increasing amounts of resources. It simply cannot happen. We must, like Americans with over-burdened credit cards simply learn to live within our global means. Toward that end, Buy Nothing Day is a small drop in the bucket. But its real value lies in realizing that we don't really need to buy much on other days either. Of course, we need food, we need clothes, we need toothpaste and toilet paper (well, my neighbor who has invented a hand-held bidet would say we don't even need that!), and we occasionally need fun splurgy things too. But do we need so much stuff, the avalanche of stuff that the average consumer buys in these holiday weeks? Does Aunt Martha really need yet another pair of Dearfoams slippers? Does Uncle Joe need another mug with a fishing joke printed on it?
One of the best things we did when our kids were very little was to tell them that Santa brought each child one present. And we give them each a Christmas book that they open on Christmas Eve and we read together (and then read many of the previous years' books as well). That's it. No expectations of piles and piles of stuff, just a simple family-filled holiday. Thus, I don't need to be standing in lines today for that mountain of gifts. One click to Heifer Project will take care of the rest of the presents for family.
Happy Buy Nothing Day.