'Buy Nothing' campaign aims for different style of giving
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
WINNIPEG - The courage it took Mary to give birth to Jesus is similar
to the plight of sweatshop workers making cheap goods for Western
markets, according to an annual campaign designed to reduce Christmas
The analogy drawn between Mary and underpaid workers is part of
a Bible study guide for teens featured on the Buy Nothing Christmas
website run by Canadian Mennonites.
The Mennonites' annual campaign is designed to encourage people
to think of alternative ways of giving, such as doing dishes with
children or giving them a horsey ride on your back.
The website features a "Christmas catalogue" containing
pictures sent in by people from around the world showing happy memories.
Amber Croxall of Georgia sent in a photo of her and her son doing
the dishes together. "My son loves helping me wash the dishes,"
reads the caption. "He gets soaked, the floor gets wet and
I get drenched. It is amazing the amount of joy a sink full of bubbles
The site also features coupons for free massages, cookies or child
care that people can print off and give to their family members.
There are also anti-consumerist parodies of Christmas carols on
the site, encouraging people to go to their nearest mall to sing
Participants are also asked to write in to the site and share what
they did to celebrate the Buy Nothing Christmas.
Aiden Enns, the man behind the campaign, ran a full page ad about
his Buy Nothing idea in 2000 [actually 2001] when he was [an assignment]
editor of Canadian Mennonite magazine.
Eventually, Enns became the managing editor of the anti-consumer
magazine AdBusters, which promoted his cause as "Buy Nothing
Day" [actually, BND started about 10 years earlier]. That campaign
later changed into a broader Christmas campaign.
In previous interviews, Enns has said that people work too hard
to save money just to buy things they don't need.
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