buy nothing christmas '03
home   alternatives   resources   stories   questions   media   about   contact us

Buy Nothing Christmas
Bible study guide for high school youth

by Erin Morash


This Bible study guide is intended to invite young people into reflection and conversation about the meaning of Christmas and the consumerism that North American society associates with it. The hope is that young people will understand that Christmas is about Christ and not about shopping and that they will commit themselves to a celebration of Christmas which reflects this. This study guide is inspired by the Buy Nothing Christmas movement (

This guide may be used at any time of the year. (One group used it in summer and called it "Christmas in July.") We advise you not to wait until the Advent season, as by that time many decisions about Christmas shopping and gift-giving will have already been made.

The three sessions were written with a church youth group in mind. They may be used in a Sunday morning education hour, an informal Friday evening gathering or some other context. Each session includes a scripture text, a written reflection, several discussion questions and some action suggestions called "changing tracks."

We suggest that you, the leader, invite one or more youth to read through the scripture text. Without discussion or comment, turn to the reflection and read-or, preferably, tell-it. If you choose to read the reflection, you may wish to invite some of the youth to read a paragraph or two. Invite responses of any kind. Allow the discussion to follow the interests of the group. Towards the end of your allotted time, invite the youth to consider taking on the action suggestions. Conclude your time by reading a portion of the scripture again and closing with prayer.

If you focus on the Buy Nothing Christmas theme for more than one gathering, make sure that you begin subsequent sessions by asking the youth whether they did any of the action suggestions and what the experience was like. Allow for the expression of feelings of frustration, anger or hurt that may have surfaced-some people may think they are crazy! If you sense the group is open to it, invite the members to consider doing a group action as suggested on the "additional activities" list at the back. Encourage one or more members of your group to send a message to the Buy Nothing Christmas website, indicating what you have done.

About the author: Erin Morash works as an associate pastor at North Kildonan Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, Canada.

Skip to:

Session 1: Challenging conformity
Session 2: Turning it upside-down
Session 3: People not consumers
Additional activities for youth groups