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


Bible study guide for high school youth (start reading it here)


Each study session comes complete with...
• a relevant passage of Scripture
• background study guide
• questions for discussion and
• suggestions actions.

Session topics include:
1. Challenging conformity
A teenage girl named Mary decides to go against the grain, does something powerful and positive. We tend to think inside the same worn out tracks. We go along with the lights, the exhausting spending spree, the debt, the frantic parties, because we can’t think of anything better to replace them with. Can you imagine yourself in Mary’s difficult position? Have you ever spoken out against a great injustice that you witnessed?

Bonus: Here's what you can say when they ask why you are celebrating a Buy Nothing Christmas.

2. Turning it upside-down
The reversals taught by Jesus -- the poor are blessed, the powerful shall be humbled -- fit perfectly with early celebrations of the end of winter. As time and society "progressed," Christmas went from being a celebration of the triumph of light over darkness, a reversal of social order, and turned into a more private ritual where we give gifts to people we like. The tough message of "good news to the poor, freedom to the enslaved" has faded away.

Bonus: Put some bite into your Advent calendar with this fasting ritual for December. Then send money collected to alleviate poverty.

3. People not consumers
Somewhere around age 16 we start collecting numbers: student numbers, driver’s license numbers, Social Insurance Numbers and it goes on. When Mary and Joseph are ordered to join a Roman census it was so they could be numbered, sorted, tracked, and taxed. It was a way of reducing their humanity, making them cattle not people. The current title "consumer," brings to mind an image of a cow "consuming" so it can be used for milk or meat. Citizens, on the other hand, are thinking, acting and powerful beings. Consumers exist to buy and produce. Who, exactly, is "milking" us for all they can get? This Christmas, be a rebel: take back your identity as a person.

Bonus: Also comes with 10 additional activities for church youth groups:

1. Use the three-session study guide for youth.
2. Prepare and perform the Buy Nothing Christmas skit for a worship.
3. Greet people and distribute small Buy Nothing Christmas cards.
4. Invite the artists to design Buy Nothing Christmas bulletins or posters.
5. Plan an evening for making alternative gifts.
6. Shop for fairly traded gifts or research a worthy charity.
7. Plan an evening of carolling with alternative lyrics.
8. Rewrite a traditional carol with your own lyrics.
9. Plan an evening of baby sitting for members of your church.
10. Learn about and respond to poverty in your community.

Download MS Word version (148 KB)
Download PDF (Warning: large file, 1.8 MB)