Passive Resistance: Buy Nothing Day

Each year the tradition of International Buy Nothing Day seems to grow, and this year is no exception. Unfortunately, more attention to this movement may be greater this year because of the growing economic crisis. While it is difficult not to get caught up in the anxiety inducing news reports of the growing likelihood of us entering a depression, much less a recession, I think that this may be a good thing, an opportunity for more people to realize that our capitalist consumer economy as it exists now is not sustainable, and perhaps people will be more apt to change their ways. Buy Nothing Day is one of the trends growing in popularity that shows that people may indeed be looking for healthier economic alternatives.

When I hear news about a Wal-Mart employee getting trampled on Black Friday, or Evangelical Christians laying hands on the Wall Street Bull in a misguided and idolotrous petition to God to save our economy, I have to wonder how things got to these insane extremes.

As part of the movement towards building a more sustainable, environmentally friendly, and spiritually healthy economy, people around the world reclaiming Black Friday as International Buy Nothing Day. Last year, instead of drawing names and exchanging gifts, my family agreed to draw names and give gifts to charity in each other’s honor. And we are not alone.

Here are some of the many resources availble to support the International Buy Nothing Day movement (these may or may not be directly related to BND, but they are all in the same spirit):

After today’s tragic news about the Wal-Mart employee getting trampled, and the fact that people are still swarming at the malls, it is clear that people are slow to learn and we still have a long way to go. However, the growth each year of the BND tradition gives me hope that people can indeed change their ways.

Multislacking Day

It is the Day After Thanksgiving, a national holiday in and of itself, a day that celebrates one of America’s favorite passtimes: Slacking. Today, I am taking the celebration to a new level: I have embraced the art of multislacking.

Yesterday, G and cooked our asses off in the kitchen for our traditional feast. Today we’re enjoying leftovers and laziness. I am entertaining myself finding random websites while G and I watch re-runs of Cold Case and Scrubs. I got sucked into the surfing vortex that is wont to happen when I find one interesting website that leads to another and another and another. That is how I found out about the definition of multislacking, according to the Urban Dictionary. I also learned about the Word of the Year Contest sponsored by the American Dialect Society. I nominated the word “bromance.”

Yes, I’ve been finding a little of everything today, as evidenced by my bookmarking on Ma.gnolia.

Today is the day that slackers and multislackers can enjoy this pass time and feel virtuous. Today is also, as most everyone knows, Black Friday, the beginning of the Christmas holiday shopping season and biggest shopping day of the year. It is also International Buy Nothing Day. I have done my part in observing this day buy not only buying nothing, but also doing nothing.

Honestly, G and I seem to go in spurts where we are really busy, going all the time until we drop and can’t do any more. And we’re anticipating another busy time coming up after this weekend, both of us going back to work to demanding jobs, the crazy vortex of the holiday season that no matter what I do I cannot help but get sucked in. So, yes, I’m not kidding myself that couch surfing is really some sort of social or political activism and is doing anyone besides me any good. And I do hope and strive to achieve a better work/life balance than this blog would reflect (that was one of my great hopes for returning to the Midwest, after all).

I promote and try to live out the values of International Buy Nothing Day. My family has agreed, at the suggestion of my niece, that we don’t have a gift exchange this year, but rather make a donation to our favorite charities. And I do believe that getting sucked into the vortex of the Internet is healthier for me than getting sucked into the vortex that is the consumer craziness.

This year I am resolved to achieve the work life balance that I so long for, practice healthy amounts of work, regular yoga practice, church, creative outlet. And yes, occasional multislacking. It’s all about balance and moderation.