Since I stumbled across the concept of the Buy Nothing New Christmas, I have been thinking about how I could do this, and if I really want to completely forego new things in my gift giving. I found an interesting webpage, Buy Nothing Christmas, that helped me think through what this concept means to me, and what I would like to get out of it.
To me, the point is not to save money, or at least that is not the main point. The main point is to get out of the disposable mindset of our culture. The level of stuff our society produces is simply not sustainable, especially if you are giving any thought to raising the standard of living for Third World countries and for poor people all over the globe. The waste produced by one household is staggering to me -– 4.4 pounds per person per day, or 1600 pounds per person per year.
I don’t want to opt out of gift giving, though. I love giving gifts, and I think it provides an important social role, bringing friends and families together. I just want to be a bit more thoughtful about how I do gifts. I am also a bit hesitant to take on a project with strict rules. I have a problem with perfectionism -– it often leads to an all-or-nothing mentality where you either do something perfectly or there is no point to trying at all. I think that sort of thinking is detrimental to actual change. For instance, if everyone was able to cut down on buying just a few new things, it would have a much larger impact than a small handful of people foregoing new things entirely.There is benefit to doing something even if it isn’t technically *all* that could be done.
Credit Image: Steve Snodgrass on Flickr
With all that in mind, here are some guidelines and tips I am going to use to buy fewer new things this year.
Making things is the best gift in my eyes; I will try to make as many gifts as I can.
Any supplies I already have don’t count as new, although I may have bought them new originally.
Consumables don’t count as new things: restaurant gift certificates, tickets to events, and food (especially ingredients for something I make) can all be bought new.
Upcycle Exchange is a good local source for used craft supplies -– thanks for the reminder, Hilary!
I will be checking in with friends who make gifts to see if we can trade supplies or possibly even finished products.
Goodwill is a good resource; I have been thinking about going to the dollar store to buy mugs, then crocheting cozies for those mugs, but I could find mugs at Goodwill, I am sure.
My first thoughts will always be to reuse something I already have, trade with someone else, or purchase something used, but if I have a great gift that needs a small purchase of something new to complete it, I will not get too upset over that.
What do you think of the Buy Nothing New Christmas concept? Is anyone else attempting it this year?
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