Last December, I wrote an entry entitled "The Story of Stuff." It was about our mega-consumer society and the stuff we accumulate, particularly at this time of year.
In the comments of that entry, I wrote a comment that's been bouncing around my skull all year long. Here's what I wrote.
I've been flirting with an idea. Not for this Christmas, but for next Christmas. It's still perculating, but the premise is fairly simple.
It's a "no-buy, no-receive" policy that we, as individuals, promote. It requires one inform all of their friends and loved ones what they're doing in advance. Essentially, you're not buying holiday gifts - and you don't want to receive holiday gifts. You can do things for people, and should do things for people, and you should spend time with those you care about and spread good cheer, but you don't buy them stuff.
When you're in the "no-buy, no-receive" program, you may influence others to try something similar. Heck, if you can do it, so can others. You still take care of the kids, Santa still comes, but adults get nothing. If they want to get you something, ask them to donate a little coin to your favourite charity or to sponsor your Terry Fox run or something like that.
"No-buy, no-receive"... I'm seriously considering making such a statement in 2008, and if I do, you can read how it all works out right here.
I raised this thought with my wife, my mom and my brothers, and we've reached a compromise. We're playing "Secret Santa" and throwing our names in a hat. Then, we're each only buying the one gift with a $100 cap.
I see "Secret Santa" as a gateway drug to where I want to go in 2009. No-buy, no-receive. We've all got enough stuff.