Ready for a No-Buy, No-Recieve Christmas

moneyIt all started two years ago with 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 was heavily on my mind all last December. 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.

Last year, my wife, my mom and my brothers and I reached a compromise. We played "Secret Santa" and threw our names in a hat. I saw "Secret Santa" as a gateway drug to where I wanted to go in 2009. No-buy, no-receive.

Now I'm ready to go whole-hog. Don't buy me anything for Christmas, please. With kids being the exception, it's time we all implemented a no-buy, no-receive policy.

We've all got enough stuff.

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Amen dude. Last year I helped out at Christmas giving people something to eat. It's not a gig everyone can do that's for sure.

I met a woman who came in with a friend. She asked for 3 plates but there was only two of them. She told me that the 3rd plate was for her daughter and soon she would be there and she was beautiful.

Dude with her told me that her daughter died in a car accident 3 years ago and the woman hadn't yet accepted what had happened.

Someone like that needs food & help way more than we need another electronic gadget.

November 23, 2009 @ 5:02 PM

Julie V.

Not only do I fully adhere to Mike's policy, I also love Irvine's comment. Way to go! I volunteered for 12 years to hand out "Christmas Baskets" (of food) to families in need in the community. It was the hardest, most beautiful thing ever.

November 23, 2009 @ 5:22 PM


We pretty much have that policy. I generally give baking/food to adults. Kids are a bit different, but nothing extravegant.

We adopt a family from a women's shelter every year and buy what they need. When I shut down my old store/warehouse I had so much "stuff". All pretty much brand new. Fully decorated Christmas trees, kitchen stuff, etc. Nothing touched me more than the thank you letter recieved from the women's shelter that year. I donated all the Christmas decorations and kitchen stuff to them for families needing it. It touched my heart knowing that something as simple as a tree could bring so much joy to a family. It started a tradition with us. In addition to thier actual needs (which are often simple necessities of life), we buy a small tree and decorations as well as gift cards for grocery stores. For those families who have nothing it means so much.

November 23, 2009 @ 5:36 PM


Here's something to ponder though: How do we fix our economy so that it doesn't rely on the months of November and December to sustain itself? I've heard that 90% of all retail sales occur in November and December, so if we *all* stopped buying "stuff" in the months of November and December, our economy would collapse worse than it ever has.

Also, what about Zhu Zhu Pets? Without buying stuff, the species will go extinct!

November 23, 2009 @ 6:17 PM


The voice: How do we fix our economy so it doesn't rely on retail sales?

Simple, we move away from an economy built around trading stock options, selling cheeseburgers and disposable products and return building things & innovation.

November 23, 2009 @ 6:22 PM


I love the story of stuff. It's an especially salient reminder of our consumerism, and a harsh wake-up call befitting the season.

November 23, 2009 @ 9:39 PM

Ajax Mike

Not that I disagree, but building things for whom to buy? Innovating what?

November 24, 2009 @ 2:17 AM


I like buying/making/getting people gifts.

I don't understand why so mnay people are against giving gifts and view it as anti-materialism.

I'm not even sure if this is a liberal or conservative ideal, I just disagree with it.
I don't expect anyone to give me anything. But I like to be out somewhere and see something that someone I know will love. So I buy and I wrap it and I give it to them. It makes Christmas just a little bit better to do things like that.
While it may be a good time to volunteer and serve food to those in need, it is also a time to spend with family and friends.

November 24, 2009 @ 8:22 AM


I believe they were selling on Amazon for around $60.00. Of course, if you can find one in stock in a retail store, the price is supposed to be much lower.

December 5, 2009 @ 6:34 PM


I really true I really love your site . thanks for the story

December 10, 2009 @ 12:27 PM

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