No More Stuff, Please

moneyOur mega-consumer society has hit my last nerve. The stuff we accumulate, particularly at this time of year, is enough to make me physically ill.

For a few years now, I've had a "no-buy, no-receive" policy that I adhere to. My friends and loved ones know not to buy me any stuff as I won't be buying them any stuff. Instead of exchanging goods neither of us want or need, we spread good cheer. It's about breaking bread together, having good conversation and enjoying each other's company.

You still take care of the kids, Santa still comes, but nothing for me, thanks. If you want to get me something, you can donate a little coin to my Terry Fox run next fall, or help my good friends at Second Harvest. If you really want to do something nice, I do enjoy chocolate chip cookies and you're welcome to buy me tickets to see a band I like.

We've all got enough stuff, don't we?

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Fine then, I'll take back that Ferrari I was going to give you for Christmas.

December 20, 2012 @ 4:09 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Please do. I'm planning to drive my 99 Mazda Protege with 155,000 km into the ground.

December 20, 2012 @ 4:24 PM


I suppose. But you do "need" something, don't you?
Instead of exchanging gifts of things you "want" (i.e. video games, smart phones, new television), why not exchange things you "need"? For example, I "need" new shoes. My current shoes are falling apart. For Christmas I asked for new shoes to replace the old ones.

I'm going to get new shoes, why not let my wife buy them for me?

December 20, 2012 @ 4:24 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Ok, fine... but that's sort of a loop hole. You're going to have to replace those shoes anyway. It's like taking money out of your left pocket and putting it in your right pocket.

And if this was August, I'm betting you wouldn't wait until December to buy yourself new shoes.

December 20, 2012 @ 4:26 PM


I'm no Christian, but I do know someone that has a pretty unique gift-giving ritual that I thought I'd share.

Instead of giving each other gifts each Christmas the family I'm speaking of donates to a charity that builds wells, schools, and provides assistance to poor African villages. Every year they make sure all their money goes to the same village. Instead of getting unnecessary coffee mugs and bottles of wine they give fresh water and food to sick, poor Africans.

How's that to make you feel less of yourself? Haha. A pretty nice family though eh?

December 20, 2012 @ 4:43 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Nice. I love that idea.

December 20, 2012 @ 4:45 PM

4x4 Time

I have a small company in Burlington, and each year we used to have a Christmas dinner with spouses. We would spend about $2,000, nothing elaborate. We stopped last year, and for the second year in a row, we purchased $2,000 worth of toys and donated them to the Halton Woman Shelter. Much better use of the money, everyone in the company is on board. We replaced our dinner with an office pot luck lunch and Secret Santa gift which we did today.
Merry Christmas to all

December 20, 2012 @ 5:17 PM


Didn't Toronto Mike mention buying one of his brothers a new Windows 8 machine - only a few weeks ago?
My typical Christmas budget, btw, is $150. $15-$25 gifts and a few stocking stuffers to chip in.

December 20, 2012 @ 5:50 PM


Bah Humbug. I don't do any Christmas shopping. That's the truth. Anyway, it's just a big commercialized thing. It really is. Anyway, Santa won't come. Of course he won't because there is no santa.

December 20, 2012 @ 6:29 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Toronto Mike bought that as a birthday gift, not a Christmas gift.

December 20, 2012 @ 6:36 PM


I agree with the no gift - no receive. I don't 'buy' into all that consumerism.

Here is something that I enjoy and your welcome to check out, especially to all those old CFNY-ers out their looking for new music.

Here is a couple of bands that I found while listening to the 89.3 The Current in Minnesota.
I can't stop listening to the band Purity Ring and the album is Shrines. This Canadian band hails from Montreal and gets airplay in the US. Something wrong here.

Also, one other band called The Rope. I have just heard their songs on their website and was impressed. The bio compares them to Echo and the Bunnymen/Joy Division but I think the singer sounds like a young David Bowie.

Merry Christmas and enjoy!

Purity Ring is going to play a show Feb 1st and tickets are reasonable at $15.

December 20, 2012 @ 8:01 PM

Blind Dave

We have a good system at work. The boss (a small business owner) buys each of the five of us a turkey, and then all of us chip in money to give an underprivileged family what they need for a Merry Christmas.

So it's a Christmas bonus and some good-hearted giving all rolled into one.

December 20, 2012 @ 8:47 PM

Pigeon Toed Dave

Definition of Christmas


December 21, 2012 @ 6:11 AM


For the past couple years, I've been doing goodie baskets for friends and family. I fill them with homemade baked items, and a few of their favorite chocolates (Ferrero, etc). This year, since I got a pressure canner, I was able to add in homemade chicken soup and pasta sauce; double portion for couples/families.

Admittedly, there's still a few "items" in the basket for some people-- for example I know my parents really, really want to see Les Miz when it hits theatres, so I included one of those Cineplex night out things for them.

I do like the idea of a charitable donation. That's what my wife and I did instead of party favors at our wedding. We made a big donation to the Alzheimer Society; the gave us a nice placard, and a basket of Forget-Me-Not seed packets to put out for guests.

We also listed a few charities as #1 and #2 items on our registry, but no one went for those. :|

December 21, 2012 @ 8:40 AM

Ryan G

Fortunately if I ever need or want something I can just buy it for myself.

So when my mom asks what I want for a birthday, whether it's mine or jesus's, I simply don't know what to tell her. Even if I say, "just a bottle of wine will do", I still get a sweater. It's a mom thing, and you gotta love her for it.

Aside from buying a few gifts for some nephews and nieces, my girl and I do not exchange presents. Instead, we'll treat for dinner or random unexpected things, like coming home on a Tuesday with a giant jug of chocolate milk, for no reason in particular. For us, it's these little thoughtful surprises that have more impact than conforming to Hallmark Holidays.

It's a funny thing, because in general there are many many societal norms that I simply don't participate in, and sometimes that raises eyebrows, but as talk talk says, it's my life.

December 21, 2012 @ 9:08 AM

Teena in Toronto

I totally agree. We all have enough stuff.

December 21, 2012 @ 9:12 AM

@ Ryan G

Nice, Ryan. I, too, prefer the unexpected - treats, if you like - over the expected.

December 21, 2012 @ 8:12 PM

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