As almost everyone knows, this Friday, Nov. 25, is "Black Friday," the day that kicks off the orgy of American consumerism known as the "Holiday Season." It's a day of "door-buster" sales and stampedes at malls and big box stores around the country.
Many are rightly critical of the excesses of seemingly mindless consumption. Some, led by the Adbusters Foundation, have attempted to remake "Black Friday" into "Buy Nothing Day," a day to take a holiday from consuming. For more info on BND please see http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buy_Nothing_Day
We, here at Peaceworks and the Peace Nook, respect the sentiment of BND. We also recognize that the answer is not to avoid all shopping on one day of the year, but rather to change our relationship with consumption more thoroughly. And to do so year round, rather than on one particular day.
We all need to consume some things. Most of us certainly can consume less. And most can make changes in the mix of what we consume, as well as reexamine our attitude towards consuming, so that it's a more deliberate process, rather than one that is spurred on by advertising and the manipulation of our desires.
It seems to us that we each need to find our own healthy balance. Some of the general suggestions we might offer regarding gifts and the holiday season include:
- Buy local, when possible. Support your community.
- Buy durable goods that are produced in a sustainable fashion. Avoid excessive packaging and products whose production involves significant environmental pollution.
- Buy things that are made using fair labor practices, and, when buying imported goods from developing countries, look for Fair Trade items.
- Support non-profits and organizations doing good work (this includes making donations in the name of a loved one in lieu of buying things, especially for folks who might already have more things than they need)
- Give of yourself. This can include making at least some of your gifts yourself and also giving services (e.g. babysitting, massage, help with chores, etc.).
SUPPORT THE PEACE NOOK: The Peace Nook, the non-profit store operated by Peaceworks, meets a number of these criteria. We are local and non-profit. We offer Fair Trade imports and environmentally friendly products.
We are here for you, our community. We wouldn't be here without your support. We really hope you will choose to patronize the Nook during the holiday season, as your purchases at this time of year are critical to our financial health and therefore to Peaceworks ability to do educational and advocacy work.
If you are observing BND, we respect this choice. We hope to see you when it works for you to come down to visit the Nook on a different day.
If you are not observing BND, and would like to visit us this Friday, we will be open. No, we won't have any 4 a.m. door-busters, but we'll be keeping our usual 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. hours.
We thank you, our community, for 21 years of support and are hopeful that your support will continue and grow. In many ways, shopping at the Peace Nook is a gift to the community.