Buy Nothing Day

The whole country shopped until it dropped. Now let's Buy Nothing.
Buy Nothing Day
Buy Nothing Day 2008
This year we have five days of rituals to help you get local and back away from the product! It all builds to our Union Square Dance Your Debt Away Party, celebrating buylessness and the 1st Amendment in public space!

Monday: Meet Your Mom and Pop Shops

Today we're stepping out and introducing ourselves to the shopkeepers in our neighborhood. This is an opportunity to take a moment and shake the hand of the person you've been going to for a sandwich, a newspaper or a gallon of milk for all those years. We call this building Community Confidence!

And if you haven't visited the local shops in your community before, today is a great day to start. Let's liberate ourselves from the cold, flourescent abyss of the Big Box devils, amen?

Tell us your "Meet Mom and Pop" story in our forum, and post pictures to Flickr tagged buynothingday2008.

Tuesday: Try Homemade Day

There's a lot of pressure to shop this time of year. Today let's try making something that we would normally buy. Making something yourself can often be cheaper, more fun and better for the environment than that product with the gyrating celebrity logo. We're feeling the BUY-less-ness now!

For example, most cleaning products are overpriced and full of nasty chemicals. Here's a quick, easy non-toxic cleaner using white vinegar and water:
  • One part white vinegar
  • Three parts plain, cool tap water
  • Optional for extra cleaning power: a squirt of natural liquid soap
Use on glass and mirrors (without soap) and all your countertops and bathroom surfaces. The vinegar smell dissipates a couple seconds after you apply to a surface. Vinegar kills bacteria and molds, is non-toxic, and is safe around pets! It's also much better for the environment.

Reference: Other nifty items you can make for the holidays:

Wednesday: Wake up with Fair Trade

Mmmm...we love the smell of justice in the morning! The Stop Shopping Choir sings "We like Fair Trade 'cuz it's tasty", and soon you will too! The Fair Trade movement and certification process ensures that the people who grow the food we eat are paid a living wage and work in healthy and sustainable conditions.

So let's dodge the sweatshop coffee at Starbucks and discover a hot, local coffee shop in your area that really supports Fair Trade! Let's check the labels, investigate products online and ask the store clerks if they carry Fair Trade products. If not, tell them it's about time they did!

More Fair Trade resources:
Fair Trade Treat: Sinful Dark Chocolate Brownies

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Equal Exchange Fairly Traded Very Dark Chocolate Bar, chopped
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup Equal Exchange Baking Cocoa
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with oil and lightly dust with flour.

In a saucepan heat the oil and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly until fully melted. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool before cutting.

Makes 9 Brownies.

Contributed by Carol Wasserman, Chappaqua, NY

Thursday: Tell Off A Corporation

We know you're really busy with that other holiday today, so let's keep this simple: make your voice heard! We all need to support efforts to get the Big Boxes and be-logo'd devils in line with our community values.

By signing a petition, exercising your 1st Amendment right to free speech, or making a phone call to an abusive corporation or public official you're telling them that a community is watching and will not put up with corporate crime. Amen?

We love ForestEthics in our Church, and we're proud to have worked with their Victoria's Dirty Little Secret public campaign, which got the lingerie company to stop using virgin, clear-cut forests for their catalog mailaings.

Now ForestEthics is stepping it up and taking on ALL junk mail, to stop this destructive use trees that animals need to live in and that we need to BREATHE, children. Breath-a-lujah! Sign their Do Not Mail petition now, and tell off the junk mail demons!

Friday: Buy Nothing Day!

Today is the big day! We've been preparing, slowing down our consumption step by step. Today let's leap into the unknown and stop our shopping!

People all over the world celebrate Buy Nothing Day. You can join us at our Union Square Dance Your Debt Away party in New York City or celebrate in the public space of your community!

Some people like to stay in on Buy Nothing Day, keeping warm with a good book or spending time with their families. A lot of feelings and options open up when you decide to back away from the product for 24 hours! We learn about how we live the rest of the year, and decide how we want to change that.

Some more Buy Nothing Day resources for you: