A Sustainable Holiday Weekend: Buy Nothing Day, Shop Local Day and Make Something Day

Written by Vera Struck

Just so you know, as a mother, and a daughter, I do all three. Buy Nothing Day, aka OccupyXmas, was a movement started by Kalle Lasn in 2007 to bring awareness to America’s conspicuous consumption habits. And yes, we all have a few of those bad habits; that’s why sustainability needs as much inspiration as perspiration. Shop Local Saturday was a movement to support purchasing from local small businesses instead of the Big Box stores.

The choice I love to practice all year long, not just at Christmas, is the Make Something Day. I read this article by Andrew Revkin in the New York Times when I moved to Massachusetts in 2008 and I have made it my practice ever since. I will use this weekend to practice all three (obviously not all at the same time).

I DO NOT shop on Black Friday as an intentful choice. Here are just two “why’s”:

  1. I wish not to support the treatment of indigenous people’s who are shot if they cannot work fast enough extracting conflict minerals – the 3T’s – to make our gadgets.
  2. I do not support companies who sell products that require shipment from over 200 miles in order to decrease GHG emissions.

Instead, I DO MAKE something that day from local, raw or recycled materials for a friend or local group. I plan carefully, so that the gift is actually needed, and that I have the skills to create the object, or bake it, or restore it and then I deliver it. If I can, I engage a few friends in the process, the more the merrier! * *

This year, Shop Local Saturday was a beautiful warm day in New England. It was perfect for following up on a pledge to shop local for a day, or more. I visited my local CSA, Appleton Farms, in Ipswich, MA for their fresh organic vegetables, fruits and farm fresh eggs. And I stopped by Mill River Winery for a bottle that will nicely accompany the clicking of knitting needles, as I start my fourth homemade Christmas gift of the season. Downtown Ipswich had lots of foot traffic, and no doubt, kept the cash registers beeping. This will give a serious boost to the local economy!

Try these sustainable practices:

  1. Shop at your local businesses for things that are produced and manufactured locally from local raw materials.
  2. Pay Cash or barter; leave the big banks and credit card companies out of your “giving” experience. (Make sure you know the IRS rules on reporting!)
  3. Abstain from giving in the same old way. Make a gift certificate of your own, or make a coupon book of redeemable services you are willing to give: back massage, shovel snow, mow the lawn, making someone dinner, you get the idea.
  4. Donate or volunteer your time and/or money to your favorite cause, animal or child protection, council on aging, your local hospital, etc.
Cyber Monday tomorrow…any hints on how to do it sustainably? Send your comments, we would love to know.

* * One friend of mine in Atlanta liked the idea so much, he made it an annual “Make Something Weekend” ritual with neighbors, friends and family who celebrated with custom cocktails and a pot-luck after delivering the gifts (the event theme named the new cocktail and was concocted by this mixologist every year).

Our modest Terrablu Thanksgiving pic:

2 thoughts on “A Sustainable Holiday Weekend: Buy Nothing Day, Shop Local Day and Make Something Day

    • Sarah,

      So true. I founded TerraBluTeams because I felt decades as an environmental advocate was only scratching the surface. Although we can point fingers at many corporations, organizations and governments for the planetary troubles we’ve experienced, we believe it all comes back to us and our consumptive habits. We educate and inspire individuals, their families and communities how to live more sustainable lifestyles. Join us and subscribe to the blog to begin the 2012 challenge of 52 weekly exercises!

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