Make Creativity Your Day Job!

Boycott Black Friday: Create Your Own Christmas Gifts This Year

Christmas List
Image courtesy of Brad_Chaffee

So Christmas is just around the corner again (starting earlier every year), and the shopping frenzy has begun (if you think I’m exaggerating, I just Googled ‘Black Friday’ and the second sponsored result actually boasted a ‘Price Frenzy’ at Comet!)

Price Frenzy at Comet in Google results

Ooh, a price frenzy! I need that in my life!

If you don’t know what Black Friday is, this should enlighten you.

For a long time, probably since Christmas stopped being the mega-exciting event it was when I was a kid, I have had a bit of a problem with the whole gift exchanging thing.

From an early age, I was encouraged to make a Christmas list, to let Santa know all the things I wanted. And even after Santa had made his true identity known, the festive season always brought with it the inevitable “What do you want for Christmas?” questions.

This is where my issue lies; If we ask someone what gift they want, and buy it for them, and they do the same for us, is it really a gift? Why don’t we just buy the things we want for ourselves? There is no surprise involved, you know what the present is before you open it. Wrapping the gift is merely a formality dictated by tradition.

So whenever I’m asked what I want for Christmas, I always get an uneasy feeling, but I offer a few suggestions of things I might like, or more recently, add a few items to my Amazon wishlist.

I’ve always tried to be a bit more original when buying gifts for other people. I rarely ask them what they want unless I really can’t think of anything they would like, and I like seeing people open gifts when they have no idea what they are.

But yesterday I read Leo Babauta’s article The No New Gifts Holiday Challenge on Zen Habits, and it really brought home to me how meaningless the act of exchanging Christmas gifts has become.

I love the idea of buying no new gifts, and I think it’s a really important message to teach children that buying gifts is not a good way to express your love.

So this year I implore all of you creative folks to put your skills to good use, and create some artistic gifts for your loved ones.

Paint a portrait, write a poem, make a purse, give someone a tattoo, whatever creative talent you have, you can make gifts from it and give your friends and family something unique that comes from you, not from the Apple store.

If you want to read more about opting out of buying Christmas gifts, read The Minimalists’ essay The Blackest of Fridays.

How do you feel about Christmas gift exchange? Will you be opting out of consumerism this year? Would your family understand? Leave a comment below and we can discuss it.

9 Comments on Boycott Black Friday: Create Your Own Christmas Gifts This Year

  1. Emma says:

    I would love to see the commercialism taken away from Christmas, and the focus placed back on the really important things in life, such as spending quality time with family and friends. I am going to try to make more Christmas gifts this year and prioritise family time. Definitely something to think about for future Christmases too!

  2. I make christmas cards and gifts, but there are some people who really don’t appreciate it.

    My mother asked me in early october what i wanted for Christmas and wasvery annoyed when I couldn’t tell her. in return she told me what she had bought for herself that I could give her as a Christmas gift. No my parents just don’t get it at all!

    • Dan Johnson says:

      Haha, that sounds pretty typical. I told my mum she didn’t have to get me anything and she said that’s just what mums do.

      It can be very hard to change the way people think about Christmas gifts.

  3. Brad Chaffee says:

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE Dan! I couldn’t agree more. Christmas was much different when I was a kid too. The consumerism has kind of ruined great Christmas traditions but it’s also put people in heaps of debt. Christmas has almost become a way for people to reach a certain social status, like buying a new car has been for years. I’ve seen scary mainstream articles encouraging the notion that how much you spend is how much you love.

    • Dan Johnson says:

      Cheers Brad, and thanks for the image! I love Christmas personally, but I hate the consumer side of it. Seen some scary Black Friday videos on YouTube recently, really disturbing stuff. As my cousin commented, it looks like some sort of post-apocalyptic nightmare!

      • Brad Chaffee says:

        That video is so disgusting! It’s videos like this that reassure me that me sitting at home on Black Friday is not causing me to miss anything. There’s nothing I want or need that badly.

        These people put so much effort and energy into “getting a deal” on consumer goods yet most of them probably have debt ultimately negating any savings they receive!

        If only they acted this passionately about their financial freedom.

  4. April Xton says:

    My husband and I have sworn off buying Christmas gifts this year. We aren’t Christians so we don’t really celebrate Christmas but we do celebrate the year of good times together. We are trying to teach our kids appreciation properly by having them make their own gifts. As of now our idea for the family Christmas project is going to be a home made tipi (teepee) fort for the back yard. We are still weighing other options but I think that will teach the children about hard work and also working together as a family. What made me decide this is last year’s fiasco when my then 7 year old asked me “Is that it?” after opening all her gifts. Mind you between the 3 children there were around 50 presents under the tree. I had a very long talk with her about what appreciation was after that. Now she understands what it means but still has trouble utilizing it. This entitlement she thinks she has (I’m sure I’m not alone in seeing this behavior in kids) has got to stop. I’m a hard working woman, as I work at the Sheriff’s Dept. and I would like for my kids to learn humble values. I hope this year will be a Christmas that all the kids will remember for a lifetime and hopefully fondly. I’m glad to know that there are like minded individuals out there who want to take the commercial out of Christmas.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *