Is the best Christmas gift … nothing?

Buy Nothing day (26/27 November) is a protest against the environmental ‘shopocalypse’ of Christmas shopping. Reverend Billy Talen The Church of Earthalujah: the church of stop shopping started out as a spoof American preacher who rails against consumerism. But his message has value.

The indigenous holy days that rise from the solstice—Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannakah and all the rest—offer us an unseen opportunity. … It needn’t be a consumer event.

This year we should radically redefine what our gifts will be, to simultaneously love our family and our earth. A gift from a big box store-from the demon monoculture-that puts us in a car for hours and is wrapped in plastic packaging, and was shipped a thousand miles with internal combustion engines– this year we won’t consider that a gift at all. Such a gift hurts life on earth, and so it hurts us.

The language that sells us consumerism for Christmas is going in one direction and what we are quietly telling ourselves is the opposite. This year, after the banking failure and the debt mountains, the advertising has less power than ever. So find the things you have that may be under-used, over-looked. Shop locally and stay out of Tesco, Starbucks, Marks & Spencer and Primark.

There’s no doubt Christmas is an annual environmental disaster. Last year Americans generated 25 million tons of trash between Buy Nothing day and Christmas. But we can still change it- and Buy Nothing day isn’t a bad place to start.