Tim Longhurst's Blog

Do Something Christmas…

October 13th, 2005 · No Comments

santa.jpgChristmas is coming (in ten weeks’ time) and here in Sydney, the supermarkets are already starting to sell Christmas-themed processed foodstuffs.

As the plastic decorations go up, the stores will encourage the plastic in our wallets to come out.

Yes, it’s true, Christmas has become commercialised, but it’s not just Christians who are bothered by this. The idea of a season that involves spending time with friends and family, of being generous and thoughtful and considering those less-fortunate is appealing to the vast majority of the people I know (and I hope the vast majority of people I don’t know, too!).

The modern Christmas seems dominated by the worst excesses of capitalism rather than the best side of humanity.

Most of us will receive more Christmas catalogues than Christmas cards. Businesses will employ more pretend Santas than anyone else. Why? Because a Santa in a shopping centre helps align Christmas with consumption.

Corporations will again encourage us to imagine that Christmas presents are made by tiny little people called elves. In reality the tiny little people are mostly sweat-shop workers and they’re only tiny because they’re under-nourished or because they’re under-thirteen, or both.

Let’s do something about it…

With all this in mind, I am calling for a “Do Something Christmas”. Let’s not get sucked-in to settling for a commercial Christmas… Let’s take the time we would otherwise spend shopping and paying off credit-card debts and actually spend it with the people we care about. Let’s play games and have fun together. Let’s build stuff with kids in the days leading up to Christmas.

Here are some more suggestions:

  • Dress up as Santa Claus and take the train across town
  • Send “secret santa” messages to neighbours and coworkers
  • Go into the streets and sing creative Christmas carols such as the ones below.*

buynothingchristmas.org has even more ideas.

*A few friends of mine are planning to sing carols in the Sydney CBD this year. If you’d like to join us, send me an email.


Creative Christmas Carols

(From the Centre for a New American Dream: newdream.org)

Consumer Wonderland
(To the tune of Winter Wonderland, lyrics by Erica Avery)

The TV’s on / are you watching?
Another product / that they’re hawking
one more thing you need
to make life complete
Welcome to Consumer Wonderland

In the stores / you will hear it
“Pricey gifts / show holiday spirit”
That’s what they call it
to get to your wallet
Welcome to Consumer Wonderland

At the mall we can go out shopping
and buy lots of stuff we can’t afford
we’ll have lots of fun with our new toys
until we realize that we’re still bored
When you shop / ain’t it thrilling
until / you get the billing
the money you still owe the stuff broke long ago
Welcome to Consumer Wonderland


Uh Oh We’re In The Red, Dear

(To the tune of Rudolph the red-nose reindeer)

Uh oh we’re in the red, dear
On our credit card it shows
Christmas is almost over
But the debit line still grows
Shopping like Santa’s zombies
Sent our budget down in flames
But all our Christmas spirit
Helped the giant retail chains

I’m so foggy Christmas Eve
Wondering how we’ll pay
Christmas doesn’t seem so bright
When our finances are tight

So here’s a plan for next year
Let’s forget the shopping spree
Let’s give a gift of love, so
All our Christmas gifts are free


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Slow down ye frantic shoppers for there’s something we must say
If you would spare a moment all the stores would go away
Big business has been telling us what Christmas means today

Now it’s time we decided for ourselves, for ourselves
Yes it’s time we decided for ourselves.

To some folks Christmas means a time for gathering with friends
And enemies might take it as a time to make amends
But TV says it’s time for pricey gifts and selfish ends

Now it’s time we decided for ourselves, for ourselves
Yes it’s time we decided for ourselves.

Some people feel that Christmas is when Jesus makes a call
For others it’s a time to stress good will and peace to all
But advertisers tell us it means Santa’s at the mall

Now it’s time we decided for ourselves, for ourselves
Yes it’s time we decided for ourselves.

Jingle All The Way

Chorus:
Profits here, profits there,
profits everywhere
Christmas time is funny
we smell money in the air
Advertise, glamorize,
fool you with a flair.
Let’s make sure that Christmas
is a businesslike affair.

You’re eating up our lies and dashing to the stores
Then all our prices rise and how the money pours
If we don’t keep you drugged and watching your TV
You might see the hypocrisy
then where would business be?

Chorus

We’ll tell you how to think and tell you what to try
What to eat and drink and how to live and die
And if our plan succeeds, when Christmas-time is nigh
Instead of seeking love and peace you’ll hunt for gifts to buy

Chorus

Buy and Sell
To the tune, Silver Bells; by Erica Avery

City Sidewalks busy sidewalks
lined with advertising
It’s the big retail season of Christmas
Children begging for each new thing
toys for mile after mile
and the mood of the season is clear

Chorus:
Buy and sell (buy and sell)
Buy and sell (buy and sell)
It’s Christmas time for consumers
Ching-a-ching (ching-a-ching)
Cash tills ring (cash tills ring)
Must we spend Christmas this way?

Maxing credit, running debits
buying things we don’t need
with the money we don’t really have
Children crying, parents sighing
there’s no time for our friends
and the reason behind it is clear

Chorus

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Category: culture jamming


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