Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fight the Power


Each year "black Friday" makes me want to barf! The day after a great Thanksgiving meal with family and/or friends where we take stock of all the blessing in our lives we're faced with the most in-your-face example of extreme consumerism that our culture can cram down our throats. My family has chosen to make "Black Friday" a day to celebrate what is for us the beginning of a time of waiting for Christmas. We drive out to a Christmas tree farm less than an hour away, take the three kids into a big field of trees with a hand saw, and cut down our tree. It really is a beautiful scene, with snow the last two years. By the time we have the tree up in our living room "Black Friday" is over and we've effectively avoided the need to buy, buy, buy.

What are you and your friends and family doing this Friday? Can you avoid the temptation to buy more stuff. Do you really need those things that are on sale for such amazing prices? Can you and your holiday recipients go without the stuff that our culture says you HAVE to have? Maybe you'll find a more joyous and meaningful purpose to this time of year. Being out in the country at a farm is perfect for us, what is your alternative to Black Friday?

Here are a couple alternative ideas for this year's Christmas gift giving, most of these are things the my family does, they're all fun and rewarding. You can come up with your own alternative for Black Friday, these are alternatives to the whole consumeristic Christmas season.

1. make your gifts. Last year I made my daughter a wooden cradle for her dolls and my son got a wooden train table. Alyssa made baby dolls for the kids and all their cousins.

2. Buy all your gifts at Ten Thousand Villages in Squirrel Hill. They sell fair trade, hand made, gifts of many different kinds from all over the world. Buy shopping there you know you are putting money into the hands of artisans who otherwise would struggle to sell their craft. http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/php/stores.festivals/store.location.php?store_id=571

3. Purchase gifts for non-profits and ministries making a difference in your neighborhood, city and world. Check out Garfield Farm's alternative gifts http://garfieldcommunityfarm.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/garfield-farms-sponsor2010.jpg . We'll actually send you a card with a description of what you purchase for us. You can give it in the name of a friend or loved one in the place of something they really don't need. Come to church on Sunday at The Open Door and you'll find other alternative gift ideas, some pretty cool ones.

4. World Vision was the first example I noticed of alternative gifts. http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?go=gift&§ion=10389

Whatever you do this Friday and throughout the next month, make it alternative. Do something that is counter-cultural and can help you build community, create a more just world, and show a different way than extreme consumerism.

1 comment:

Christina Valencheck said...

Love this, John! You & Alyssa are such great examples. When I have a hard time buying "alternative" gifts for people who just "aren't quite there, yet," I go to 10,000 villages.

It's a small way to introduce family & friends to extending our giving beyond our circles during Christmas, because it comes with a gift card that explains where the money for the gift went! I love that.