December 2011

First off: Not Buying It

Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping

Which i have just bought second hand on amazon!

We have adopted an exciting new approach to Christmas commercialism…  not buying any presents at all! No, actually it’s more that Christmas once again has taken us by surprise and this year we are in a particularly chaotic situation with baby and problems with a damp and leaky house. But it’s an idea isn’t it, tempting just to forget the presents altogether and, yes the old cliche, just spend time with our nearest and dearest?

It does semm a little empty trawling through the (charity) shops looking for a ‘thing’ that someone we know might like. I’ve been trying to think of gifts that are useful in some way, like plants, books or food, but still succumb to the easy option of a nice something decorative that  i suspect the recipient neither wants nor needs. And Ed and I are steeling ourselves once more against the onslaught of unwanted gifts we will recieve. that sounds terribly ungrateful doesn’t it? But we do appreciate the thought, really, it’s just that whilst we are  trying to buy less, not buy new, only buy eco etc etc, people around us still buy us new and sometimes more as if to compensate! It kind of undoes the good we are trying to do doesn’t it?

Bah humbug Emily! It must be the howling wind ruffling my temper.


About itiseasytobegreen

non-new-stuff buying, recession proof, low earning, artist mum of one plus artist/naturopath husband. Who says green living is expensive?
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8 Responses to December 2011

  1. Francis Barton says:


  2. Francis Barton says:

    What I mean is, your point about people buying you stuff as if to compensate is a really good one. Way to miss the point!

  3. we’ve had a pact with my younger brother for the last several years not to exchange presents at Christmas as neither of us ever wants anything really. I only wish more of our family would be open to the idea as like you we hardly buy anything but essentials and usually end up taking a bag of stuff to the charity shop come the new year (nice gestures but we don’t need more scarves, gloves etc).

  4. thetruth says:

    So in one post you suggest that it’s bad local shops are undercut buy large corporates and goods are shipped up and down the country, but in this post you bought a book from Amazon, a massive faceless international corporation who use excessive packaging, transport goods to central hubs and back out again, and are killing off local shops selling both new and second hand books.
    Be the change you want to see. Don’t support the very things you claim to object to.

    • Actually that could be a good point, but in this case i looked carefully at where i was buying the books from on amazon. there are plenty of second hand bookstores and local book depots who also sell through amazon. none of their book use excessive packaging in my experience, in fact it is usually re-used and recycled old packaging. One book i bought recently on amazon came from gloucester, the other from a second hand store in scotland, so no sending to a central depot and not too many miles there, and money going to small, fairly local businesses. Obviously the best place to find books is in your local library but they are often (in Stroud anyway) very limited in their selection, and finding books in charity shops/second hand book shops depends on luck. Stroud is very fortunate to have two expceptional second hand book shops.
      Anyway, back to your point, if you are careful you can still be fairly ethical and buy through amazon, much like buying through ebay. But yes, you need to take the time to check things out.
      I would like to know the carbon footprint of sending something in the post, any ideas? less than me getting the bus to Gloucester to pick the book up in person?

    • Further thoughts on this, first i am looking into amazon and ebay in relation to ethics and carbon footprint. This is interesting;

      hmm, not sure about the bit about kindles saving trees…!

      Secondly, i think it is hugely important to recognise that, unless you opt out completely and become a true ascetic you will probably find that some aspect of your life in some way compromises your green/ethical ideals. It seems it is very hard to be perfect (haha!), the best any of us can do is to try and to be aware. We learn and try again…

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