Yes, its that time of year again. The days grow shorter, people’s tempers grow shorter as they contemplate yet another orgy of consumerism. Just remember George Bush exhorting us to spend, spend, spend: it’s a patriotic duty!
I say that we need to reject this entire mindset. In fact, I think we should put the ‘Christmas’ extravaganza aside. I have tried for years to convince my mother of this, but to no avail. Maybe this year, when rampant consumerism seems to tightly linked to global ecological disaster, maybe…
So, instead of Christmas I suggest Xmax. Xmax is a fusion of two ideas: simplifying your life by giving away as much unused junk as possible – to charities, friends, strangers on the street – and throwing a massive party where you invite friends and family to eat and drink and exchange gifts.
Get rid of the junk before the Xmax party, which optimally should be held on the Winter Soltice: this year, 22 December. Don’t wrap the junk up and call it gifts, either. It is just a hand-off, and the recipient is doing you a favor by taking it, not the other way around.
However, all the gifts at the party must be consumables: food or drink. No geegaws, no USB drives, no DVDs, no ugly ties, no picture frames with sunburned children, no camping gear, no hideous sweaters. No junk, only food and drink.
8oz of sliced salmon, yes: knife to cut the salmon, no. Bagels to put the salmon on, yes; breadbox to hold the bagels, no. Great malbec from Luigi Bosca vineyards in Argentina, yes: corkscrew to open it, no. Get it? Simple!
Even better if you eat and drink all the food and drinks at the party, so there is a zero residue gift zone!
I am going to try one last time with the oldsters in my tribe, but I just don’t think it will take. However, I am planning to continue my drumming for Xmax, even if it runs against tradition.