Thursday, December 10, 2009

Humbug to Consumer Christmas!

In the past few years I've definitely worked on keeping the Christmas Consumerism down to zero, when possible, since I tend to make gifts for my nearest and dearest, with the exception of my dear boyfriend due to the fact that he is a bit of a computer nerd and I know a techno gift is what will bring the most joy. I try to do any purchasing BEFORE Thanksgiving day and avoid shopping malls on Black Friday and participate instead in "Buy Nothing Day", though I actually made it more like 'Buy Nothing Weekend' this year - YAY! I also wait to make any online purchases until the day after Black Monday - I hate the idea of being part of the holiday statistics!! But I generally have most gifts ready for wrapping by the first week of December.

"The Spirit of Consumer Christmas" reappears every year...DANG!

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the book "Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays". Written by economist Joel Waldfogel, he does get into some economic lingo but essentially discusses the waste (or dead-weight loss as he calls it) that buying presents can produce at this time of year; and he does so with a great sense of humor! It is a very eye-opening read and the most interesting take-away I got from this book is this fact:

If people had more money at their disposal, they would donate to charity MORE OFTEN

Which of course leads me to ask:

Why don't people fore-go gifts in lieu of donations made in the names of friends and family?

If I did have more money* for donations here is my list of charities of that I like and would donate to:

KCET - my local public television station; I don't have cable so this is what I watch when I'm not watching movies on DVD. It's intelligent and informative, there are great shows like "History Detectives", "Great Performances", "American Masters" and "Charlie Rose" for great late-night talk show. I love my KCET! (they also broadcast an amazing local holiday show, but I'll talk more about that soon..)

KCRW - my local radio station that has some of the coolest indie music going and they play my favorite radio show of all-time...

This American Life - great stories and great storytellers coming out of Chicago, which leads me to another charity from Chicago...

Inspiration Cafe
(now called Inspiration Corporation) - I love the story of how this non-profit serving homeless and jobless has grown out of a little red wagon to their own building, where they now have a culinary school to help people learn a trade that will get them work

And of course, my favorite arts organizations:
TEADA Productions, which I've mentioned here

Highways Performance Art Space and Gallery - this is the place where I got my start in creating performance art and met so many amazing artists

Now my question to you, dear readers is:

What charity would you donate to if you had more money and why?

Leave a comment about your favorite charity by midnight Pacific Time December 13 and I will choose one worthy cause to donate $20 to! I will announce the charity winner on December 18. I'm determined to turn 'Consumer Christmas' on it's head!!!

* - unfortunately, I'm working with a non-profit organization that depends on the state budget for money and if you are aware of what has been happening in the state of California and the budget issues happening here, well you get the idea!


chrissy said...

what a great post!
i feel the same way dear!
this year my hubby and i gave our 5 children the option of a few gifts (none of which they need) or making a memory and to my surprise and joy, they chose the memory.
so we are heading back to family in utah and going skiing!
this has made the madness that i usually get caught in soooo much better.

well now you have me thinking about charities...hummmmmm? which to choose? i'm going to get back to you on that one!

much love to you!

anna said...

YWCA food drive east cherry hill branch in seattle!

anna said...

Bye the way, i think it's so cool you're doing this.

humel said...

Oh, bless you, what a lovely thing to do :-)

The charities that are closest to my heart are anything to do with cancer research and cancer care. Last year I lost my dear Grandad to cancer. It would have been his birthday today. I'll be making a donation myself in his memory.