The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.


Did you know that the retail industry studies people like me?  Listen to this (emphasis mine):

In the twenty-first century, ritualized holidays (e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day) are annual events associated with excess and heightened consumption. As a consequence, consumers may sometimes avoid, minimize, or adapt consumption traditions during such events....

Anti-consumption research traditionally focuses on why individuals fail to consume or why they actively choose not to consume.  --- Close and Zinkhan, 2008

How could I even consider failing to consume?!  And, listen to this, my affliction even has a fancy name:

Gift-resistance often occurs via non-gift exchange (i.e., informants do not exchange gifts with their partner) or by modifying traditional gift exchanges associated with the event. Various degrees of gift-resistance, range, for example, from setting a five-dollar limit (despite having expendable funds) to encouraging others not to exchange gift. --- Close and Zinkhan, 2008

Image by Austin ClineI can just hear the retailers gritting their teeth --- if you've got expendable funds, it's your patriotic duty to spend them, for crying out loud!  Luckily, the article gives a bunch of suggestions to get us gift-resisters back on track.

But until they suck me back in by making me sit in front of four hours of television commercials, I'm still left with a dilemma.  I feel so phenomenally gift-resistant that I'd love to beg my friends and family to skip the gift-giving this holiday.  But how can that be done without hurting people's feelings? 

Gifts have an obvious role in cementing relationships, and none of the gift-resistant alternatives I've seen have similar force.  I'm sure someone out there has the solution --- please comment with your ideas for being gift-resistant but bonded to your friends and family.

And now, off to kill some turkeys!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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