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Center Targets the Grinch of Commercialism

* Campaign is committed to helping families take a less materialistic approach to the holidays.

November 24, 2000|From Washington Post

In the Dr. Seuss classic and the Hollywood version now in theaters, the Christmas-filching Grinch finally concluded that "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!"

That's the basis for the Center for a New American Dream's "Simplify the Holidays" campaign. Like other live-simpler, sustain-the-planet organizations, the Takoma Park, Md.-based nonprofit group (its holiday cheer is "More Joy, Less Stuff") is again advocating a contrarian Christmas.

The center's communications director, Eric Brown, credits heightened interest in having a financially responsible holiday to the movie and a general dissatisfaction with commercialism stealing the Christmas spirit.

Earlier this month, the center's fourth annual holiday poll found that 84% would prefer a less materialistic holiday with more emphasis on the things money can't buy; 55% said they planned to spend less money or otherwise simplify their holidays this year.

How can families resist the holiday season's commercialism? "The only way is early disclosure," Brown said. "Like, this year, can we stick to a budget? Can we spend a little more time together instead of spending that time at the mall?"

For other holiday budgeting ideas, including free electronic holiday cards, money-saving gift ideas and alternatives, and practical tips "for a happier holiday," visit the center's Web site at

International Buy Nothing Day returns today the day that rightly or wrongly is perceived as the biggest shopping day of the year.

In its eighth year, Buy Nothing Day encourages consumers to go cold turkey with the holiday shopping habit. "On Buy Nothing Day, enjoy a break from the shopping frenzy. Relish your power as a consumer to change the economic environment," argues the Buy Nothing Day Web site, at, hosted by Adbusters Media Foundation, a Vancouver-based activist group dedicated to "independence from corporate rule."

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