Occupy Christmas: Where did it start?
We are a small homesteading family living in the foot hills of Kentucky. We are so far and removed from the ground forces of the revolution that our only connection to the Internet is a lap top tethered to a droid telephone. We may have been one of the first to use the specific term “Occupy Christmas”, we were obviously the first to register the .org url, but we are far from the spark that started it all. Let’s face it, concern for the over commercialization of this holiday season has been around since more years than most of us can remember.
This can be seen by the many, many wonderful people and efforts being made at Facebook and on other social media networks. We would list them here, but there are so many efforts and more each day that any list would be incomplete. Please visit Facebook.com and search on the term Occupy Christmas to find the many other efforts being made.
So where did the 2011 rapid growth of effort start?
Now celebrating its 20th birthday, Buy Nothing Day (BND) was conceived by Vancouver artist / social activist Ted Dave. It was later promoted by a Canadian magazine called Adbusters. The first day it was marked was in September of 1992. That observation took place in Mexico. By 1997, the United States influenced BND in that the day for the annual event was moved to the day after the uniquely US holiday Thanksgiving.
That day, known as Black Friday, is likely the worst example of over consumerism in the United States. We Yankees are good for things like that. In the United States, Israel, and most of North America; Buy Nothing Day became entrenched on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Elsewhere, especially in Europe, it settled in on the following Saturday.
Canadian based magazine Adbusters attempted to spread the word with TV and Radio advertisements, but met with great opposition. With the exception of CNN, almost all major networks refused to sell advertising space to Adbusters. As a result, the idea of Buy Nothing Day did not expand as rapidly as Adbusters might have hoped.
Enter Occupy Wall Street, stage left. Sparked by the same Canadian magazine that initially attempted to promote Buy Nothing Day, the Occupy Wall Street campaign took off in a way that Buy Nothing Day could not initially do. Maybe it was timing or the political climate. Maybe it was thanks to social media and the ability to spread an idea like a virus that was made possible by the expansion of Internet use. For whatever reason Occupy Wall Street would eventually see 32,500 people march in New York City where the largest anti-Vietnam war protest saw only 30,000 people. Change was being demanded and it was being demanded immediately.
As a URL / Website, OccupyChristmas.org is our homestead’s effort towards facilitating those needed changes. We hope to cause consumers to rethink their spending habits, realize that with every dollar they spend a vote is cast, and cause huge business to rightfully fear repercussions of their shameful conduct.
As a movement, “Occupy Christmas” is not ours at all. It is a living thing which can trace its roots through Occupy Wall Street (2011), back through Buy Nothing Day (1992), and all the way back to when Santa traded in his traditional colors for the Coca Cola red n whites.
With your help, we can all Occupy Christmas!