The poet William Wordsworth put it well: "The world is too much with us; late and soon. Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." This Thanksgiving Weekend, during what is usually the biggest shopping holiday of the year, people in as many as 65 countries will take part in the 15th annual Buy Nothing Day, a global fast from shopping. Why not join the bandwagon of resistance against one of the most insidious temptations in our culture? The lure to buy and own more stuff is so much a part of the way we operate that it's hard to see how it keeps us away from our true selves, one another, and our God.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to hurt retailers and those who work for them, but it's only been a few decades since blue laws kept us from buying and selling one day each week. Economists have yet to prove that one day off each week, let alone one day a year, can damage a healthy economy or ruin a good business. It's hard to say that to a small business owner who counts on Black Friday for a significant part of his revenue, but maybe Buy Nothing Day requires a riskier sister phenomenon called Sell Nothing Day, during which all of us trying to "get and spend" take a break and focus on gratitude.