Shopocalypse 2012

As the end of the Mayan long count calendar comes to an end, and another one begins, I see no sight of the predicted end of days.  Then again with only two hours to go here in Australia before the big day, I may be a bit early

If you are reading this on the 21st then, of course,  it was just another false end of the world prediction that will go down in history along with the thousands of other doomsday predictions that never happened.

However, there is one apocalypse that I see getting worse each year, year after year.  Yes dear readers, you guessed it.  It is the Christmas Shopocalypse!  A term coined by the Church of Stop Shopping and is derived from two words, shopping and apocalypse.  Quite fitting actually.  You can read more about Reverend Billy and his crew at this post “Fighting Excessive Consumerism“.

Each year, the big stores try and convince us to spend up big, by putting up decorations earlier and earlier and plastering media with so called specials.  In our town, Christmas decorations went up in October.  At least they held off with the Christmas carols until late November.  Bah humbug!

Well not really, because I like the idea behind Christmas as much as the next ordinary bloke, but obviously without all the consumerism.  For us, this time of year is all about family, fine food, and small useful green gifts, in that order.

During the day we play games, laugh, eat, drink and cherish each others company, which is what it should all be about.  The giving should be a minor part of the day, not the main feature.

We tend to avoid shopping centres at this time of the year, because basically, the blatant and rampant consumerism makes us sick.  We just cannot stomach it at all.  Call me a Scrooge if you will, however what small gifts we have bought each other has been purchased on-line, away from the disease the infects people this time of the year.

Maybe it is because we know what the consequences of excessive consumerism will be.  A planet not fit for human habitation or for many millions of the species that live in harmony with the Earth. A chilling thought, seeing that this all started out with some poor bloke and his virgin wife in a manger over 2000 years ago.

Maybe the 21st of December 2012 will be a turning point for humanity.  The defining moment of just how crazy our civilization has become.  In years to come, we may look back at this time, and think “How did we let it all get this far?”

It makes you think, doesn’t it.


  1. says

    Here’s an article you might find interesting: Subdued mood on the last holiday shopping weekend (

    Seems disaster and tragedy have a silver lining – at least for the planet. Maybe more people are realizing what is truly important – family, friends and quality time rather than a huge pile of stuff, and the debt to go with it.

    I hope you and your family are having a wonderful Christmas Day!

  2. says

    We have tried to make a lot of our presents this year and for my family who are over seas we brought them vouchers so they could go out to a nice restaurant as a treat. I have a few friends who have talked about things they might want to buy their kids and usually they are extravagant and over the top. I have been saying to them “Do you think you kids would rather spend quality 1 on 1 time with you or have more expensive gifts?” Then I ask them if they would have rather had more time playing with their parents or bigger presents as kids. These questions are usually met with stunned silence.

    I hope you Kim and Ben have a restful and merry Christmas.

  3. says

    Hi Gavin, Kim and family,
    All the best from us in Canada! Wishing you and yours a happy, green Christmas. We are getting on with our -20C weather-trying to stay out of the malls. This years gifts include homemade goodies like jam, candles and soap. This year I have learned to knit socks, so they are on the list for next Christmas.
    We have drastically cut the amount of shopping we do, but look for really good quality, or used goods when we do buy something.
    Hugs from Barb in Canada.

  4. Anonymous says

    Hate these self correcting smart phones
    Should read: haven’t bought a present in ages as I have a stash and now get things from ….
    Bern should be been
    Fibre should be gone
    Childhood should be chookfood
    Claire in Kalorama

  5. Anonymous says

    I am making food gifts (including Limincello) for those that I know will appreciate handmade, gourmet. The nieces and nephews are getting something from the stash that I purchased years ago. Haven’t really bought the stash as that’s was what it was bought for (until I saw the light)
    Went to a reasonably small shopping centre the other night after work-hadn’t Bern to one for a while. It wasn’t crowded, easily got a car park, had a wander and was fibre within half an hour as I was just overwhelmed by it all (I think I am like a reformed smoker)
    Had to laugh at gavins comment about shredding newspaper for chook bedding. I do this for mine-haven’t bought a bale of straw in years. I get access to plenty of newspaper where I work and from friends (I don’t buy the newspaper). On cold winter nights I sit with my empty childhood bags and lots of paper and tear away
    After the chooks have had it in their shed it goes out on to the back yard, where they dig it over and it slowly breaks down. Composting it would be better but I have yet to build the 3 stage bins from the recycled brick pallets I have scrounged from a building site
    Better go and attend to the caramelising onions for the gluten free cheese and onion crackers
    Heaver a great Christmas and a happy new year hope all your chooks keep laying and your fruit tree provide a nice bounty
    Claire in Kalorama

  6. says

    I have made all of my presents except a voucher at bunnings for my Dad. He made a comment about things he really wanted and vouchers would be good from bunnings and that no one listens to him. So I listened and that is the only present that I purchased. I really like christmas with my family and would not want to sit at home on my own with hubby but it all gets very busy. I think just deciding and saying yes to one or maybe two over the couple of days is the way to go. Anyway – enjoy your day with your family and Merry Christmas Gavin and Family. Cheers, Wendy.

  7. says

    We are staying at home this Christmas, as we are only swappng very small presents and my family dont understand us not going nuts. It will be just the 2 of us.

    Merry Christmas Gavin and Family. hope its an amazing day. Cant wait to read more of your posts. We are hoping to move towards Totnes, and change the future garden more towards all you have achieved on your suburban lot.

    Wishing you, Good luck and happiness for the new year.

  8. says

    I have just spent the day in Bendigo “doing the shops” as a fill in in between Orthodontists visits with DD2. The people, the crowds, the full to overflowing car parks, the money people were spending did my head in. In the end DD2 and I escaped to a local lake where we sat and enjoyed the cool breeze, the ducks waddling around and the loan canoeist who was obviously practising for something as he went up and down the lake several times…lol. Last year we did all hand made presents, this year it’s a Kris Kringle with a strict budget put on the spending. Next year I’m voting for hand made was loads more fun and way less expensive.
    Have a wonderful Christmas Gavin with your family. Thank you for all your insightful and thought provoking posts through out the year… you have certainly made me stop and think about my families lifestyle and how we can change areas of it.

  9. says

    Merry Christmas Gavin!
    We too have kept it VERY small this year. Partly due to the move, partly due to the fact that I am a bit of a bah humbug and partly because it’s all become such a crock of nonsense. We have kept our gifts VERY small and inexpensive and the only ones I have spent a little more on are those for my nephews (long story but we kind of had to :( ) I am about to head into Daylesford to see if I can get some organic free-range ham that I know is supplied at a butchers there and I am hoping to find a duck or goose too as we can’t do the deed with our Mandy. There is a farmers market tomorrow where I will grab our veggies and I am holding my breath on spuds big enough to roast. Our wrapping paper (left over from 2 years ago I think) is in our old house so we may have newspaper wrapped gifts this year. I can’t stand the thought of buying paper that will be ripped off and tossed out. In fact, we haven’t yet even got a single decoration up! The tree is growing nicely in its pot in the garden. Maybe if the weather is nice we will put it on the deck, or plant it out and decorate it out in the garden. :) An outdoors Christmas!
    Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful day with your family and a lovely green Christmas. :)

    • says

      Merry Christmas Jessie and family. We too use newspaper or recycled brown paper to wrap the presents, and afterwards it either goes into the compost bin or on top of the worm farm! Extra eco-points if you shred it for nesting boxes!

      We have our outdoor area all set up for an outdoors Christmas dinner, and it is all lit up with LED lights which we put up last Saturday. Kim really has done a wonderful job with the simple decorations.

      Have a great and festive day! x

  10. says

    I’m with you on this one. The whole obsessive XMas shopping is like looking at an anthropological experiment, it’s not a pretty sight and I’ve been staying clear of the mall for months (I hate going there anytime anyway). We have two young kids and for them the presents are part of it, but not the main deal. We’ve been making decorations, cookies and cards to give love and thanks, but are mostly looking forward to the fact that we have that much more time together as a family. The presents that we’ve bought them are there to last (wooden train tracks, books,…) and craft materials. With kids I find, it’s more about spending time then money to make them feel loved.
    Have a wonderful XMas and a very green 2013!
    Love, Marijke

  11. Anonymous says

    I whole heartedly agree with you. Christmas like most popular festivities has been hijacked by hype and splendour that has nothing to do with the spirit of the occasion. But Gavin, I do question if buying small green gifts on-line is more virtuous than buying small green gifts in the shops. I know it is more convenient and less likely to lure one into impulse buying. However, is the carbon in an on-line gift any less than they are in a shop bought gift? I think your home made limoncello is the way to go for a Christmas gift!! Anyhow, hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    • says

      And a merry Christmas to you. Actually, I did a study during my carbon management Duploma and calculated that online shopping is actually less carbon intensive per kilogram of stuff than visiting the shopping centres.

      The biggest difference was the trip in the car/SUV top the sops by the shopper! It used about 3 times more emissions than Australia Post would if they had delivered the same item.

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