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Carolers decry holiday shopping mania

By Kevin Rollason

From The Winnipeg Free Press, December 17, 2006


Profits here, profits there, profits everywhere
Christmas time is funny, we smell money in the air
-- Sung to the tune of Jingle Bells

Wininpeg Buy Nothing Christmas carolers Curtis Wiebe and Matt Morrison join a group of 20 outside three shopping centres.
BNC photo by Aiden Enns

CAROLERS singing traditional holiday carols with a satirical twist to the lyrics urged Winnipeggers to stop shopping and find the true meaning of Christmas at a few local stores on Saturday.

Displaying a banner proclaiming "Christmas Burnout," more than a dozen people with the church-based Buy Nothing Christmas campaign set up for about an hour apiece outside the Polo Park Shopping Centre, the Ellice Avenue Wal-Mart store and the Future Shop on St. James Street.

"The message is that Santa has morphed into Scrooge," said Will Braun, one of the organizers.

"Maybe Santa should take a year off, hang out at the North Pole with his family and friends, and let's do the same by being with friends and family."

Another organizer, Anna Weier, said "people should spend more time together and consume less. People can make their own presents."

Shopper Dorothy Thiessen said that even though she was out hunting for presents Saturday, she agrees with the group's message.

"People have forgotten what Christmas is all about," Thiessen said.

"I think this is great. People should be giving something handmade. It comes from the heart."

Another shopper, 23-time grandmother Ingrid Inglis, said she tries to stem the shopping frenzy by limiting to $10 how much she spends on each grandchild.

"You don't have to be Scrooge, but you don't want to go way over the line, too," Inglis said as she pushed a shopping cartload full of presents, none of which cost more than $10.

"I think the message this group has is accurate. You don't want to be so overloaded you capitulate to the season.

"After all, when my father was young, if they got oranges at Christmas that was remarkable.

--kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

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