On 26th November, 10 Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigners took to the streets dressed as Santa Claus to spread the message that Christmas does not have to be about over-consumption, stress and debt in a fun way.


The Santas hit the main shopping streets around Birmingham city centre with placards with satirical signs such as: ‘your kids want presents, not love’ and ‘buy more, be happy’ whilst giving out information on Buy Nothing Day. Buy Nothing Day was first organised in Canada in 1992 in response to over consumption. The campaign has now spread to over 30 countries from New Zealand & Norway to the Philippines & Poland, find out more here: http://www.buynothingday.co.uk/.


The idea of the parade is not to tell people what to do but to encourage people to think about their relationship with consumerism. We shop, just like everyone else but it is important for us to consider the financial and environmental implications of what we buy. We’d like to promote small business, fair-trade and locally sourced products that have less of an impact on the planet.


We think it is important for Christmas to be a time of positivity, not doom and gloom, happiness doesn’t come from expensive presents, but from spending time with those closest to us and giving them consideration and love.


At the end of the Santa parade we visited the Occupation Birmingham camp, here’s a photo of us with the Occupy campaigners:


Andy Pryke, organiser of this year’s parade, featured on BBC Radio WM talking about the role of consumerism at Christmas. You can listen to the full recording here with a selection of photos from the last 10 years of Santa parades.

Some Students from BCU also made a video of the day, which you can view here.