Sunday, November 26, 2006

Santa Clauses on strike on "Buy Nothing Day"



A group of Santa Clauses were on strike on one of Vienna's main shopping avenues in honor of "Buy Nothing Day," an international initiative to counter consumerist attitudes ahead of the Christmas season.

"Today is Buy Nothing Day, allow yourself a break," ten Santas, in full garb with red felt jackets and fake beards, told shoppers on Vienna's Mariahilferstrasse.

"People are rushing by and do not have a relaxed look on their face at all. I am doing much better," said one Father Christmas, lounging in a deckchair.

Instead of the usual presents, the "striking" Santa Clauses doled out advice about environmentally safe washing products and energy-saving lamps, and encouraged people to spend time with their families rather than just buy expensive gifts.

The jolly old men's offer to cut in half the credit cards of passing shoppers did not have any takers however: "Nobody has been that radical yet," said Heinz Hoegelsberger, who organized the event.

"Buy Nothing Day" is held every year on the day after the American Thanksgiving, when people in the US traditionally head for the shops.

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