Getting together for the holidays: Make use of collective, creative spaces

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Spartacus Bookstore in Vancouver. (Photo:

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Last week, Tania Ehret outlined some alternatives to Christmas as consumerism, providing some holiday solidarity gift ideas. This week, she shares some ideas of collective, creative spaces where you can gather to share the holiday cheer.

The holidays are upon us and many of us are increasingly thrilled about the idea of seeing family and friends and (if possible) relaxing for once. It's that time of the year.

Unfortunately, it's also the time of the year for more of the casualties of capitalism (i.e., shopping mall stampedes and Coca Cola Santa Claus). So where do progressive folks go to enjoy the holidays in peace and escape the madness?

There's literally places everywhere.

How about going to your local independent bookstore to hang out? Have an info shop in your neighbourhood? If you're in Victoria check out Camas Books. Or if you're in Vancouver go to Spartacus Books and People's Co-op Books. Independent and political bookstores are great places to catch up on your radical reading and most likely meet some interesting people to co-facilitate a holiday revolution.

Or if you're in the younger age bracket and in Vancouver visit The Purple Thistle, a youth-run centre for art and social justice activism, and polish your art skills by participating in a free workshop. You could even join the collective!

Perhaps, you're in the mood for a coffee (a non-frappe-latte that is?). Go to the family coffee shop in your neighbourhood and engage with the people who live close to you. Specifically seek out a community-oriented cafe, like the Rhizome Cafe in Vancouver or the Mondragon in Winnipeg.

Instead of patronizing the restaurants that contribute to cultural gentrification in the community, have a holiday potluck on your block. Invite everyone you've never had the chance to gather with. Or never took the chance to. 

Replace that holiday parade, sponsored by malls and Multi-National Corporations, with a flash mob downtown. Dress up like elves of the 99 per cent. Or anything you want.

Here's an idea. Do your yearly round of observing outdoor Christmas light displays. But add to it with a midnight walk, keeping your eye out for all the amazing street art in your city. Maybe add your own, or drape something over a billboard or two. 

Public space should be ours for the holidays (and every single day of the year for that matter). So let's take it back this holiday season. It's on your list right?


Tania Ehret is a contributing editor with She's been involved in all sorts of fun organizing around Vancouver, from participation in the anti-war movement to opposition to the Enbridge Pipeline. She finished Langara College in Peace and Conflict Studies and has had reports published in Socialist Worker. She believes deeply in melding the worlds of social justice and multimedia/arts, making activism accessible to as many people as possible.

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