The Holidays Are About Peace on Earth . . . Let’s Make Our Gifts Reflect That

By World BEYOND War’s Culture Jamming Team, November 21, 2022

“If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.”
― Lao-tse

The holidays are coming! In December, the month of winter solstice, cocooning, and snow in the north, our thoughts turn to peace on Earth, holiday truces, new beginnings, and goodwill to all humankind. It is also the season when we give gifts to children, friends, and family members.

But how many of us make the connection between this season of peace, and the gifts we choose? Parents shopping for their little ones in toy stores or shopping centers, scan shelves packed with violent video games, toy soldiers and guns. Peace activists browsing books and videos for friends and family will see fiction and non-fiction titles glorifying war and combat. Where are the books and videos about peace? And what would such a book or movie even look like?

World BEYOND War’s Culture Jamming Team has been pondering these questions. We know that peace activism is not just about marching in the streets, sit-ins, letter-writing and other political interactions. To achieve world peace, as Lao-Tse suggested, we need to start in our homes and in our hearts.

Gifts for peace on Earth

The WBW culture-jamming team has created a handy-dandy poster of gift ideas that you can use to shop online.

Important to note, though, that this list is just a representative selection intended to inspire you – there are many other wonderful gifts for peace that you can give! For example, the World BEYOND War online shop has a wide selection of anti-war t-shirts, coffee mugs, books, sky-blue scarves, and more.

We also recommend the fabulous array of books and games available through the Metta Center for Nonviolence.

Shopping for children

We invite you to watch these three spoof ads made by Veterans for Peace UK to draw attention to Britain’s policy of recruiting 16 and 17 year olds into the armed forces and targeting children with recruitment propaganda. Although this video originates in the U.K., its message also applies to other nations (like the U.S.) that promote war through advertising and the media.

Who would want to buy a GI Joe or other action figure after seeing this video?

That said, when it comes to shopping for children, you might feel at a loss if you look for toys that are explicitly about peace. Peace culture is more subtle than that!

Look for toys, books and games that model ways of interacting peacefully with others. They may also emphasize gender equality, anti-racism, understanding of other cultures, appreciation of and respect for nature, and so on. For example, The 5 Powers Revolution animated film and multi-lingual comic books tell the stories of persons of all colors and traditions working together to stop the Vietnam War, protect the environment, and effect positive social change. Board games like Peace In Our Time challenge players to work cooperatively in order to solve international conflicts. What a welcome change from games like Risk and Monopoly, with their essentially nihilistic worldviews and messages of hegemony.

We hope that this short blog and accompanying poster will inspire you! Happy holidays and may our actions create a groundswell of peace and love in the year ahead.


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