Santas of Excessive Consumption in Norwich & London

Norwich SantasSubversive Singing Santas Spread Seasonal Sanity

Today, on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, activists from Norwich Rising Tide dressed up as Santas and visited Chapelfield Mall to sing a different tune to the usual buy, buy, buy madness of the holiday season.

Bearing a festive banner reading Lapland is Melting and singing subverted Christmas carols (Welcome to Consumer Wonderland, Oh Little Town of Chapelfield, etc.), the Santas set up outside the temple to consumption that is Chapelfield Mall.

Many stressed-out shoppers broke into smiles of recognition as the lyrics reached their ears: ‘Hit the malls with wads of money fa la la la / Breathing air that’s stale and sterile fa la la la’ or ‘To some folks Christmas means a time for gathering with friends / But TV says it's time for pricey gifts and selfish ends’. Mall security however were not so pleased with the ‘please don’t shop here’ tunes, and the Santas were moved on – but not before sending a streak of sanity through consumer wonderland.

The Santas’ carols also highlighted the fact that binge consumption at Christmas-time is directly linked to climate change (‘This shopping toil is wasting oil’). Holiday food, travel, lights, and gifts produce on average 650 kg of CO2 emissions per individual. In total, that’s 5.5% of the yearly carbon footprint of the UK.

‘Every gift that's produced, transported, bought, used, and thrown away uses up energy that we don’t have, and creates emissions that our climate can’t handle. And if that product is made of plastic (like all those cheap toys that will be broken or discarded in a week’s time), then it’s literally made of oil’, said one Santa from Norwich Rising Tide.

Said another: ‘Us Santas aren’t suggesting you don’t give your loved ones presents this year. But why not make one or two of them, trade with friends, or buy locally. Think about the products you’re buying – what they’re made of, where they came from, how they got from there to here… and whether they’re actually going to make someone any happier.’

London Santas 1London Santas 1
London Santas 2London Santas 2
Santas of Excessive Consumption on Oxford Street

Santas singing alternative carols on Oxford street in London today (15 December).

Today, on the last big shopping weekend of the year, LRT went to Oxford street to sing alternative carols for all the lovely boys and girls who were busy racing around in a rush to spend.

Dressed as Santas and Elves, we brought not only cheer, but some hope too, as we got loads of positive feedback. The Santas sang for about two hours.

Christmas Carols (thanks to The Center for a New American Dream)

Consumer Wonderland
(To the tune of Winter Wonderland, lyrics by Erica Avery)

The TV's on / are you watching?
Another product / that they're hawking
one more thing you need
to make life complete
Welcome to Consumer Wonderland

In the stores / you will hear it
"Pricey gifts / show holiday spirit"
That's what they call it
to get to your wallet
Welcome to Consumer Wonderland

At the mall we can go out shopping
and buy lots of stuff we can't afford
we'll have lots of fun with our new toys
until we realize that we're still bored
When you shop / ain't it thrilling
until / you get the billing
the money you still owe the stuff broke long ago
Welcome to Consumer Wonderland

Uh Oh We're In The Red, Dear

(To the tune of Rudolph the red-nose reindeer)

Uh oh we're in the red, dear
On our credit card it shows
Christmas is almost over
But the debit line still grows
Shopping like Santa's zombies
Sent our budget down in flames
But all our Christmas spirit
Helped the giant retail chains

I'm so foggy Christmas Eve
Wondering how we'll pay
Christmas doesn't seem so bright
When our finances are tight

So here's a plan for next year
Let's forget the shopping spree
Let's give a gift of love, so
All our Christmas gifts are free

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Slow down ye frantic shoppers for there's something we must say
If you would spare a moment all the stores would go away
Big business has been telling us what Christmas means today

Now it's time we decided for ourselves, for ourselves
Yes it's time we decided for ourselves.

To some folks Christmas means a time for gathering with friends
And enemies might take it as a time to make amends
But TV says it's time for pricey gifts and selfish ends

Now it's time we decided for ourselves, for ourselves
Yes it's time we decided for ourselves.

Some people feel that Christmas is when Jesus makes a call
For others it's a time to stress good will and peace to all
But advertisers tell us it means Santa's at the mall

Now it's time we decided for ourselves, for ourselves
Yes it's time we decided for ourselves.

Jingle All The Way
To the tune of Jingle Bells

Profits here, profits there,
profits everywhere
Christmas time is funny
we smell money in the air
Advertise, glamorize,
fool you with a flair.
Let's make sure that Christmas
is a businesslike affair.

You're eating up our lies and dashing to the stores
Then all our prices rise and how the money pours
If we don't keep you drugged and watching your TV
You might see the hypocrisy
then where would business be?


We'll tell you how to think and tell you what to try
What to eat and drink and how to live and die
And if our plan succeeds, when Christmas-time is nigh
Instead of seeking love and peace you'll hunt for gifts to buy


To the tune of Little Town of Bethlehem

Oh gentle folk of London Town
Think how they feed us lies
All through the streets the shops compete
Urging us to buy and buy
Whilst elsewhere explodeth
Another bomb tonight
As innocents fall
Were in the shopping mall
This doesn’t quite seem right.

Spend all our cash, we’re feeling flash
As the queues grow and grow
Buying luxury goods and loads of food
for folks we hardly know
Whilst in so many places
The people starve and die
As I carve my bird
It’s quite absurd
We buy into this lie

Then at new year the sales appear
And everything’s reduced
In store we see new product lines
And know that we’ve been duped
We wish that we had waited
Until now to buy
The model’s been updated
It makes us want to cry.

To the tune of Once in Royal David’s City

Once in dirty London City
Stood a huge big fuck off shop
Where they sold their goods aplenty
And the shopping did not stop
Branded bags all overflowing
All their savings quickly going
Thus consumerism wild
Yule’s cheer message has defiled
Thus consumerism wild
Yule’s cheer message has defiled

To the tune of Silent Night

Silent night holy night
Bombs go boom,Soldiers fight
Round the stores the suckers trawl
Buying crap for one and all
Shop until you drop
Shop until you drop

To the tune of Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Oh come all ye shoppers
Burdened and despondent
Come all ye followers of ma-a-mon
Come and buy things
Sparkly and redundant

Oh come let us ignore it
Oh come let us deplore it
Oh come let us abhore it
Money and greed.

Ring tills with profit
Ring in exploitation
Ring all ye registers of capitalism
Glory to profit
At it’s highest

Oh come let us ignore it
Oh come let us deplore it
Oh come let us abhore it
Money and greed.

To the tune of Away in a Manger

Away in a sweatshop
A pittance for pay
Work under age children
With no time to play
Making trainers and T-shirts
And luxury goods
Threatened with violence
And given no food

The stars in the media
Encourage our greed
They’re making us want things
We don’t really need
Still wasting resources
And scrambling our brains
We’re using up carbon
With little to gain.

To the tune of “Frosty the Snowman”

Cheney the oil man
Was a jolly happy crook
With a secret past and alot of cash from cooking up the books
Cheney the oil man
Was a greedy guy I’m told
Because he wanted Halliburton to buy up all the oil
There must have been some magic in that pacemaker he wore
Because somehow his heart could handle the violence and the gore
Thumpity Thump Thump Thumpity Thump Thump Look at Cheney toil
Thumpity Thump Thump Thumpity Thump Thump Over fields of oil.
Cheney the oil man
got his dream come true
He stole 87 Billion from me and you.

To the tune of “Joy to the World”

Joy to the World the Love has come
To Liberate us all.
The workers all are poor
From shopping at these stores
Let heaven and nature sing,
Let heaven and nature sing,
And stop and stop shopping.
Joy to the World the Love has come
To Liberate us all
No one can afford
This birthday for Lord
Lets join together and sing
Lets join together and sing
And stop and stop shopping