Culture Holidays Let's Have a Real War on Christmas Excess and Revive SPUG, the Society for the Prevention of Useless Gifts By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated October 11, 2018 Public Domain. SPUG Share Twitter Pinterest Email Culture History Travel Sustainable Fashion Art & Media Holidays Community SPUG/Public Domain Stephen was really on to something when he wrote about SPUG, the Society for the Prevention of Useless Gifts. If Bill O'Reilly and the Fox News gang want a War on Christmas, this is it. It's respectable, Christian even, and had the support of people like Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican yet. (He had is own War on Christmas, and didn't have a Christmas tree in the White House, some say because he was against chopping them down for frivolous reasons.) Totally coincidentally, Slate picks up the story three days after TreeHugger, and notes that there was opposition then Not everyone was pleased; some branded them "glum spugs" and predicted "death by spugitis." One fellow actress claimed Mrs. Belmont's group was nothing more than a cover for tightwads. And advertisers responded in their usual way: by instantly co-opting the movement. "RUGS FOR SPUGS," a Harlem furniture store crowed in the New York Evening World, adding its own explanation of the acronym: "Special Prices on Useful Gifts." Google books/Public Domain This is an interesting approach that we can emulate in the Internet age: this ad promoted cards instead of presents; today, we can donate to charities online and have them send an email card to your gift recipients. It should be noted that SPUG was not against gifts; as website Off-center Views noted last year, Were SPUG advocates forerunners of Dr. Seuss’s Grinch? Nope. They had no objection to giving per se–they simply wanted to stop the practice of spending money on novelties, junk, and baubles and shift it to useful things. They reasoned that if one is going to shell out for a gift, it ought to be something the recipient can actually use or appreciate. That's something every TreeHugger could get behind. John Ruskin put it best, long before SPUG: If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. fox news/Screen capture Let's take the War on Christmas back from Fox Nation, which is completely unserious, putting naked women next to the baby Jesus. It's not just atheists and liberal elites who have problems what happens with this season, but all of SPUG nation. The SPUG is a great idea, I am sending in my dime and joining.