Friday, November 23, 2012

10 Things to Do on Black Friday Besides Shop

Ah, shopping! A great American pastime. Got a day off of work? Why not wake up early and get all fist and elbows on thy neighbor to score door-busting deals?

As you've probably heard, we have a limited amount of resources left on this planet. If we use them all up we're in trouble. Why not choose to save these resources for stuff that really matters, instead of buying ourselves and our loved ones things we don't necessarily want, need, or have space for?

I'd understand all the hoopla if holiday shopping were actually fun, but my experience in retail sales has taught me that the customers with the longest lists are usually the most miserable, frenzied, and (sadly) worried about debt.

Instead of shopping, I invite you to participate in Buy Nothing Day 2012. Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against consumerism celebrated annually just after Thanksgiving.

"Buy Nothing Christmas: Rethink the Season" (image via AdBusters)

Here's my list of ten things to do on Black Friday besides shop:
  1. Nothing much. Continue eating, sleeping, and enjoying the company of your friends and family. It's okay to chill out and refuel. You can call it "Do Nothing Day 2012."
  2. Sort through your belongings. Fill a box of useful, but unused things, to donate to your local Goodwill or other charity thrift store.
  3. Look at your family's belongings. Is there something you can repair yourself or have repaired as a holiday gift, instead of buying a new one?
  4. Watch Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping documentary, What Would Jesus Buy? It's available on Netflix Watch Instantly. You can also watch the entire movie on YouTube.
  5. I love Adbusters' idea of offering free a credit card cut up service outside the shopping center!
  6. You can use credit cards and gift cards for art projects, instead of shopping. Check out Art Journaling 101 on Daisy Yellow Blog and get started exploring your creativity today!
  7. You can also make jewelry from old credit and gift cards if you don't cut them straight away. Scavenging blog has a tut for making a credit card bracelet and I love, love, love Clossette blog's tutorial for making a credit card name necklace.
  8. Start taking charge of your finances. Make a budget and plan to pay off debts. Read Suze Orman's book, The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke, or poke around the internet for other personal finance education resources.
  9. Create a list of charities you'd like money donated to in your name. Be sure to share it with people who usually buy you crappy presents.
  10. Write and mail holiday cards. Extra points if you make your own!
Check out for more alternative ways to celebrate the holidays and resist excessive consumerism.

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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