Ten Things You Can Do on Friday (Instead of Going Shopping)

English: DC USA, Best Buy, Black Friday

For those who live in the United States, it’s that time of the year again — that time where one day we gather, thankful for all that has been given us, basking in the warmth of family, friends, and food. And the next, we beat down our fellow-man, mobbing our way into stores to earnestly shop for that which we don’t need.

For those from other parts of the world, the day after Thanksgiving is called ‘Black Friday’. It’s a day that begins the night of Thanksgiving as employees are called away from their celebrations to ready themselves and their stores for the onslaught of shoppers. These shoppers will begin their quest for more material goods right when Cinderella loses her shoe and turns back into a scullery maid – the stroke of midnight.

I’m harsh. Yes – I think ‘Black Friday’ deserves harsh. I don’t think there is anything redeeming about this day and none of us are the better for it. And I can honestly say, I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday. It just isn’t worth it.

So here are some thoughts on what we can do instead of going shopping. Please add your own to the list through the comments!

  1. Bring out that one thousand piece jigsaw puzzle that’s sitting in your closet and complete it while drinking hot cider and enjoying leftover turkey sandwiches.
  2. Write letters – yes, paper and pen letters – to three people you care about. Why three? It’s a random number but paper and pen letters are collectibles these days. Imagine the look on your friend’s or relative’s face as they go to the mail box and see a handwritten envelope. Pure shock and delight.
  3. Make homemade granola to give as gifts to people. Here are a couple of recipes you can try. Homemade granola is a great gift and the bonus is that you can keep some for yourself.
  4. Sort through a couple of closets. Christmas is coming and clutter needs to go. Get into those closets and sort, get rid of, throw away. The catharsis is unbelievable.
  5. Watch the Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix. Or Call the Midwife, or Downton Abbey. Something that will keep you immersed in stories and dreams.
  6. Go hiking – put on sensible shoes (I say this because I don’t always do that) and find some hiking trails or take a long walk in the woods. Perhaps you’re like me and you need to drive to find hiking trails- then drive and walk all that energy that would have been used getting more of what you don’t need. Take a thermous of hot cocoa with you and some sandwiches in case you get hungry.
  7. Clean – God knows our houses need it! We’ve just had Thanksgiving and food and stuff are everywhere. So take out dust pan, broom,and duster and channel your energy into creating a haven of clean.
  8. Call your mom. Call your Grandma. Call your Aunt. Use the time to reconnect with others who are escaping the frenetic pace of Black Friday. Then bake bread – Holy, life-giving bread.
  9. Play games: Boggle, Guesstures, Bananagrams, Taboo, Settlers of Catan. So many choices, perhaps some you’ve never opened. Take them out and play games.
  10. Use the day to just rest and read. Jhumpa Lahiri has a new book out: The Lowlands, a sad but good read. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a fabulous little book that will be a family favorite I guarantee. Curl up into a ball on the couch and read, read, read. Let the kids play on the floor beside you – Through a sheet over your dining room table and they have a ready-made tent where they can spend the day imagining. And you? You’ll sit and read and relax and bask in all things good, all things calm.

This is a simple list. But isn’t it time we changed this cultural norm and took back the Friday after Thanksgiving?

Readers from other countries – I’m curious! When you hear about our Black Friday, what do you think? How would you advise us to live on that day? And Readers from the U.S. – what about you? What would you add to the list? What do you plan to do on the Friday following Thanksgiving?

13 thoughts on “Ten Things You Can Do on Friday (Instead of Going Shopping)

  1. I LOVE this post! I would add –> Sleep in and let your kids crawl in bed with you (no matter how old they are) and snuggle under the warm covers….you only have 18 Black Fridays before they are gone!


  2. Marilyn, I love your list! Inspired by the heart-warmed experience of watching my 15-year-old daughter teaching her 5-year-old sister how to make potholders yesterday, I would add to the list: Spend time teaching a “younger generation” how to make/cook/play something new. Blessings to you and yours as we prepare for the wonderful season of Advent!


  3. I was just browsing online because my mom needs a new computer (like Jill in Spain, we won’t celebrate until Saturday) and was horrified to see that many stores are now opening at 6 or 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day! How badly can you need to shop that you can justify making some other person, who might well WANT to stay home with family, come to work? It’s shocking!


  4. Here in Spain, my husband actually saw some ‘Black Friday’ advertisements last year!! Ugh!! Since it’s not a holiday here, lots of the time, we just have our celebration on Saturday – since everyone is working on Thursdays and Fridays. So we are still anticipating and getting ready for the big day on Black Friday.
    But next year we will be in the USA and I agree with you, it is a blot on the celebration. When I was little, we used to go to the mall shopping on that Friday but there weren’t so many people there and there wasn’t all the junk. We just went cuz we had the day off school and we had time to drive to the mall an hour away. There were no crowds or sales, etc.
    I won’t go now, even if I were there. The good deals are those to be had at midnight and NO material possessions are worth standing in the cold to rush in at midnight!! Especially if it means cutting short the one holiday of the year which still kind of has Thankfulness to God and time with family associated with it!!


  5. As though we need another feast…we will be having a Pakistani feast on Friday.. Christi-Lynn & fam. can’t come till Friday, but that is what she wants. I hate shopping anyway at the best of times, so you would not find me in a store. I think what makes me saddest and sickest is the idea that we are supposed to go out and buy so all those stores will make a profit and our economy will grow. But it is a symptom of the very unhealthy foundation of our economy and I am not sure it is only the USA that is consumed by consumerism. There has to be some better way, but I don’t have the answer. Maybe someone else…?
    A Blessed Thanksgiving to all, and Happy Friday! Judi,send me your phone No.


  6. Black Friday is like a bad curse on America because all of those YouTube crowd chaos videos are uploaded and the whole world sees them. I would rather be home and enjoying the holiday instead of being in that mess.


  7. Black Friday disgusts me! I love this idea of promoting other ideas for the day! We will not give into greed and consumerism! Good job Marilyn!


  8. I too don’t go out Black Friday and never have, hope never to do. Let’s return our investmenents of time and attention and a bit of money on small gestures of love. Buy buy buy, get, get get. No thanks, no thanks, no thanks. I heard once you can tell the values of a place by their commercials…what does this say about us? thank you for a great list.


  9. I do think Black Friday is a crazy day and it honestly makes me sad to see Thanksgiving pushed out out. Here’s to being against this cultural norm.
    Another suggestion- get out those out photos albums/scrapbooks and tell the family stories again!


  10. I LOVE this list and couldn’t agree more! Black Friday definitely deserves harsh… I never go shopping on then either – the time is much better spent with loved ones, reading, making puzzles, hiking, talking and laughing! If only more people realize how much Black Friday is not worth it… Happy Thanksgiving in advance for tomorrow, and enjoy your Friday doing these wonderful things on your list :)


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