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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Play games: Boggle, Guesstures, Bananagrams, Taboo, Settlers of Catan. So many choices, perhaps some you’ve never opened. Take them out and play games.
- 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?
- 9 Reasons To Stay Home On Black Friday (And Forget The Damn HDTV) (huffingtonpost.com)