Here in Canada, where we celebrate our thankfulness harvest festival when the autumn harvest comes in (early October), Black Friday isn’t as much of a thing as it is the United States. But every year as Black Friday grows, we hear about it north of the border more and more. Canadian retailers and chains even jump on the bandwagon, advertising sales and even trying to make ‘Black Friday in July’ a thing.
And so its allure is obvious: this could be the one day this year that we’ll be able to afford that giant flat screen TV. Our budgets will stretch a little farther and we’ll all be able to make the holidays special by finding that perfect gift at 75% off.
And for me personally, Black Friday can mean that I’ll be able to afford some coveted fashion pieces or “needed” makeup. I’m personally a shopping addict who has a hard time turning down a deal. It’s a constant struggle.
But for all of us that are lured by the prospect of cheap merchandise, it’s a great time of year for a reality check. Will more stuff truly make us happy? And isn’t time spend with loved ones the best gift of all? If you’re feeling as fatigued by over-consumption as I am, and you want to keep from getting stabbed, maced, trampled and keep your sanity this year, here are 10 thing that you can do this Black Friday instead of shopping:
Shopping at home is definitely an option, thanks to the seasonal discounts offered by a growing number of online retailers on Cyber Monday this coming November 30th. But the week has other days that you can support as well. Try shopping small on Small Business Saturday on November 28, and you’ll be supporting often local businesses that are beholden to their customers rather than to shareholders.
The air is finally starting to turn crisp, and so it’s the perfect time to break out thin jackets, blanket scarves, sweaters, and parkas (depending on your climate) and get outside. As we approach December 21st, the day light hours are decreasing — so get your vitamin D while the going’s good. You can bet that your SO, kids, dog or cat (providing you have a cat who can tolerate such things as leases or following you) will appreciate getting their cheeks rosy for an hour or two. Especially if there’s the promise of hot chocolate, herbal tea, or hot apple cider afterwards!
Speaking of hot drinks, they go especially well with a good read. I definitely have a stack of books on my shelf that need a read as well as a few audiobooks I could dig into. But if you have nothing on hand, check out your local used book or thrift shop, where treasures abound for a couple bucks each. Or the local library — where you can still read for free! And you can bet that on a day like Black Friday, the crowds in used book shops, thrift shops and libraries will be non-existent.
If you’re talented in the kitchen (or even if you’re not) this Friday is a great chance to avoid the crowds and whip up some edible, handmade gifts at home. Sure, you’ll need ingredients. But with the plethora of recipe cites and baking blogs online, chances are you’ll be able to find something that uses up what you’ve already got!
OK, OK. So this isn’t exactly the most enjoyable activity on the list. But I can’t be the only one who’s household chores get foisted onto the back burner in favour of work, social life, and entertainment. Cleaning instead of shopping may not be fun, but it’s definitely more productive!
Much more fun, and a great idea for any time of the year. An impromptu dance party in the middle of the day is one of the best ways I can think to spend some time. Pick a crazy fun playlist on your phone and go to!
Not into dancing? Maybe a game is more your speed. This activity is great for families of course, and the thrift shop is another great resource for finding games for cheap (especially if you love to make up your own rules when some of the pieces are missing). Got someone in your family or group who’s prone to flipping the board when they don’t win? Try my personal fave type — a cooperative game. Nothing says holiday fun like trying to save the world from contagious superbugs!
Too early? Nah — no one can tell you that now that American Thanksgiving is over. Bet you don’t need to buy anything, either. 10 to 1 says you’ve got a bin in your basement just waiting to tranform your home into a winter wonderland! Don’t have that particular decoration you’ve been waiting to buy? Challenge yourself to not shop by recreating it from stuff around your house a la Martha Stewart.
All the activities on the list have one thing in common: they are experiences that challenge you to avoid the malls and the big box stores that bring in such massive crowds. Instead, this list can help you make the most of some precious time — whether you have the day off or only the evening to claim as your own. This year, I’m committed to doing something that makes me smile rather than frustrated.