The day after Thanksgiving used to be a day when families went shopping together for great deals. Today, Black Friday is more of a chaotic, commercialized battlefield that has turned good people into crazed customers. Black Friday deals have even crept into Thanksgiving, taking a family holiday and turning it into a consumer-frenzied celebration. Is it worth it? Some financial experts warn that the Black Friday deals are no better than sales throughout the year. And today, many people shop Black Friday sales not to buy Christmas presents, but to get the deep-discounted items to resell.
If you are looking for a better way to spend your Thanksgiving weekend, we have some ideas that won’t break into your pocketbook and will help you stay relaxed and focused on what’s really important to you. The Friday after Thanksgiving is also known for these “unofficial” celebrations:
- National Leftover Day
If you’re like most families, you’ll have plenty of leftovers after your Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy those leftovers by transforming them into different meals. Take a page out of a favorite Food Network program, “Chopped.” Give family members the same four leftovers and see who can come up with the best dish. Winner gets to sit out clean-up.
- National Sinkie Day
Who knew that eating over the sink would be a thing? On Black Friday, skip the dishes and just have a snack over the kitchen sink for easy clean-up.
- National Day of Listening
If you’ve got the family together, this observance will help you create memories. Set some time aside to tell stories and record those tales for future reference. With digital equipment so accessible, there’s no reason that you can’t interview Grandpa Earl about what life was like when he was a kid. Grandpa may think that his story isn’t worth saving, but it’s those little pieces of the past that connect generations.
- Buy Nothing Day
Protest consumerism by staying away from the mall and stores. Some consumers go out shopping and act like zombies, wandering around with a blank stare and not making a purchase. If the weather cooperates, instead of shopping, go out into nature and enjoy the fresh air. If you’re into minimalism or simply believe that our nation is dealing with an over-consumption problem, you can make a small difference by not using Black Friday as a shopping day. Make a commitment to shifting your lifestyle by consuming less.
- Fur-Free Friday
Some groups use the day after Thanksgiving to protest the use of animal fur. Not only do people get out Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving, but they also get out their furs for the upcoming party season. If you are an animal rights activist, this might be a great way to show your support.
- Native American Heritage Day
In 2008, President George W. Bush signed legislation making the day after Thanksgiving “a day to pay tribute to Native Americans for their many contributions to the United States.” Visit a museum dedicated to indigenous peoples or read a book about some aspect of their culture. Go beyond stereotypes to really see how Native Americans lived and live, to understand why they should not be marginalized.
This year, Black Friday falls on the 24th. If one of the above holidays doesn’t get you excited, then celebrate Scott Joplin’s 150th birthday. He has a full list of compositions to listen to. Start out with an easily recognizable one, “The Entertainer.” Another notable birthday is Dale Carnegie's, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This book is still popular today, even though it was published in 1936. Read a chapter to learn more about being a leader and handling people.
If you’re not into shopping on Black Friday, choose to do something more meaningful.