This Friday, is Black Friday, the day that all of us are encouraged to go out and spend money to not only support the economy, but ironically, to save ourselves some money for the holiday season.
I personally don’t get how going into debt or buying more things they don’t need will prove to our friends and loved ones how much they mean to us, especially when most of these products don’t even come from or support our local communities anymore.
But, increasingly I find the whole idea of holiday shopping unappealing. After all, Thanksgiving gets ignored, or rushed, and it is the one day a year that we are supposed to give thanks for what we have in our lives, both the material and non-material things. So, I made it a point to find other things to do, and usually these are things that help other people which makes me feel a whole lot better than shopping does.
With that in mind, here are just a few ideas that you can do to make your community better on this day and that make you feel better as well:
Take the pledge to not shop and be with those you love. The people who brought you the Story of Stuff have created an online campaign to encourage people to make a pledge to spend the day with family and friends and not shop. Calling it “Buy Nothing Do Something,” they present it as a way to get away from the consumerism of the day.
As they say in their short video, play, sled, hike, and eat on Black Friday. Thanksgiving is all about food after all. Why not continue that theme and donate food, or help at a local shelter or food bank? Or, help those who produce our food–our farmers, by donating to Farm Aid or American Farmland Trust. Farmers feed us, and whether we are vegan or omnivore, most of us have the privilege of eating well this Thanksgiving because of them.
Green up your local area. Plant trees, plant a garden, tend to a garden, or, if you are in a cold climate, put a garden to bed for the winter.
Instead of shopping, get rid of some of the things that you don’t need that can help others who do need them. Donate old and unwanted items instead of purchasing more.
Exercise your brain. Do something creative, make something–whether a special recipe, or a craft. Or, tap into your creativity; take photographs, write, or draw or paint.