Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday-shopping season. It’s called Black Friday: On this day, we racing rats are expected to hit the malls and spend, spend, spend until we drop. This year, in fact, the season started even sooner. In the Baltimore area, the buying season started early. Consumers were encouraged to start their spending sprees at Thanksgiving Day sales. How nice: Forget helping at the soup kitchen, skip the parades and football games, ditch the family celebrations, the ads seemed to demand. Instead hit the stores and get a jump on giving your cash to retailers.
Am I alone in finding this disgusting?
Let me answer my own question: No.
As has been the case in previous years, Adbusters is promoting its International Buy Nothing Day. On this day, people are encouraged to avoid the malls and to give retailers the slip. Keep your money in your wallet instead.
From the BND site:
For 24 hours, millions of people around the world do not participate — in the doomsday economy, the marketing mind-games, and the frantic consumer-binge that’s become our culture. We pause. We make a small choice not to shop. We shrink our footprint and gain some calm. Together we say: enough is enough. And we help build this movement to rethink our unsustainable course.
Sounds sensible and sane, no? Why participate in a fiscal fad that adds little that is positive to our spirits and souls?
Blogcritics’ Victor Plenty suggests some more productive ways to spend your Black Friday:
- Play some of those games you already own
- Watch some of those movies you already own
- Read some of those books you already own
- Take a walk in the park
- Take a walk to the park
- Walk to the mall and smile at all the poor suckers
- Give away something you don’t need anymore
I have some other ideas:
- Spend the day volunteering at a food bank
- Hit the library and read something
- Take in a free exhibit at the museum
- Spend the time doing activism — write those letters to lawmakers you’ve been putting off for later
- Come up with ideas for handmade gifts to give this year
Of course, these lists are only a starting point. There are plenty of productive and fun things to do. Why put oneself through the hell that is Black Friday shopping?
And if you find one day of mall avoidance to be edifying and satisfying, why not go for the entire holiday season? You know, it is entirely possible to have a happy Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa without going on spending sprees.
Buy Nothing Day is only one day. Our earth, our minds, our communities deserve more than that. So this year, let’s take the fun, passion and message of BND and spin it to inspire a whole shop-free season! Gather family and friends, let’s rise above the consumer binge and celebrate a Buy Nothing Christmas.
This year, whatever winter holiday you celebrate, give yourself a gift and do some good for your community, your nation and your world: Check out Adbusters’ Buy Nothing Christmas promotion and spend the season focused on what really matters.