With the holiday season upon us in full swing now, many people tend to struggle in finding their own balance to enjoy the time whether that’s in deciding how to spend it or deciding what to how to cook for Thanksgiving dinner. With Thanksgiving behind us, the next balance struggle is one of commodities and consumerism: Black Friday. This holiday, some people like to go all out, and others actually opt for a second option in doing the opposite— buying nothing at all.

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

It’s all about striking a balance just to keep yourself and your family sane during the holidays while enjoying the time you can all spend together and showing appreciation in whatever ways you want to. If that’s gifts you buy on Black Friday, go for it. If that’s spending time together today in celebration of Buy Nothing Day, that works too. 

It can go both ways and people opt for looking at the day after Thanksgiving a little differently, so let me give you a quick rundown of Buy Nothing Day and why it’s popping up now.

Essentially, Buy Nothing Day is a protest against consumerism in several countries, from the US to the UK, and was founded in Canada by artist Ted Dave in 1992. In recognizing the chaos of Black Friday, the mass consumption of goods, and how people’s behavior can quickly turn ugly, he realized that a different representation of the day could change things for people.

After all, we’ve also all seen those horror stories of people getting trampled in Walmart or Target, just to get to the best deals of the night on Black Friday… He wondered if maybe we couldn’t find anything more to do with our time.

While it can be a day to go against overconsumption and say no to buying too many things, it has also turned into something more. In many places, people feel that a focus on material things and possessions has taken away from time with their loved ones and a real recognition of what’s essential in their lives. The idea of Buy Nothing Day extends beyond a fight against consumerism into something more wholesome.

Some people turned it into a way to begin Giving Tuesday donations early, deciding to give rather than continue to consume. Others decide to use Buy Nothing Day as a chance to reflect on the things that they typically would buy and instead consider whether or not they need it at all, call it conscious consumerism. And for a lot of people, they choose to spend at least part of the day with their families or at home enjoying any time they’ve been given back to connect with loved ones while they can. 

Whether it’s a day reserved for family or for keeping your money in your wallet, Buy Nothing Day is one alternative to Black Friday that I’ve seen trending again today and wanted to share with you all.

So, what about Black Friday then?

Most of us know how this day works Black Friday is the same as it always is except that this year, some people are doing this best to stay out of stores if they can help it.

When it comes to shopping, deals that come around on days like this one might be the only opportunity some people get to buy many of the things that they’ve been needing. Small businesses can also get a lot more love than they usually do, from black-owned brands to local businesses, and the visibility for other small shops is unbeatable on social media.

Once you combine Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day, however, you get one single idea: a conscious shopper. One of the biggest issues people have with Black Friday is that people tend to go out and spend more money than necessary on too many things. When the alternative of Buy Nothing Day came around, some people decided to then buy nothing at all.

Instead, there’s a middle ground of buying just enough of what you need or what you want, without going overboard. When they do that, some people have found that with the time left over, they can spend it with family or doing other important things instead.

There’s a give and a take to most of what we do and if you can strike it right for yourself during this season, I’d say you’re in pretty good shape. But only you know what that looks like.

So today, in comparing the duality of Black Friday versus Buy Nothing Day, I wanted to say good luck in finding your balance this holiday and that whatever you do today, stay safe out there. The holidays are a hectic time for a lot of people and this year, there’s an added complication of trying to keep you and your loved ones safe on top of everything else. Whether you’re out shopping or just trying to stay consciously connected, I hope you’re all well and able to find a good balance in it all.

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones. See you next week.

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