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Taking Back Black Friday

I have an idea: How about all of us boycott Black Friday? Sound crazy? I realize this idea may not generate a national movement; it is at least an idea worth considering. Doesn’t it seem a little paradoxical that the day before Black Friday we give thanks for what we do have, and yet the very next day we wake up at the crack of dawn to battle long lines and impatient shoppers to purchase what we think we need?  As you can tell, I am not a big fan. I prefer Cyber Monday. It is no secret though that Black Friday has a reputation of being a free-for-all, and the worst sort of consumer culture.  Dislike of Black Friday has even spawned National Buy-Nothing Day. And yet, it remains extremely popular. So while a national boycott is probably out of the question, I would like to suggest a few ideas on how to take back this day and extend the spirit of Thanksgiving, and put Black Friday in its proper place.

Black Friday helps many families

It may surprise you to learn that many of the families who brave Black Friday sales aren’t rolling in the dough. The truth is, many families wait for and depend on deep holiday discounts to purchase things their family genuinely needs. Warm winter clothing items go on huge sales that weekend, and plenty of parents wait until then to buy new winter coats, gloves, and scarves. It’s important to be mindful that when we speak out against Black Friday (me included), we may actually be shaming friends and neighbors who need the deep discounts to buy necessities.

Make it fun

Believe it or not, for many people deal-hunting can be something of a contact sport, with families drawing up battle plans like they’re doing an elaborate scavenger hunt.  I have a few friends whose families go to great lengths to compete against each other on Black Friday to see who can find the best deals.  They love the competition and have a lot of fun together.  If this describes your family, Black Friday shopping can actually be a fun activity.      

Use deep discounts to give back

There are many families out there less fortunate and Black Friday can be a vehicle to give back.  Watch for deep discounts on things like fleece blankets, gloves, and socks, and snap them up for things like a Christmas clothing drive.  If you’re buying for a needy family, take their list when you hit the stores.  Traditional gifts like dolls, Legos, art supplies and classic board games are always featured on Black Friday.  Bottom line, the more big discounts there are, the more you can help out those in need.     

Seek out positive community

Have you ever been stuck in a situation you simply had no choice but to wait it out?  Like a long traffic jam so big that people get out of their cars to speak with one another, or a slow-moving line to enter an event?  Besides the initial complaining that may go on, I have found that in these situations, there is often friendly and extended conversations that take place, and Black Friday is no different.  Unless you’re one of the people racing for a handful of door busters, there are a lot of opportunities to extend the spirit of Thanksgiving by initiating conversations with fellow shoppers and helping each other get the most out of your shopping experience.  Everyone appreciates being around people who smile and are pleasant to be around.  We sure need more of this on Black Friday.

You CAN use Black Friday to create homemade gifts

My wife has a friend who heads straight for the fabric store on Black Friday.  For eight years, she’s been making flannel pajamas for her children, her nieces, and her nephews– a gift idea that was born when she was struggling to afford presents at all. Flannel can be as much as 75% off on Black Friday weekend, so she could buy as much as she needed. The heart of her gifts was the time she put into them. At first, she worried that her family wouldn’t like the homespun gifts.  But the pajamas quickly became a Christmas Eve tradition. All the kids, now ages 2-15, are equally excited to get them…and a few years back, the family crowdsourced a brand-new sewing machine to make things easier!

Whether you are all in for Black Friday or prefer to sit it out, it is important we that we approach it with the right attitude and perspective.  Ultimately, it’s not about the items we feel we have to have; it’s about being grateful for what we do have and to spend our lives taking action on the things that matter most.  

Was this helpful?  Feel free to leave a comment.  Would love to chat with you!

God Bless,

Doug Hedrick

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