Listen, I know this Friday is Black Friday. And I know a lot of people will go shopping and believe they’re saving money. And I don’t deny there are legit deals to be had the day after Thanksgiving. But here’s the thing: is it worth it to jump into the consumer melee in order to save a few bucks? I posit nope.

My Opinions on Black Friday (spoiler: they are not good)

Brought to you in the form of a listicle, which is a list icicle, which means I have iced the consumer desire:

  1. First of all, the very best way to save money is to not go shopping. Yep. All the sales in the world won’t save you as much money as… just not shopping.
  2. Turkey captured on our wildlife camera.

    Second of all, do you really need the stuff for sale on Black Friday? Have you needed it for longer than 72 hours? Have you needed it for longer than a year or two? If yes, then you might be in for mega savings. But if no, you might be in for massive early December buyer’s remorse.

  3. Third of all, shopping sales for stuff you didn’t need before you saw it on sale is not the road to financial wellness. It’s the road to ersatz frugality. Just because something’s on sale doesn’t mean you need it and it also doesn’t mean it’s a good deal.
  4. Fourth of all, Black Friday is the most stressful day of the year to be in a store. It’s crowded, hot, jostling, and no one is having very much fun. Why do that to yourself?! It’s the antithesis of Thanksgiving–a day to express gratitude and contentment with what we already have.

Worst of All: Black Friday Promotes Consumerism Above All Other Values

Black Friday encourages people to wake up at an unseemly hour, jet off to spend money, and focus solely on getting more and more stuff. When parents do this, it demonstrates to their children that shopping is more important than spending a day together at home basking in post-Thanksgiving merriment. It teaches children that buying stuff–and having stuff and wanting more stuff–is how we define ourselves. It positions consumerism as a value to be worshipped and as something that matters deeply to your family.

Our paper hand turkeys! It only took me a solid hour to make mine…

As a culture, we have a tendency to define ourselves through consumption. We signal our self-worth, our stature, and our success through the cars we drive, the phones we use, the shoes we wear.

We use material goods as a proxy for community. In the absence of more meaningful unifiers, it’s easy to fall back on our possessions and appearances to define us and project our position in society. I’m not exempt from this. I like nice things. I have an iPhone. I’m guilty of dressing with class and status in mind.

But I challenge us–you and me–to fight this urge. I challenge us to push back against the deluge of advertisements goading us into stores this Friday. I challenge us to not only reject consumerism as a family value, but to create new traditions and new definitions of Black Friday. Our kids calibrate their values based on our actions. Kids begin to define who they are, and what matters to them, by watching what their parents do.

18 Things To Do Instead Of Shopping On Black Friday

You will probably have better ideas than me, but I’m the only idea-machine at my disposal right now, so you’re stuck with me. Until the comments section. Please share good ideas in the comments section. Mediocre ideas welcome too.

  1. Our Thanksgiving feast a few years ago

    Treat Friday like an extension of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Part II, if you will. Eat leftovers, discuss turkeys, reflect on gratitude.

  2. Re-enact the Thanksgiving Day Parade with cardboard-box floats decorated with, uh, whatever you have lying around. Have the kids/dogs dress up in their Halloween costumes for additional parade festivity.
  3. Decorate for Christmas/Hanukkah. Bust out the tree, light the lights, and merrily relish the slide into the next most wonderful holiday season.
  4. Go hiking. Or walking. Or strolling. Or to the park. Get outside and move around.
  5. Play board games. I solemnly swear that I will TRY to actually play the Angelina Ballerina board game with Kidwoods.
  6. Play card games. My family and I are Canasta fiends.
  7. Put a puzzle together. Or if you have little kids, fling puzzle pieces around your living room–that’s about how it’ll end up anyway.
  8. Get your craft on. Consider making homemade holiday gifts–edible or otherwise–instead of going the store-bought route. Readers offered tons of ideas here.
  9. Find a large chunk of ice outside! What could be more entertaining

    Let your toddler paint her fingernails. What could go wrong? This will obviously work and your toddler will definitely not goop mountains of polish on each nail and then wipe the wet polish onto her shirt and then demand to have it taken off, followed by wailing demands to “paint it back on again!!!!” I mean, I can’t imagine that happening to anyone…

  10. Have an indoor snowball fight. Wad up pieces of paper–or use (clean) socks–and chuck them at each other. For kids, the fun is obvious. For adults, amp things up by throwing socks at a ceiling fan while it’s turned on and incorporate a drinking game (caramel vodka works best) based on where the sock lands. I cannot imagine anyone being juvenile enough to do this and I certainly have never done it myself.
  11. Read books! To sober up wind down from the snowball fight/sock vs. fan mutilation, read your favorite holiday books while curled up with a mug of something warm.
  12. Watch a movie! Take it to the next level and watch the movie of the book you just read. My plan this year: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, of which we own both book and movie. Pop popcorn in your air popper for added festivity.
  13. Organize your closets/drawers/basement and make a pile of stuff to give away. Going through everything I own always makes me realize how much we already have. Seeing all of our stuff, and realizing how much I can get rid of, dampens my desire to shop.
  14. Winter woodshed view

    Volunteer. Get out of the house and give back. Volunteer at a food pantry or shelter or wherever else needs you. Volunteering helps remove the focus from myself and my needs and wants. It reminds me of how grateful I am and of how very much I have.

  15. Make a list of everything good in your life. If you’re with family or friends, have them make lists and then read them aloud to each other.
  16. Color in a coloring book. Adult or child, this is so therapeutic. I recently started coloring in coloring books with my kids and I’ll be darned if it’s not super relaxing.
  17. Try out a new hobby or pick up an old one. Been wanting to resume knitting? Hoping to get into yoga? Start today. Start small, but get yourself going on something you think you’ll enjoy and that’ll be a good outlet for whatever you need: stress relief, creativity, exercise.
  18. Get out old family photos and dream up band names and album covers based on the highlights. See if you can enter yourself in an awkward family photo contest. Take it up a notch by re-creating old family favorites with grown kids (those are never weird-looking at all).

What are your Black Friday plans?

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  1. My personal holiday for the day after Thanksgiving is “Pie for Breakfast Day”. It is also a day that I stay in my PJ’s and rejoice in not having to leave the house! I look forward to resting from my crazy busy life all year long!

    1. Yes, I was just coming down here to comment this. Pumpkin or apply pie (or a bit of both), some whipped cream, and coffee = heaven.

  2. Taking my grandchildren to swim at the Y in the early morning. (Shouldn’t be crowded since everyone else will be shopping😉). All 7 of us are going to see Frozen II in the afternoon…. already have tickets.
    Should be a fun family day without hassling crowds. 💙💙🎀

  3. I will get out my tiny LEGO Christmas tree and Santa set and assemble it while drinking my coffee. This and a holiday candle of some sort are my holiday decor. I keep things minimal and simple. Assembling is a nice task and fun to do and then I will take in a walk or if not great weather some yoga. Saturday I will hit the local farmers market.

  4. PS. Love the turkey handprint idea…. I think all 7 of us (3 generations) will do this on Thanksgiving Day…. what a keepsake for my daughter💕

  5. I always make a gigantic pot of turkey soup and my husband puts up outdoor lights – ALWAYS on this day no matter what the weather. Homemade soup and turkey sandwiches get eaten followed by watching a Christmas movie-preferably Elf!

  6. Yes! We lived in England for three years where they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but because of American stores, Black Friday has become an (attempted) thing.
    We like to do on Friday what our English friends do on Boxing Day – long meandering walks. We also love to reimagine leftovers. Our favorite is making French toast with brioche and then eating turkey, cranberry sauce, and melts cheese on it. So yummy! On Saturday we always put up our Christmas tree.
    Though this year we are visiting family in California – we have a 7 AM flight on Black Friday to head home to the East Coast with our four kids! 😂

    1. in South Africa, at least in the bigger urban areas (I’m in Cape Town), the retailers have glommed onto ”black Friday” in the most hideously distasteful way, fomenting and whipping up frenzies among a demographic who can very often least afford the various items that are desperately coveted… and by falsely inflating prices a month or so before… then marking them ”down” and hyping the saving… and encouraging people to queue overnight…

      There is always at least one stampede somewhere, with people getting hit and attacked in the race to grab whatever shabby, end of line item (electronics often, more tragically it’s often food too, food insecurity is a serious issue). It is sickening and never properly or thoughtfully handled in an ethical way.

  7. As I leaf through all the promotional flyers (online and on paper), I realize I already have whatever it is they are selling (may not be the latest model or style, but does the job and I am enjoying using it) or I don’t need and will not use the stuff (such as an air fryer, toaster oven, etc.), otherwise I would have gotten it at any other time of the year. So why not treat Black Friday like just another day?! It is a great day to stay home (will be cold here in Boston) with a cup (or several cups) of hot tea and a book, cooking , eating together, going out for a short walk, etc. The key to not buying is to understand that you most probably already have a version of the item in your house or you simply don’t need it (another pot? perfume? toy? clothes? – what will be the difference tomorrow when they join the piles of “old” stuff in your house?). I have self-control, so I don’t mind going through flyers and websites realizing even more that I don’t need what they are selling; but if you don’t, just unplug from all these flyers and websites and design a day around nature, nourishing food/drinks at home or visiting with a friend or relative or whatever else you will enjoy without involving getting more stuff.

  8. This is such a good reminder that we don’t have to buy stuff on Black Friday to feel the festivity of the holidays. I have to admit that hubby and I are planning to make some purchases after Thankgiving, but I will keep them to the minimum!

  9. Yep. I’m not at all into Black Friday shopping. Only exception is when I wanted a good deal on a Kindle. The idea of standing on line at malls and Walmart…….. Ugh. Only place I’ll ever stand on line to buy something is at the Darn Tough factory sock sale(just ended) here in VT; that’s so worth it! I don’t do or plan anything special for Black Friday as it’s just a non-event for me. Your list is fine though.

  10. Nice compilation of ideas! I can’t think of a worse way to spend the first day post-Thanksgiving than shopping. Another option is to spend part of the day volunteering or somehow serving others. One way is standing outside a grocery store and collecting canned goods, boxed or dried food, and toiletries for a homeless shelter or soup kitchen – they always appreciate these things. Of course, you have to arrange it with the store in advance, but I’ve had tremendous success doing this in the past. It’s the best way I can think of to kick off the holiday season.

    Happy Thanksgiving to the Frugalwoods and for always reminding us of what truly matters in life!

  11. Thanks for this. Especially, “Our kids calibrate their values based on our actions.” I remember boycotting Black Friday in the 90s. Not sure what happened to that, but I think it was that buying online didn’t mean going and dealing with the crowds. Anyway, I’m freshly resolved to buy very little and I have been increasing the outside time and creative projects and there’s been a lot more singing around here lately. I’m also thinking of hosting a mending party and clothing swap. It’s fun to mend around others and I’ve always been curious about a clothing swap…time to try one! Thanks again!

  12. Going shopping on Black Friday is a traditional for a lot of people. The excitement of conquering the crowds and actually getting the items in the ad is a sport event feat. I for one steer clear of all stores during the Thanksgiving weekend. On this movement about getting rid of stuff. I love my stuff. I do donate to charity but the things i keep such as my favorite roasting pan is priceless. Happy Holidays!!

  13. Just a hint for those still inclined to do a bit of shopping: stay home until afternoon. All of the shop-aholic crazies will be worn out from 12+ hours of Black Friday shopping, and it’ll be a pretty “normal” amount of shoppers out and about.
    And online shopping allows you to avoid the traffic and stress of shopping in stores, anyway.
    Definitely take part in Small Business Saturday to support your favorite local merchants and help make Christmas a little brighter for people in your community.

  14. I love the melee of Black Friday. True frugalites such as myself can enjoy vicariously participating in the fray without being tempted to spend a dime. I call that free entertainment, if you like that sort of thing. And I do!
    Another good thing Black Friday is good for: whenever we have a need a biggish purchase (eg. vacuum cleaner), we wait anywhere from the 1-11 months before the next Black Friday to buy it. In this way, Black Friday is a built-in purchase waiting date.

  15. Making turkey rice soup, continue with tearing out for bathroom update, sit by fireside and read/knit, rake leaves. Definitely no shopping. Already done. Bought books and puzzles for grands and giving them $. That is what they want anyway. Minimal Christmas decorations. Life is good! Happy Easy Holidays to all no matter how you plan to spend it.

  16. This is such a smart list. It’s great to see there is a minority who has the ability of reflecting at how much stuff we already own and that we really don’t need to add to the pile. Actually it’s sad to see that it is only minority of the people. I live in Hungary, and Black Friday is becoming more and more popular here too. Almost all the time when shops have great discounts I avoid, because it’s crowded and most of the time it is not a real discount, it is more of a cheat somehow . There is already so much pressure on Christmas, we don’t need to add to it, rather we should aim at reducing all the holiday stress. Staying at home/finding alternative ways to have fun is an excellent way to do it.

  17. It’s a normal schoolday over here, so we do what we normally do: go to school and to work.
    My 11 year old son does have a very specific thing for a very specific price which he’ll try to buy: an X-box game console which he saved up for himself. If one of the sites he’s reseached offers just what he wants for the predefined price (under second hand), the shopping itself will be online, which will al least take out going to the physical shop.
    But I know your list is for what to do instead of shopping, so: fuelled by the above we talk quite a bit about how advertisements work; how they make you want things you didn’t before. The subject always comes up whenever a store tries to pass something expensive as a good deal.
    I like your suggestions and think I’ll do some tidying up. To see the abundance we have. I might reread your post about the barn for extra motivation 🙂

    1. now that I can get behind; carefully considering something you genuinely want and have wanted for a while, doing the research, saving the money and then taking advantage and getting a really good (online deal). Sure, it’s ”black Friday” shopping, but it’s just planning ahead and I will be doing similarly over the next couple of days; going through specific lists of things I want to get for people for upcoming birthdays / Christmas and seeing IF I can get worthwhile deals, having already worked out the likely usual price. I wouldn’t go near a shop IRL though, not even if we had zero food in the house!

  18. Amen! Amen! Amen! I can’t say enough how much I agree with everything in this post. As a former retail manager for a big beauty brand, the anxiety, depression, resentment, and loss of faith in humanity that retail workers experience having to work over Thanksgiving and Black Friday is extreme. We would see a truly ugly side of normally very pleasant individuals. Toddlers and infants hauled to stores in the middle of the night on Thanksgiving to only have their parents fight other people over items that are marked up hunks of junk. I always worried about the impression that was making on their little minds. Great suggestions on how to really enjoy the thanksgiving holidays!

  19. Go to a museum! Not crowded on Black Friday for obvious reasons. Some museums are free entry, like Cleveland Museum of Art

  20. re #9: Washable nail polish for kids does exist. My son (5 yrs) loves the snails nail polish one and it does wash off really well. All the fun, way less mess.

  21. I admit I do buy things online this week of sales–BUT, as noted in your second point ” Have you needed it for longer than 72 hours? Have you needed it for longer than a year or two?” The answer actually is yes. These are specific purchases I’ve wanted for a significant period of time. The one item that’s over $100 I’ve wanted over a year. The other items are under $100 each and I’ve wanted for months. I also plan on getting my parents and my in-laws a digital photo frame each for Christmas this year, as our baby is due Dec 15th and this is the first grandchild on each side, I imagine these will go on sale this week. We have already set aside holiday giving money to cover this expense.

  22. I am giving blood that day. Our donation center offers points to redeem for t-shirts and various other items and because it is a holiday they give triple points. Not that the merch is why I give blood, but I like wearing the shirts as a way to encourage others to donate.

  23. I am a woman who is 66 years old and have never been to Black Friday. I really don’t miss not ever going. Budgeting for Christmas is second nature and really don’t need anything to clutter up our home or the homes of our family. Spending money on useless items is crazy. I am debt free and want to keep it that way!

    1. I applaud you! Remember the good ol days – when Thanksgiving was actually celebrated and not a day to kick off the glutton of shoppers? I hate that families can not be together on Thanksgiving evening because how we associate success with JUNK!

      1. Maybe I will see if any old Thanksgiving TV episodes of The Middle are airing- I highly recommend these! In one, the Mom thinks she might have to serve dinner at 9 am due to work and Black Friday sales. It’s way funnier than it sounds. In another, all kinds of relatives and friends are showing up unexpectedly, including “ a librarian!” It’s hilarious. I’m serious!

  24. Generally I would agree with the ‘not shopping on Black Friday’ mantra, however I think there is one exception – if you have a knack for selling things on eBay to generate income, Black Friday is the perfect time to pick up some heavily discounted items which can then be re-sold in February/March or so at a higher price. Obviously the items you hunt down is a skill of itself – they need to retain their value for four months or so before you sell them – but in theory this is perhaps the one good reason to shop on Black Friday.

  25. Black Friday to more savvy shoppers is not really a thing anymore. Big discounts are offered the whole month of November online therefore you don’t need to go anywhere. Plus most of the big box stores don’t open early anymore on Black Friday. They are open on Thanksgiving evening for like 5 hours then close around midnight. I don’t love what is stands for and a lot of sheep get lured by it because of FOMO but if you are buying holiday gifts it’s an easy way to get discounts of gifts you were going to buy in the first place. You don’t need to go to the store. I have gone to Home Depot and Lowes on Friday afternoon and it’s not crowded and there are some good deals on tools and such.

  26. “As a culture, we have a tendency to define ourselves through consumption. We signal our self-worth, our stature, and our success through the cars we drive, the phones we use, the shoes we wear.

    We use material goods as a proxy for community. In the absence of more meaningful unifiers, it’s easy to fall back on our possessions and appearances to define us and project our position in society.”

    Mrs. Frugalwoods, you sure know how to write. Thanks for communicating your depth and passion on this subject, and so eloquently, too. Wishing you a joyfully retail-free Thanksgiving (a wish I hold for everyone caught up in, and often ruined by, the cultural pressure of holiday spending)., and thanks for always being a voice of reason in a mad world.

  27. I have never done Black Friday shopping. Too many crazy people and long lines. This year, I will be sitting at my sewing machine stitching away for an upcoming craft show where we sell items my sister and I have made. We do a few craft shows each year to bring in some additional funds. We will be launching our online business next year. I am using the money to pay off my mortgage early. It’s a fun side hustle and I get to spend time with one of my sisters. That is the bonus for me!

  28. I go shopping on Black Friday, and I buy heavily discounted children’s socks and underwear for my kiddos, along with other normally annoyingly expensive items (face moisturizer! Vitamins!) that I need anyway but would rather not pay full price for — these often go on a huge sale on Black Friday. I push a tiny cart with necessities around Target while everyone else has huge carts full of plastic junk. I am entertained by the hustle and bustle, but I only participate a little, frugal bit.

  29. Gym first thing in the morning….then cooking. Hoping to make my favorite fish soup! Then spend the day knitting, reading and relaxing. No stores for me.

  30. I use the Friday after Thanksgiving to prepare for Christmas. Often, I thaw my own frozen harvests of fruit and made jams and jellies for gift giving. I may begin the process of writing personalized letters to go my Christmas cards. In the age of social media and e-mail, it is still meaningful to use a pen and paper and stamps and envelopes. Christmas card letters remain the only contact I have with many of my friends and relatives living far away. It is important for me to have a few hours to put some thought into what I want to write to each person that is important to my life. If there is snow, I will take the opportunity to take out my cross-country skis and glide around my yard. I love making a delicious stew with turkey bone stock and meat leftovers. This day is often just as enjoyable as the Thanksgiving holiday.

  31. Our local parks are celebrating Green Friday instead–free guided hikes and outdoor activities for all ages. Nice alternative!

  32. When my daughter was young, our day-after-Thanksgiving tradition was to go out in the woods and cut down a Christmas tree. I’d always say I was looking for a six-foot tree, but would always end up with something much taller that we’d vainly try to fit into the house before having to cut part of it off. It was such a fun time for us to walk through the snow on snowshoes, find the tree, then I cut it down with ax and handsaw. My daughter is 36 years old now and lives far away, but she still posts on FB about our tradition and how fun it was to do.

  33. Now, Black Friday has turned into absolute mental chaos. I decided several years ago that I didn’t have the time or energy or brain power to assess never-ending e-mails and ads for weeks in October and November, all offering early Black Friday, actual Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and extended Black Friday. Those ads are then followed by before and after Christmas sales. It has turned into a crazy overload where everything now blurs together and it’s almost impossible to make good, reasoned decisions about purchases.

    We have plenty of nice items and rarely buy anything new. Last summer I did want a new toaster oven that would hold my larger pieces of vintage Corningware (all bought from thrift stores). I did weeks of research, finally found one at Bed Bath and Beyond (I prefer to buy electronics from stores where I can easily return something that doesn’t work and actually speak to a real person if there is a problem) and got $50.00 off because of an Amazon price match.

    I love my new toaster oven but it was a very carefully analyzed purchase as opposed to the Black Friday / Christmas information overload which just leads to crazy, unanalyzed impulse purchases.

  34. I’m in total agreement about staying in and avoiding the crowds on Black Friday! My 4 sisters and I like to make it a girl’s day and spend it lounging in pajamas and watching White Christmas. There is one thing that I always buy on Black Friday though, and that is an annual subscription to an exercise app that I use; they consistently have a 50% off sale every year, so I wait and renew my subscription when they have the sale. Works out perfectly, and it’s something I use almost every day!

  35. Go to your local Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. You’ll burn off the calories you ate on Thursday. They’ll be open for the hardcore students or if you are new, what better time to start then now.

  36. How will I spend “Buy Nothing” Day? Working. 🙂 Hubby & son both have to work (thankfully not retail) and although I don’t, it’ll be a quiet day to remove my backlog. We’ll all go out to breakfast at our favorite cafe and then I’ll drive them both to their jobs before coming in to mine. A clean desk on Monday morning is a win and I still have the rest of the weekend for R&R.

    I don’t mind working on what’s not a real holiday because I’d rather make money than spend it. 😀

  37. I’ll be at water aerobics at 8:15 Friday morning. That’s about as early as I get out of the house these days, and I’m certainly not going Black Friday Shopping, never have/never will! LOL Game day is what we usually do on Thanksgiving Friday and eat lots of yummy leftovers! The Christmas tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving as well.

  38. Colonoscopy! Even more fun than toilet training. We do need (have needed since the old one died in June) a new toaster oven. As a family of two a toaster oven is big enough for a casserole.

  39. I have always done several of these (i.e. hiking, cleaning out closets, pie Friday (all day pie to reward myself for said cleaning)) but indoor snowball fight with socks! Nail polish (your description is EXACTLY what happens when I do my own!) – I have been doing Black Friday wrong! I want to come to YOUR house!

  40. Black Friday has only just reached New Zealand, my husband had to explain it to me as I was thinking – but it’s not Friday 13th…! Your reasoning is good advice to take all year round : )

  41. As a retiree, after a long career working for a large retailer, it would be easy for me to disagree with you but you are right about this. It is fine for consumers to buy products that enhance or help to improve and enjoy their lives but not improve their status. Status seeking is enemy of frugality and living below your means. Additionally, it helps to promote envy and feeling superiority over others. For example if I have something that is 10 years old (my current flat screen tv for example) that works perfectly well and provides me the information and entertainment that I want, I am delighted and certainly not interested in buying the latest and greatest just to say that I have it. I am not patting myself on the back but merely stating my values which hopefully I am modelling for my children and grandchildren.

  42. My partner usually works the day after Thanksgiving and I use it as a quiet day just for me and ….Christmas! I usually spend the day watching Christmas movies, drinking tea, and writing out Christmas cards. I try not to leave the house at all. But, I very definitely buy things online or for small business Saturday. As many others have said, I take advantage of the sales to buy the things I was already planning to get for myself or others.

  43. Trying something new this year -purchased fabulous seats (thought ahead and got them early-bird priced over the summer) for our local dance/orchestra’s production of The Nutcracker. Experience over stuff!

  44. I have never gone shopping on Black Friday. I detest the crazed crowds. However, last year (and I’m going this year as well) I went to the Roanoke Gem and Mineral Show. I’ve always been into rocks and minerals, so this is an inexpensive treat for me. I don’t buy much although my partner got me my main Christmas presenr from that show last year. I won’t buy much this year,either but its a chance to onnect with other rockhounds and crystal heads in my general area. I have shopped online on CyberMonday but the best deal I got this year was at an early Black Friday sale at an online publisher who makes calendars from your own photos. I got1en calendars for $5.00 each (usually 20.00) and using Honey, I got free shipping,too! I give nine as Christnas gifts and keep one for my own use. That’s a good deal , it utilizes my creativity and gives a nice personalized gift for others. so I do not regret shopping that sale. At least I didn’t have to fight the crowds at a big box store and getting sucked into buying so-so deals on things I don’t really need or want.!

  45. I actually have gone Black Friday shopping several times with a family member or two, but we do this: we go through the sale papers that week, and if any Christmas gifts we planned on getting are on true sale, we mark those stores and the hours of their biggest discounts (just to mess with your heads, some stores have different discounts at different hours of the day). We also check to see if we can just get it online. We don’t stay out all night or even all Friday. We just shop earlier than usual on Friday morning and knock it out. Some years we get really good deals on gifts, some years we don’t go at all. We never shop for ourselves, only for others. The funny things is, the last few years we have found the “crowds” in our area to be almost non-existent. So many people shop online, that shopping in most stores here is easy and quick. In fact, I wonder how long the in-store Black Fridays will go on. Years ago, it was crazy in the stores, but not anymore, not here anyway — I can’t speak for other areas. I agree about the unhealthy emphasis on shopping and greed on that day, though. That’s one reason that we only buy what we were going to buy for others anyway, including any Angel Tree gifts or items to support outreach ministries.

    And I really disagree with making employees work Thanksgiving Day!

    When we don’t go BF shopping, which is more and more as of late, we spend time together, watch a game, play cards, nap, catch up on work, eat too much, work on a project, whatever. We never decorate for Christmas on that day, because in our denomination, Advent is its own season before Christmas and we enjoy observing the Advent season, but we always find plenty of other things to do!

  46. We all get together and participate in what is called BlackTOP Friday – getting out on our bikes and going for a long ride on a local bike trail. Of course, it’s Florida so we have weather for such things 🙂
    I also am a long time card carrying member of the “Pie for Breakfast Club” on the day after Thanksgiving 🙂

  47. I’m excited to have the Friday after Thanksgiving off from work. During the day, I plan to meal prep for the upcoming week, go on a long walk with my dog, and laze about the house. At night, my husband and I are hoping to get together with friends. We will be avoiding busy stores at all costs!

  48. Great article, as always. Honestly speaking, for the first time in my life, I am living on a budget and I love the challenge. Also, trying to minimize and get rid of many years of “stuff” I have collected. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  49. I always think that if you’re going to shop the sales, better to do it online rather than in store. I find there’s much less chance of buying something you don’t really want or need when you have to look at that basket and click ‘complete’.

  50. We are going to side the new pole barn with salvaged roofing off the old barn. It will require buying a little lumber, but tomorrow, not actually on Black Friday.

  51. I really enjoy reading your comments and thoughts on consumerism, because they very much mirror my own. I too was a consumer for many years, then decided it was just silly to live that way anymore. Minimialism doesn’t mean deprivation. And I really enjoy being free from the consumerism prison. It really is liberating. Thank you for sharing your ongoing journey, I enjoy reading about it.

  52. Be crafty and make some ornaments!
    My husband and I started this a few years ago. We don’t restrict it to Black Friday, but fit it in over the Thanksgiving holiday on a night where we are all together (us + my parents & siblings). We all bring whatever craft supplies we have, and make a bunch of Christmas-y ornaments. Felt, glue, yarn, googly eyes, popsicle sticks, random sea shells, …. anything. We all have varying degrees of skill, so we end up with a pile of assorted ornaments. Sometimes they are gifted to each other, sometimes we keep the ones we’re proud of 😉

  53. My parents are super crowd-averse and hated driving in traffic and finding parking, etc. so we only had one rule on the day after Thanksgiving: WE DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE. We usually had family over anyway so it was a time to enjoy company from out of town, eat leftovers, take a walk, and just…do…nothing. I highly recommend doing “nothing” on the day after Thanksgiving!

  54. Normal work day for me….envious of all you guys who get to stay at home! I will not go near a store other than the one in which I work. All shopping that day comes from online sources for Christmas gifts. This year we are meeting some out-of-town friends (whom we have not seen for years) for breakfast before I go to work. Once home after work, time to start on Christmas! I love to continue the quiet gratitude of Thanksgiving right through the weekend, while doing low-key Christmas prep. We have so much and are so abundantly blessed,,,,I love to dwell on that, peacefully, at home as much as possible.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all the Frugalwoods!

  55. Over here in Australia, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but we sure as heck-fire seem to be getting behind this Black Friday thing. Well…not all of us haha! Its work as usual for me. The holiday rush is starting to ramp up though and we’ve decided to add to our shopping centre avoid times…our usual avoid times are the weekends and school holidays when they’re all packed to the rafters. I work from home so can go to stores early in the morning before I start my work for the day (one company I work for is 2 hours behind due to being on the other side of the country so that helps!!). We’re now avoiding all shopping centres after about 11am, as its just too busy.

    Now, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as a nation, but my husband and I celebrate other nation’s special days as a bit of fun. We’ve been expats in Germany and the UK, so we often celebrate those special days (and my husband is German-Australian, so the German ones are natural)…but we also enjoy theming a meal around other special days elsewhere, like Thanksgiving (US Tofurkey or something similar)… Its a cheap and easy bit of fun and homestyle excitement 🙂

  56. We use online Black Friday shopping as a way to make our charity dollars go farther. We buy sweatshirts, jackets, jeans, winter pajamas, socks, gloves and especially blankets and donate them to our local shelters. We usually shop at Kohl’s and use the Kohl’s cash to buy even more to donate. We buy quality items that will last. We usually make our money go 3-4 times farther for these items. One year we got 10 fleece blankets for kids for the price of 1. We shop after the family has left and it only takes about 30 minutes.

  57. I work!! 😂 I’m a medical social worker in a primary care setting so there always needs to be a couple of us knocking around. I work “black Friday” to save karma and vacation time for spending time after Christmas with my husband’s family “fun old fashioned family Christmas”. We rent a beach house near his aunt (very inexpensive in late December) and skate on his aunt’s pond, build fires, do a hilarious yankee swap and eat and drink way too much! To me Black Friday is just the day I work so I can have the few precious days after Christmas off to spend time with family.

  58. My mom, sister and I used the black Friday shopping craze to our advantage. Every year we would host a Black Friday garage sale (we lived in Phoenix at the time). So many people out early shopping for bargains so we always had a huge crowd. We got to spend the day together, decluttered and made a little cash.

    I hate shopping and crowds so no amount of money saved would get me in a store on that Friday.

  59. I will sleep in (after cooking the entire Thanksgiving meal for my family) eat leftovers for breakfast, and go walk at the local river park. I don’t shop for Christmas. I provide utility money/or mortgage payment for my grown kids in December. That is my gift, mail a check. Simple. Ditto for birthdays.

  60. I love these suggestions, especially the sock snowball fight. We stopped Black Friday shopping years ago, too stressful! We choose to cut down our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and start decorating.

  61. Hmm, no one’s mentioned flying…T’giving day, July 4, and Dec. 25 are all great days for lower airfares and sometimes, no one’s in the middle seat. I’ll be zooming over the continental US on 11/29.

  62. We ate pie for breakfast, split wood, and visited our elderly neighbors for a spirited game of dodge ball in the cow pasture. I imagine you would approve of all of these things! Happy and grateful for all the wonderful advice and common sense regularly and generously provided here. Peace!

  63. Hi! I love your idea of making Black Friday an extension of Thanksgiving! I’ve never participated in “Black Friday”, and have no desire to do so, either! I think it’s totally un-American to throw away a wonderful holiday like Thanksgiving in favor of greedy shopping binges that seem to bring out the worst in a lot of people.

    This year my birthday fell on Black Friday, so I really didn’t want turkey leftovers–I wanted my birthday to be a special, stand alone celebration. However, with all the madness out there, the usual places I would like go for my special day were guaranteed to be wild and crowded. Promising myself a fancy evening out in December instead, I went to the local library, which has a fireplace in the magazine reading area upstairs. I was able relax with the latest magazines and a book, all warm and cozy like with a hot cup of tea and a square of premium dark chocolate. It was the best! Since there were many beautiful and festive Christmas lights and Christmas trees in the park next to the library, my husband and I took some time to take some selfies against what turned out to be a really pretty backdrop for us. Later we had dinner at home and a lovely cake I made and decorated myself. The whole day cost less than ten dollars, due treating ourselves to the coffee shop in the library…yet it was still a great birthday!

    Next year since my birthday will be like a week after the holiday, I will prepare a bit better for extending the Thanksgiving feast through Black Friday by making extra pies and planning some fun, simple activities.

  64. We (meaning my boys and my nieces) love to play games during family get togethers. As the kiddos are now getting older…almost all teenagers…we are upping our “game”. This year we played a new to us game and everyone loved it. My nieces have asked me to bring it over in a few weeks when we get together again. Each round went on for over an hour. My sister even set a time limit on our last round Friday.

    However, the favorite of the weekend was our version of Awkward Family Photos. My sister purchased it for my youngest a couple of years ago. After a get together in October, I pulled out our old family photos and created a version with us in it. The kids LOVED it, my sister tolerated it, and they’ve asked for additions in our next round.

  65. Thank you so much for posting this. Thanksgiving in Canada is in October, but we’ve still adopted the American tradition of “Black Friday” at the end of November. I’ve been so holding my tongue all weekend as family and friends (and radio ads and Facebook posts…) enthusiastically tell me about all of the “Black Friday savings”. A good friend of mine told me she spent over $1000 on clothes this weekend. At the start of this article, you eloquently articulate my exact misgivings on this whole event. Overall I feel that it promotes overconsumption which is not good for our wallets or our planet.

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