5 Alternatives to Shopping Black Friday Sales
Black Friday sales are everywhere—and so is the waste that comes with them. Try these Black Friday alternatives to the seasonal shopping holiday.
Ah, the holiday season, where mindful gratitude and rampant consumerism go toe-to-toe. Along with Thanksgiving—which comes with its own issues, food waste among them—November heralds the arrival of the most manic shopping day of the year: Black Friday. Rather than indulging in the pressure to get the best deal on items you likely don't actually need, why not ditch the chaos and opt for some Black Friday alternatives?
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day for most retailers, especially giants like Walmart and Target. The celebration of spending began in the early 1960s as a means of getting retailers out of the "red" and in the "black," aka boosting profits ahead of the holiday rush.
According to the National Retail Foundation, 2022 saw nearly 200 million Americans shopping during the period from Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Considering the shopping bags, shipping emissions, and returns, as well as the electronic (only 29% is recycled) and textile waste (11.3 million tons in 2018), celebrating shopping feels decidedly meh. The practice not only encourages materialistic, more-is-more ideals—it also takes time (and focus) away from time spent with loved ones.
Instead of partaking, save some money (and the planet) by limiting your shopping to sustainable sources, enjoying your time, and building new traditions this year.
Here, five Black Friday alternatives you should know about this year.
5 Black Friday Alternatives to Try in 2023
1. Throw a Leftover Potluck
The most important facet of the holidays is spending time with the people you care the most about. What better way to carry on the fun than to continue the feast?
Invite friends, neighbors, and family, and encourage everyone to bring some leftovers. This will help reduce food waste—and offers an opportunity to sample everyone’s family recipes.
2. Visit a National Park
Rather than staying home feeling sluggish or exhausting yourself in crowds of people, take the day to enjoy some peace, hear the birds sing, and try a new trail. Most national parks are open during the holidays and provide a great place for your family to get some quiet time during this hectic time of year.
Plus, walking is good for you—particularly post-leftovers.
3. Host a Swap
Love a steal? There's no cheaper way to score new things than by hosting a swap. This can take the form of a plant swap, clothing swap, or even a DIY/crafting swap. Rather than adding more waste to the mix, comb through your belongings and share items that are no longer of use to you with your community.
A chance to freshen up your home and wardrobe while lightening your load? Sounds like a celebration to us.
4. Check Out Some Holiday Displays
'Tis the season! Whether in your local downtown area or houses throughout your neighborhood, the holiday decorations are up—and oh-so twinkly. Bundle up and take a stroll.
Yes, decorations inevitably fall into the category of waste, but we like to think that our communities are indulging in some DIY, reusing adornments each year, and being sparing with their electricity. And even if your viewing inevitably guides you toward a shopping space, at least it will be local.
5. Shop Sustainably
If you depend on Black Friday's deals for your holiday shopping, direct your dollar to local boutiques, thrift shops, antique and vintage stores, and sustainable brands. You can find unique, individualized gifts that help repurpose lost treasures in our consumer-heavy world.
With eco-minded offerings like those at Brightly and other like-minded online shops, gift-giving becomes a chance to swap wasteful products for those that keep the planet in mind.
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