23 November 2016

8 Alternatives to Black Friday Shopping Guaranteed to Make Your Soul Happy

Corporate America, the stores, the TV and the radio have been programming you for weeks. It’s coming…

The headaches. The fighting. The crappy attitudes. The long hours stuck in the car fighting traffic to get from store to store. The violence. The financial stress and strain.

Is this how anyone really wants to enjoy the start of the holiday season? 

The final straw came for me on Black Friday a few years ago. As I watched the news that evening, the only thing I found myself thinking was how ridiculous and pathetic we’ve become as a society that we would literally stampede through a Wal-Mart, Target or Best Buy like it’s the running of the bulls in Pamplona all for a good deal. Do you really need a computer, iWhatever or camera so badly that you are willing to kill someone for it? That night on the news, it was reported that an elderly man who worked as a greeter for Wal-Mart was run over and killed by a mob of people trying to get in the store when it opened. And let us not forget about the parents who died in a California Toys R Us that same year because two shoppers decided to shoot it out over toys.

Right then and there I vowed to never be a part of Black Friday again or be forced to feel like less of a person by not being extravagant in my purchases or gift giving. I'm over it. I'm tired of corporate America's ploys and tricks of trying to convince me that the spirit of Christmas is in the price tag. I'm tired of being made to feel that I have to put myself and my family in financial limbo for others. It seems like everyone expects something regardless of an individuals’ circumstances or finances. I can't think of a single thing that I absolutely must have and if I do find something, I'll buy it myself. The only thing I truly want or need for Christmas is to be with my family; to spend time with them and enjoy their company. That’s a gift that is invaluable to me. You can't put a price tag on those kinds of memories.

I know we all celebrate the holidays in our own ways and I by no means take anything away from those who choose to get involved in Black Friday. I’m not judging and I honestly believe to each their own - it’s just not something for me. I think what bothers me the most about Black Friday is how the meaning of the holiday spirit gets totally and utterly lost. It's really about gaining some perspective.

Having said this, I’ve come up with a list of 8 things to do in place of Black Friday shopping when thinking about how you want to spend your Thanksgiving holiday: 

1.        Instead of spending money in a store, make a donation to a charity whether it be online or in person.

2.       Volunteer your time to an organization. Get your kids involved, too!

3.       Go through your clothes and old items and donate them to a shelter. There are so many children and families in need right now.

4.       Visit a rest home and give your time and attention to someone who no longer has a family to share the holidays with.

5.       Make your own gifts and get your kids involved in the fun too. This is what I do and it brings the spirit of Christmas alive so much more than shopping in any store, plus I have ZERO debt when it’s all said and done. Need some ideas to get you going? This blog post detailing how I made all my Christmas gifts for my family one year for only $17 should do the trick! 

6.       Bake or cook for a family or elderly couple/person that isn’t able to do it themselves.

7.       Donate a gift basket to your local animal shelter. 

8.       Donate your spare change lying around in your car console to the Salvation Army bucket.

There are so many opportunities to share in the true spirit of the holiday season that don’t involve getting caught up in the Black Friday madness.   

I know my thoughts are not of popular opinion but I’m okay with that because they are just that – my thoughts, my opinions. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder how much brighter our world would be if we backed off the materialism just a little bit…just for one day…and opted for peace instead.

What other ideas can you add to this list? 
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

No comments:

Post a Comment