Ah, it’s that time of year again. Endless holiday displays, huge sales, ridiculous store hours, crowded parking lots, empty wallets. Sounds fun, right? I already wrote last year about how much I dislike holiday shopping and what to buy for a minimalist if you really need to gift something for a holiday (or birthday, or any other occasion). It seems that this year around, a lot more people are becoming aware of how ridiculous Black Friday is and are starting to rebel more. At least, this is what I see.
I recently received a petition to sign in my e-mail from a young man, a Target employee from Omaha, asking Target to move its Black Friday opening time from midnight to 5a.m. so thousands of retail workers could have more time with their families. Over 100,000 people have signed it — a very small number compared to the billions in the United States. Thousands more have signed other petitions asking other big-name retail stores to push their opening hours. The petitions didn’t go through but people are noticing. People are agreeing. People want to be with their families more and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. People want to do something about it.
This still hasn’t stopped many people from shopping frantically with the pressure building in the next five weeks. I have friends who went to the stores last night to wait in line for a brand-new television (or two). It makes me sad. How many of you are exhausted from staying up late to wait in line at your favorite retail stores? I’m feeling well-rested this morning and ready to continue relaxing! This is the one day of the year that I purposely avoid participating in American consumerism. I think it’s ridiculous that we think we need stuff to be happy. I think it’s stupid that we think we are saving money by buying things on sale rather than saving money by not buying at all. I think it’s sad that many of us would rather wait outside in line for hours instead of spending that time with family or friends. I think our dollars could be put towards better use.
Today, I am participating in White Friday, introduced by Francine Jay of Miss Minimalist. In short, White Friday is a day of peace and reflection; it is a day to clear the clutter, clear our schedules, clear our minds, and clear our souls.What will I do? Stay home to clean, watch holiday movies, eat leftovers, write, read, relax, and see a friend. I also decided that this year, I will be giving some things away. When I purged my possessions last spring, these were things I decided to keep; but now, I want someone else to enjoy them (I am still holding onto a few for myself). Some of my clothes will be donated, but I am giving away books, etc. This is a great day to give, whether it be your time and service or unnecessary possessions to friends or the nearest homeless shelter. There are so many people out there who can’t afford decent meals, clothing, and shelter. Why are we throwing our money away on things don’t really make us happy instead of sharing the wealth with others to create a warm community? Why are we stressing ourselves out instead of using the day to relax? What are you planning to do?