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The Peace and Calm of White Friday.

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?

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8 thoughts on “The Peace and Calm of White Friday.

  1. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I stayed home all day and enjoyed every second of it. I feel like Christmas already overshadows Thanksgiving, along with Black Friday. I’m afraid it will turn into Black Week if we don’t wise up in our decision making.

    1. With the rate American culture is rushing into materialistic holidays, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned into a week-long shopping frenzy overshadowing Thanksgiving!

  2. I agree with you whole-heartedly! At a time of year when our earth and our seasons and our bodies want to rest in the quiet and the dark, our society tells us to do the opposite. I say we put more trust in the wisdom of nature than in the non-wisdom of consumerism! On that note, one thought I have had lately is taking the month of december to completely un-plug. No internet, no television, limited phone usage (necessary calls only). Have you ever done a technology fast? I’d love your thoughts. ~Melissa

    1. So good to hear from you! I’ve been wondering how you were. 🙂

      I love what you said about nature telling us to take this time of year to rest. It’s something I’ve been unconsciously trying to do (more reading, more meditation, more cooking, more sleep) and I’m being pulled in the other direction!

      Last year, I took a two-week digital sabbatical at the end of December and briefly thought about taking the whole month off this time around. However, as I’m making some changes online, it looks like the two-week fast might be more feasible. I’m not sure if I could completely cut off my telephone during the holidays, though. Have you ever done a technology fast?

  3. I honestly couldn’t agree more and our country doesn’t even do Black Friday! We don’t have Thanksgiving here and therefore no Black Friday but I have seen it talked about on lots of blogs and it amazes me that people are willing to spend hours standing in line on their holiday to buy a new tv. Whether it’s a good deal or not, that sounds crazy to me. Unfortunately we’re not immune, here Boxing Day is becoming the same. The Boxing Day sales are becoming bigger and grander every year (although not yet to the scale of Black Friday) and I hate to participate in the whole fiasco. I’d rather spend the day with family, relaxing and enjoying my day off.

    1. I’m not surprised that people outside of the US are shaking their heads at us for this ridiculousness around the holidays!

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