Skip Black Friday in favor of shopping you can feel good about. This year several big box chain stores have made headlines by choosing to begin Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day. These chain stores mostly carry imported goods and do little to support their local communities. Workers, often paid less than a living wage, are forced to work and forego sacred time with family.
I encourage you to enjoy Thanksgiving without thought to the “door busters” awaiting hoards of shoppers. Don’t shop on Thanksgiving, and chose not to contribute to the demand that fuels these Black Friday sales. Instead, enjoy the day sharing gratitude with friends and family and celebrating the true meaning of the holiday. Many Black Friday alternatives have surfaced, creating unified shopping experiences that use consumers’ purchasing power positively. Check out these alternatives to Black Friday sales for gift giving you can feel good about!
Handmade Monday is a new initiative started on Facebook to encourage homemade gift giving. Slated to launch the Monday before Thanksgiving, this campaign is about supporting artisans and crafters. A handmade gift is the product of the time, talent and energy of an artist creating something they love. You can shop for handmade gifts online at aftcra, a new online marketplace featuring only goods handmade in America. Etsy has long been a staple for buying handmade, but recent policy changes now allow the sale of products manufactured elsewhere, so shop with caution. The American Made Holiday Gift Guide features many handmade gift ideas that can be purchased online. You can shop locally by visiting local arts and crafts fairs.
Buy Nothing Day
Buy Nothing Day is a campaign to encourage consumers to boycott the whole concept of Black Friday. The season of gift giving has become tainted in America by this infamous day of frenzied shopping. The excitement over Black Friday can quickly turn into an ugly display of greed. By deliberately choosing to buy nothing the day after Thanksgiving, we can choose not to buy into the pressure to find the best deals. The product of AdBusters, an anti-consumerist organization famous for their spoof ads, Buy Nothing Day involves complete abstinence from spending any money for a 24 hour period. Instead, reserve this day to enjoy time with friends and family sharing feelings of gratitude. Our purchases can be used to stimulate the economy in positive ways, but surely we can designate at least one day without consumption.
Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is a growing movement to encourage shopping at small, independently owned, local businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Now in its fourth year, the day to shop small was created by American Express and has gone viral. Many small businesses offer discounts and other promotions to entice customers. In addition, American Express card holders receive a $10 credit on their account to spend at a local small business. Supporting these local shops is a reinvestment in your community, creating local jobs and giving the economy a boost. Your town’s Mom and Pop shops create a vibrant and prosperous community, and rival any shopping experience you could get at a chain or mall store. You can find local small businesses using this online map.
Cyber Monday has grown to become the biggest day for online shopping. While the fundamental concept of Cyber Monday may be questionable, the great deals you can find online feature many opportunities for scoring American made gifts. Shopping from the comfort of your home beats standing in line fighting for Black Friday sales. Shopping online is also one of the easiest ways to find gifts made in USA. For a list of links made in USA companies online check the Made in America Master List, updated regularly. The last few years I have compiled a list of tons Cyber Monday sales on Made in USA gifts. This year you will find even more deals, including exclusive promotions from the American Made Holiday Gift Guide.
Fair Tuesday is a day to celebrate gifts made ethically by global artisans and educate shoppers about conscious consumerism. When an American made product I need is not available, I rely on the fair trade certification for the security it offers in protecting human rights, labor laws and respecting the environment. Fair trade is also a great way to access the market of handcrafted goods made globally that can help empower workers living in impoverished areas. Fair Tuesday is about exploring options to purchase ethically made, sustainable gifts handcrafted around the world. You can find fair trade gifts online through Global Goods and Green America. Locally, you can find fair trade goods at shops like Ten Thousand Villages.
Giving Tuesday is about creating a call of action to establish coordinated giving, much in the way retailers coordinate Black Friday sales. Retailers, charities and organizations come together to inspire a day of giving and celebration of the American traditions of philanthropy and volunteerism. To get involved, start researching non-profits and charities you might choose to support with a donation. Find ways you can get involved with volunteering in your area to give back to your own community. Look for gifts from companies that reflect your values and give back by donating a portion of their sales to charity. Spread the word about the importance of giving back and join in the conversation on Twitter by following the hashtag #givingtuesday.
This Holiday season, feel good about shopping for gifts by choosing to participate in Black Friday Alternatives. Consider buying American made gifts, shopping locally, and giving back. There are many ways to make your Holidays more meaningful by using your consumer power. Make sure you use that power for good.
What big shopping days do you plan on participating in? Will you shop Black Friday, or choose one of these alternatives?