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5 Black Friday Alternatives That Are Better Than Shopping

Photograph by Twenty20

If you're a bargain shopper and love to hunt for the best sales, Black Friday might just be the highlight of your shopping year. It is, without a doubt, the best time to score Christmas gifts at a discount. However, many people note the irony of Black Friday in that we just spent Thanksgiving Day being grateful for all that we have, and then 24 hours later we fight the crowds to buy more.

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I know families for whom Black Friday shopping is a cherished family tradition. More power to them. But as for me, I've never been that into shopping to start with. Add in frenzied crowds and limited supplies and I'm beyond turned off. Give me online shopping any day over that business. If, like me, you would prefer not to participate in that is Black Friday shopping and would rather start up new day-after-Thanksgiving traditions, we've rounded up some alternatives that may help you spend your day focused on what might be more meaningful things.

Go Outdoors

Several park around the country have announced that they will be offering free admission on Black Friday. So far, all Minnesota, California and Missouri's parks will be fee-free on Friday, November 27th, as well as Boston's World's End park. So, as the MInnestoa State Parks' announcement read, "With free park entry all day, you have no excuse not to get out there and walk off your turkey dinner!"

Deck the halls

In my house growing up, the day after Thanksgiving was reserved for Christmas decorating. Early in the day, we would venture to a Christmas tree farm, select the perfect tree for our home (after much deliberation), buy one ornament each (after even more deliberation) and spend the rest of the day decorating the tree and eating hors d'oeuvres. The tree and ornament would be our only purchases that day, and it was a really special way to kick off the Christmas season—deliberate and contemplative.

Use Black Friday to clear out unwanted items like old toys and clothes that no longer fit. That way, when you bring home your Christmas gifts, you'll have some place to put them.


A natural extension of your Thanksgiving celebration would be to spend the following day giving to others. Find a local food pantry or charitable organization that could use some help (hint: they all do). As the weather grows colder, the need for volunteers and donations becomes even more dire. Volunteering as a family could very well become a cherished bonding experience for your family.

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Make room

During the holiday season, your home will likely be filled with more people, things and activities than usual. Use Black Friday to clear out unwanted items like old toys and clothes that no longer fit. That way, when you bring home your Christmas gifts, you'll have some place to put them. An uncluttered space creates a welcoming and relaxing environment for all the celebrating to come.

Get crafty

Another super fun idea is to spend the day creating holiday crafts with your family. Assemble a festive wreath for your door from items that you gather on a nature walk. Create paper and popcorn chains that will be ready for your tree when you bring it home. Bake cookies and crochet and scrapbook. Whatever you do, get creative!

However you choose to spend your Black Friday, just be sure you enjoy it. And if you'll get the most joy from hunting down the best sales, then by all means, shop your heart out!

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