Black Friday OR Buy Nothing Day?

Teresa Carey Words 12 Comments

Fifteen years ago I celebrated Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa’s house with Aunt BK, Mom, Dad, Alicia, Marissa, Nick, Tony, Angie, Uncle Denny, Karen, Mike, Aunt Fay, John Michael, Shane, Richard, Linda, Katie, David, Laure, Jeff, and often many others. The Schirripa family is a loud talking, game playing, song singing, laughing, and loving group. Family gathering were always full of good cheer and good times.

I would sleep in the attic of Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and after a long lie in bed I would wander downstairs, sit down in the living room, and enjoy the baton twirlers, Radio City Rockettes, and marching bands of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. One by one, people would arrive bringing desserts and yummy food. The cheesy potatoes were always a favorite, and each year it seemed as though more and more people brought cheesy potatoes. At dinner time, a prayer was read and the adults squeezed themselves around the table in the dining room, while the kids sat in the basement. I was still eating in the basement, even in my 20s. Nick always wondered when he would be promoted to the adult table, as he was the oldest, but we preferred him to eat with us anyway. After dinner the men would enjoy the football game in the basement, the women would stay in the living room, and the kids would play a game of Ollie Ollie Over in the backyard.

The following day, me, my sisters, mom, and Grandma all went shopping.

“…consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption…. ”
E.F. Schumacher from “Small is Beautiful”

Now, more than a decade later, things have changed. Grandkids have their own kids, sisters have moved far away, cousins are married and have two families, and Grandma, the light of the party, has passed. Its been years since we had a Thanksgiving like this, yet I still look forward to it, expecting it to always be the same.

And other traditions change too. Today, the day after Thanksgiving, the stores are mobbed with customers, aggressive buyers pepper spray each other, and people have even been trampled to death by enthusiastic shoppers. Today is called Black Friday, but it is also called Buy Nothing Day.

Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against over-consumption.

Today I walked through Emily Dickinson’s home and learned about her poetry. Now I’m spending the afternoon painting ornaments with Ben’s niece. Later we will watch “The Neverending Story” while finishing off the pumpkin pie.

How are you celebrating Black Friday?

How are you celebrating Buy Nothing Day?

Leave a comment below to share your ideas of creative ways we can celebrate the holidays without over-consuming. Thanks for sharing!






Comments 12

  1. Paul

    We spent Buy Nothing Day covering our boat on a beautiful sunny day day up here on Lake Ontario. The lake had a nice light blue tint to the water, and even the ducks and geese seemed to be just sitting around enjoying the view. Noticeably absent were people. Days like these up in this part of the country are rare for November, but not too many people were around to enjoy it. We assumed people were all out shopping, and looking for bargains. Either that, or they were too stuffed to move 🙂
    We took a quiet route home along the lake to avoid all the plazas and malls, while maintaining the view of the blue water. Was a good day.

  2. Alicia

    I too remember those days T, and miss them very much!!!!! Times may change but our hearts will always stay the same when it comes to family. I will never forget those times in our lives and will always hold them close in my heart. I did do some shopping on Black Friday. Unfortunately, that is the best day to save on Christmas gifts for my girls, and when you don’t have much money to begin with you have to do what you can. Aside from the little bit of shopping I did, I enjoyed a full day with Mom, Dad, Gramps, Uncle Denny, Aunt Angie, Jason and my baby girl Tessa; playing games, watching football, and of course, lots of laughs. We are really looking forward to all of that with you when you are home for Christmas. Love and miss you so much!

    1. Post

      Thanks, Tom. Unless its noted, I write all my posts. So, I wrote the second paragraph, but its my family that wrote the story!

  3. Pere Noel

    i usually never feast or do anything special for tanksgiving nor for black friday . i did’nt know it was also buy nothing day. i buy when i need to regardless of price . i dont value money i value “values” . i consume goods mostly because i need them . rarelly ill buy a “treats” some gadget or something .

    usually why i buy “treats” i’ll buy something to learn of a new hobby . i am still searching myself in that regard somehow at 34 as i dont really know what i like or dislike .

    i remember my grand-mother and grand father would invite her sons ( she didn’t have any daugthers) every two sundays or something we would play cards and games and generally enjoy familly . now i barely see my brothers once a month and as for the rest of the familly its barely once a year .

    i miss cristmas that where not about gifts ,and with actual snow ! i guess its a question on perception. i also remember newyears eve where the whole familly and related familly where there ( about 50 to 100 ppl , i was young but the rented location was full ! )

  4. Caleb

    I am not one for gifts, giving or receiving. Time spent, help given or received and words over the phone to far away family are the gifts I treasure.
    Growing up my family went would travel to stay for a few days and spend thanks giving with my grandparents. My grandparents would buy land then build a house, usually out in the country. My Grandpa 22 years retired LA Fire Department know how to cook, and he would cook up feast. Black Friday was never a term I was familiar with. Only one thing was ever for sure about “Black Friday”, and that was Left Overs 🙂

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