Why I'm Skipping Black Friday This Year

Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday.

That's one heck of a gratitude sandwich if you ask me.

Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of gratitude and gathering with family and friends. And sadly, that feeling of gratitude and being grateful for what we already have, often disappears within 24 hours.

We never used to have Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Canada. With the borderless internet and cross-border shopping, it made sense for Canadian retailers to get on board with the holiday madness. And I'll admit that I've taken advantage of a few Black Friday sales before.

What bothers me the most is that small businesses feel like they have to get in on the Black Friday game in order to stay competitive. Being a business owner myself and having a lot of friends who are also small business owners, I know that their margins are already quite slim. Which means that when they have a Black Friday special, they might not be making much of a profit at all. 

Sunrise and tree and crescent moon

Here are ways that we can support each other and stay in an attitude of gratitude over the next few days:

1. Support local businesses when possible. I love a deal just as much as the next person, but it's worth seeing the smile on your local business owner's face when you've chosen to buy from their shop.

2. Make time for gratitude every day, not just on Thanksgiving. It's a great day to start a new habit! Choosing to give thanks when you wake up is my favorite way to make gratitude a habit.

3. If you're participating in shopping outside of the home on Black Friday, make a list ahead of time. Buy what you've planned to and don't get sucked into the sale and discount signs. Just because something is on sale doesn't mean we have to buy it.

4. Spread kindness and gratitude. Hold the door open for a stranger. Let someone in front of you at the checkout. Thank all the salespeople you see while you'll out. They are working so that we can shop! Look people in the eye when making a purchase.

5. Practice patience. When standing in line, mentally create a gratitude list. Remember that simply being alive, being able to stand and walk and having the resources to shop are all gifts that we often take for granted.

6. Set aside some of your budget for spending for Giving Tuesday. Much like gratitude, it would be great if we donated to charity every month. It is great to see that there is a chance to make a difference after all the spending on material items over the weekend. Many charities also have an option for a monthly donation as well. Why not start a new habit of donating?

7. Reduce holiday spending. We know that it's not about how many gifts there are under the tree. Yet....we continue to consume more and more. Remember Dr. Seuss' wise words:
It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas..perhaps...means a little bit more. - The Grinch

As parents, it's easy to get sucked down the 'one last gift' rabbit hole. Our kids generally don't remember much about which gifts they received. Years later it's the experiences that create rich memories. I have a beautiful memory of a doll house my parents made for me out of a bookshelf. And I remember hunting for our stockings out in the woods behind my grandparents home. One of my favorite parts of the Christmas holidays is driving around to see Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music. And that's virtually free.


To all who are celebrating, I wish you a happy, healthy and grateful Thanksgiving.

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