This year, it has a stronger environmental theme.
Some say Black Friday is dead, killed by online shopping. Last year, in-store sales were down 4.5 percent, while online sales were up 16.9 percent. A lot of stores that used to open on Thanksgiving to cash in have stayed closed this year. Business Insider notes that "retailers had increasingly chosen to open stores during the national holiday in recent years, but the tide seems to be turning as the United States' biggest shopping day loses significance."Buy Nothing Day people are still at it, and this year they are striking an environmental theme:
This year, we’re not getting sucked into their evil, doomsday ritual! When the existential threat of climate change breathes down our necks, and EXTINCTION REBELLIONS break out everywhere, millions of us around the world will opt out of Black Friday shopping and go on a 24 hour consumer fast instead!
I personally have always had a bit of trouble with Buy Nothing Day, given that my kids all work in shops that depend on people buying something. But the Buy Nothing people have them covered this year:
And if you do buy a present then, go local, go indie . . . don’t get sucked into the corpo-consumerist doomsday machine!
Years ago, TreeHugger Emeritus Warren had another, more nuanced idea that resonates today, especially with the environmental theme:
Buy Nothing Day is about rampant consumption of over packaged, blister wrapped rubbish. We should not be one dimensional about this. Which is better for the planet?
A. for one day nobody buys anything (next day they hop in the car and head off to the mall as normal) or
B. Everybody buys a bicycle on that day.
Katherine is not a fan, but also saw a middle ground:
I don’t like what Black Friday does to people, when corporate greed brings out the worst of human behavior, nor do I support the idea of buying unnecessary stuff just because it’s cheap. I think that we as a society need to move toward buying less and higher quality items, and so much about Black Friday challenges that philosophy.
TreeHugger Emeritus Ruben, who is from Vancouver where Buy Nothing Day was invented, liked it a lot. And even though TreeHugger used to show a lot of green and sustainable products, he noted:
Buy Nothing Day is a holiday dear to my heart. Proud as I am to be associated with TreeHugger, I know that ecological products can only do so much. If we really want to change the world, we need to find a truly different way of living.
We must consume much, much less.
But the TreeHugger consensus is probably that we should all buy less and buy better, support our local makers and vendors, perhaps splurge in experiences instead of stuff. And at sister site MNN, I note that I am a big fan of Small Business Saturday.
So take Melissa's advice with 10 alternatives to the soul-suck of shopping on Black Friday or plan a craft day, cookie exchange or clothing swap instead. If you have kids, Katherine has some tips. On sister site MNN, I make a pitch for waiting until tomorrow and shopping on Small Business Saturday. And enjoy Buy Nothing Day!