For many Americans, Black Friday is a day to wake up early, head to the stores, fight the crowds and spend a lot of money getting some great deals.
I am not one of those people. Sure, I like good deals. But I also like sleep. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like spending money, even when I’ve budgeted for the expense.
I may grab an online deal or two on Black Friday while I’m still in my pajamas, but for the most part, it’s just another day. I’ve found some alternatives to Black Friday shopping that bring me more joy, and most of them help me keep my budget in check, too.
Alternatives to Black Friday Shopping
If you have some time off from work and you’re looking for something to do other than shop til you drop on Black Friday, then check out this list of ideas:
Spend time with family and friends.
Sure you just spent Thanksgiving with your family. And they’re probably still around. Not all of them want to go shopping, so why not get together for a nice breakfast. Call up some friends and get together for coffee and conversation. Spend time on relationships instead of money in a store.
Fresh air does a body and soul good! Put on some warm clothes and head outdoors. Go for a walk, or if the weather allows it, go skiing or skating. The fresh air and exercise will do wonders after a heavy Thanksgiving meal.
Minnesota is offering free admission to all 75 of Minnesota state parks on Black Friday. Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks have teamed up to offer free admission to a redwoods state park on November 27, 2015. And if you have a child in fourth grade, you’ve got a year’s worth of free National Park visits! Check to see what events are going on in your community.
Decorate for the holidays.
We never decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, so one of our favorite traditions is putting up the Christmas tree on Black Friday. We decorate the house inside and out then finish the day with a holiday movie and hot chocolate. If you spend part of the day outside, you’re sure to find some inexpensive ways to decorate with nature.
Make a gift.
If you’ve got a little bit of time, why not use it to create a gift for someone? You could make a pair of mittens, create a scarf, or whip up some hot cocoa mix. Do a little knitting, woodworking, or papercrafting. Work on some inexpensive gifts for teachers and coaches. You’ll get to skip the stores and get the pleasure of knowing you gave something handmade.
Work on holiday cards.
Find a family photo (or take one today!) and make your holiday cards. Find ways to save money on holiday cards. Get the stamps before the post office gets crazy. Write a holiday newsletter or just start composing handwritten notes. Turn on a little holiday music to get you in the mood.
Get a jump on your holiday cooking and baking.
Take advantage of the time off to get a jump on your holiday cooking and baking. Plan ahead for the next holiday meal. Stash away some freezer meals to pull out when life gets busy. Cookies can be baked and frozen in advance, as well as pie crusts. The more work you do now, the less you will have to do at the peak of the holiday season. If you’re making food gifts, this is a good time to start planning and gathering up supplies.
Shop on Small Business Saturday instead.
Chances are you’ll want to do a little shopping this holiday season, so consider shopping on Small Business Saturday instead. Buy gifts from a local crafter or artisan instead of hitting a big box store. You’ll give a unique gift and support your local community at the same time.
Sometimes you just need a break. So take a nap. Work on a puzzle. Read a book. Spend some time coloring. Watch a movie. Do something that helps you relax so that you can focus on the best deals this holiday season.
Now it’s your turn: What are some things you do instead of shopping on Black Friday?