Light Friday: Just say “No” to Black Friday


I hate Black Friday. I could say that it’s because Black Friday is the embodiment of all that is wrong with society today. Or because big corporations are evil. Or because we shouldn’t go straight from counting our blessings on Thanksgiving to chasing luxuries the following day. But honestly? I just find Black Friday exhausting.

Getting up in the middle of the night, dealing with crowded parking lots, figuring out where that one deal I wanted was sitting in the store, finding the display empty by the time I got to it, then wandering the store for a bit looking for lesser deals, and finally standing in a ridiculous line. And don’t even get me started on how people treat each other during the frenzy.

You know what I like to do the day after Thanksgiving? Eat oatmeal in my jammies and pull out the Christmas decorations. Then eat leftovers while we decorate a tree. Then eat popcorn while we watch a movie. Theme: I really enjoy pajama pants and eating.

I was content with this plan for quite some time, but a few years ago, a group of my friends suggested getting together to make gifts on Black Friday. It was meant to be a subversive activity – a bold stand against corporate greed and pathological consumerism. But it was also a lot of fun.

Our crafters and artists created gifts that were made by hand, made in America, and made by people who were comfortable, safe, and well-fed while they worked. Our child labor practices might have been a bit suspect, but otherwise, most of our social concerns about gift-giving were alleviated.

Bringing our families together sent a great message to our kids about what is important during the holiday season – thoughtful gifts made with love, and spending time with people you enjoy. By all accounts, this event was a blast. I’m really looking forward to our Light Friday this year.

There are lots of different ways to make this work, depending on your levels of craftiness and agoraphobia. We usually invite a bunch of people, ask them to bring a project (and associated supplies) to share, and throw out a few snacks. You could also invite a friend to spend a few hours assembling spice mixes. Whatever your speed, there’s a Light Friday party plan for you.

Whether you are raising your fist to rail against The Man or just enjoying some quality time with your friends and their families, this is a great way to spend Black Friday.

Are you interested in hosting your own Light Friday party? RSVP to The Reluctant Hippie’s event on Facebook. I will post project ideas there running the gamut from crazy easy to ridiculously complex. DIY some gifts and spend time with people you like. Win-win. 

This post was originally written for the ChicagoNow blog Parenting Without a Parachute.


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