Don’t Shop on Black Friday. Really.

Oh my gosh, you guys, I hate shopping. I can’t relate to people who are inspired by the thrill of a bargain, the people who set their alarms to go shopping. It’s just not my cup of tea. But I understand the desire to check stuff off the holiday To Do list. I’m sure that if I ran out and bought two-thirds of my list in a single day, I would feel like a superstar. So in that way, I understand the temptation.

But seriously, let me beg you just not to go shopping at some big ol’ store on Friday. They’ve been creeping the opening times earlier and earlier, and now WalMart and Target and other folks are trying to intrude on our Thanksgiving? Um, no. That is family time. And as a rap on the knuckles for trying to force us into a crazy-ass frenzy that will continue until, oh, about 11:45 pm on Christmas Eve (along with ruining Thanksgiving for their employees), I think that we should snatch Black Friday back, too. What if we used Black Friday as a time to chill out with the family? Digest our food, hang around, enjoy the day, appreciate this brief-but-lovely intermission between one big holiday and another holiday season?

This is easy for me. We traditionally go to a huge Thanksgiving dinner with extended family, then spend Friday with a slightly-less-huge gathering of my siblings. But you could just as easily enjoy your little nuclear family. Or even get together with close family friends and dish about the latest family drama to each other.

Anyway, I wrote up a little article over at KidsOutAndAbout to share with people at several locations, but here’s basically the same thing with some Capital District-specific information & links, and a couple of pictures from the archives.

Go Outside

We could all use a little activity, and we’re heading into winter. Take a pause from the rush and embrace the weather as it is now, with your family as it is today.

  • Go for a hike–here’s a list of Capital District family-friendly hikes
  • Play a game of touch football or soccer
  • Rake your neighbor’s leaves. Or possibly your own.
  • Go skiing!  Jiminy Peak is already open, and Belleayre, Bromley, & Gore are planning to open Thanksgiving weekend! Here’s a list of ski places within driving distance Update: the bad news is that Belleayre is now reporting that their opening is going to be delayed. Stay tuned on that one. The good news is that the Empire State Plaza Ice Skating Rink opening has been moved earlier, to Black Friday. So now you can skate for free! Yay!

Putter & Snuggle

Recover from the cooking and the traveling and fortify yourself for the busy weeks ahead by unplugging from the devices and hunkering down for some mellow, cozy family time.

Get Active Indoors

You’ve got to work off all that food, but it’s too cold outside for you? Try something new–or an old favorite–with the whole family.

Prepare for the Season

I get it, I get it–the To Do list. But you can do something fun at least, right? Something that you can all do as a family? That’s the spirit!

All Right—If You Must Shop

Consider alternative gifts beyond what you’ll find in tv ads or behind the automatic doors of the national retail chains.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


  1. June

    I never shop on black friday. We always chill with out of town family and enjoy the long weekend. I get good enough bargains to satisfy my not-very-strong-shopping-urges on Cyber Monday. The last time I went on black Friday, I couldn’t even find my car and I thought it had been stolen. the not very happy policeman knew, I think, it was most likely there and wouldn’t even give me a ride in the below 20 chill to look for it before he would report it stolen. I, um, found it, much to my chagrin, reinforcing my hatred of frenzied, crowd-fighting shopping.

  2. Claire

    I’m so with you on the shopping, Katie! I detest shopping under the best of circumstances, and going to a crowded store on Black Friday would put me right over the edge. I have been feebly attempting to increase my couponing skills over the past year, and I will say that I do get a thrill on the rare occasion when I manage to finagle a good deal (like I did this past Sunday at CVS). But that very rare thrill doesn’t come close to compensating for all the hassles of trying to find the best deals.

  3. @June, I have no sense of direction, so I frequently lose my car and/or get lost in the mall, so I feel you.
    @Claire, I’m terrible with coupons, although I have this weird “Shopping Savant” thing where, say I’ll need curtains and I go to buy curtains for the first time in 7 years. And then it’s the annual curtain sale. Also, I do love I always say that I don’t like shopping, although I do like to acquire goods.
    @Erin T., I was seeing posts like that on FB, too, which is part of what inspired the post. I try to play things even-handed, just so everyone feels welcome, but I love comments from all sides, so thank you!

  4. Sarah

    I have always gone shopping on black Friday. We have always had a very strict budget and we would plan on shopping for the best possible deals. This is the first year I refuse to go. The fact that stores are opening on Thanksgiving, a time for family is a shame and I refuse to take part!

  5. @Sarah, wow, that’s so interesting to hear! Really, I feel like most of the people grumbling about Black Friday don’t usually shop, anyway, but if the tried-and-true shoppers don’t participate, that will make an impact for sure.

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