More and more people are turning their backs on Black Thursday and Black Friday. If your family is one of them, here are some other ways to spend your Thanksgiving weekend.
More and more people are eschewing the Black Friday (and Black Thursday) shopping binge—it’s crowded, it’s crazy, and the best deals usually occur a couple weeks before Christmas anyway, according to the Detroit Free Press.
But how to fill all those hours you’re not battling crowds? Sitting around making turkey pot pie?
Here are a few ways Catholic families might want to turn Black Friday upside down and inside out.
1. Give instead of get
U.S. consumers spend more than $50 billion dollars on Black Friday weekend. Spend part of the day shopping for charities to give some of that money to instead. You can get started at Charity Navigator.
2. Have a white elephant swap
Get together with friends and neighbors to swap your “white elephants”—all of those items sitting around your house that you don’t use anymore, but can’t bring yourself to throw away. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a neighbor who could use some of your stuff (you might find something you like, too). But the main point is to get together with friends and neighbors. You can get started at White Elephant Exchange Rules.
3. Spend the day making gifts
It’s true: Homemade gifts are just a little more special than something mass produced overseas and bought from a big box retailer. You can get started by browsing handmade gift ideas on Pinterest or at Skip to My Lou.
4. Write letters
Get a head start on your Christmas card list…or, write a few personal letters instead, Give younger kids lots of crafty paper, markers, and stickers to personalize their own letters.
5. Volunteer with a local charity
Your local food shelf or homeless shelter might just be sponsoring a volunteer event over the weekend. The kids are home from school anyway, so why not take the opportunity for a hands-on lesson in giving? Start looking for opportunities at VolunteerMatch.org.
6. Hit church
It’s the best deal in town: Swing by your local parish for daily Mass and get a cart full of grace—totally free. Traveling for turkey day? Find the nearest Mass with Masstimes.org…just enter your city or zip code!
7. “Monastery” your home
“Minimalist living” is the trendy new movement that strives to achieve a balance between monastic simplicity and the practical needs of everyday life. It’s so trendy, we’re not even going to link to it: your favorite search engine will take you to the best resources. Of course, Catholics have been preaching “minimalism” since…well, since Jesus told the parable of the rich fool who stored up extra wealth in his barns rather than giving it away in exchange for heavenly wealth. Since then, countless saints have practiced radical “minimalism” for the sake of the Kingdom of God, and countless more monks and nuns have made it a way of life. In fact, one UK blogger has written up a list of ten lessons in minimalist living that can be gleaned from the Rule of St. Benedict.
8. Give something away
After you’ve KonMari’d your home, give some of that stuff away. You can donate it to a thrift shop, sell it and give the money to charity, throw it up on Craig’s List or Facebook marketplace for free, or just leave it on the curb with a big old free sign on it. Who knows, your junk might just be someone’s best Black Friday deal ever!