160 million people are hitting Black Friday sales today, fighting their way through crowds and waiting in long checkout lines to spend an expected $60 billion on items that will likely be forgotten by next Christmas. This frenzy of consumerism may provide a temporary jolt to the economy, but unfortunately, it reinforces the notion that what we buy is disposable and must soon be replaced with something new. Here are three ways you can enjoy a greener holiday shopping season without taking part in the waste-producing mall wars.
Buy Nothing Day
Each year, thousands of people take part in ‘Buy Nothing Day’, an international day of protest against consumerism, taking place on the day after Thanksgiving. Aside from simply choosing not to spend money on Black Friday, activists may cut up their credit cards, hod sit-ins, engage in public protests or spend time outdoors. This year, it has been renamed ‘Occupy X-mas’ in honor of the Occupy movement.
Small Business Saturday
Instead of pouring your money into big box retailers, you could support small local businesses, allowing your shopping dollars to stay within (and ostensibly benefit) your community. It may be a bit spurious that Small Business Saturday is sponsored by American Express, but the idea is a good one: between Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving), do your holiday shopping at locally-owned small businesses that really need this support to keep running.
Thousands of artists and craftspeople hawk incredibly unique and beautiful (okay, sometimes not so beautiful) handmade goods on the online marketplace Etsy.com. When you make a purchase on Etsy, you’re buying (in most cases) directly from the producer of the goods.