Your Black Friday Survival Guide

Americans are looking to spend almost a grand each on gifts this season. According to a poll from the National Retail Federation, people are loosening their wallets this year to the tune of $935.58 each, a number so high it is second only to last year’s spending expectations.

The survey says November is the biggest month to start shopping, and people say they’re most likely to shop in department stores, discount stores, and online.

Black Friday, of course, is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and it seems like every year it gets bigger with more sales, longer lines, and sometimes even starting on Thanksgiving Day.

We have a few tips for you on how to survive this year’s Black Friday, without getting up early or fighting the crowds at the mall.

  1. Don’t go shopping. If you’re celebrating Christmas as your major gift-giving event, you still have 30 days from the Friday after Thanksgiving until the holiday. Hanukah celebrators have 29 days in between Friday and the first night of celebration. Solstice: 26 days. New Year’s Eve: 36. Basically, you have plenty of time to get what you need without contributing to the consumerist culture at its worst, Black Friday.
  2. Do go for a walk. Whether it’s around the block or up a mountain, enjoy nature instead of spending time in traffic or at the mall. The REI Co-op took up this cause with their #OptOutside movement on Black Friday, which starts with all of its locations being closed. REI will run shuttles from Boston, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle and Washington, D.C. to local national parks. If you’re not in one of those areas, they also have a park finder tool.
  3. Do spend time with people you love. If you’ve traveled to spend time with family or friends for your Thanksgiving meal, spend some more time with them on Friday when they (or you) are less stressed from cooking and cleaning.
  4. Do plan to volunteer for the holidays. This is a great season for giving to those less fortunate than yourself. If you have time all at once or an hour here and there, so many organizations would be happy to have you. VolunteerMatch will help you find a position that aligns with your interests and values. Call your local shelter or food bank to see what you can do during holiday breaks. Blood banks report fewer donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than in the rest of the year, which is a quick way for those who can donate to give back.
  5. Do play rock-paper-scissors for that last slice of pie. If all you do is sit around and eat leftovers on Friday, we won’t judge. We might judge if you like pumpkin more than apple, though.

What’s your favorite way to spend Black Friday? Please share with us in comments field below, and if you have friends or family stressing out about Black Friday, share this blog with them.

Happy long weekend!

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