We’ve all just celebrated a beautiful day, a day set aside to give thanks and be grateful for all the blessings we have. For the past 25 or so years, using some logic that has always escaped me, the day AFTER Thanksgiving has become a day for a mad (and sometimes literally deadly) scramble to acquire more things, and to get up at the crack of dawn, leaving home and family behind in order to do so.
We’ve written about that phenomenon before here and here. This year I thought I would offer 10 alternative ideas for things you can do on Black Friday, if you are one of the increasing number of people who have decided to “just say no” to all that.
1. Take out some of the board games (or puzzles, or DVDs) that you gave or received as gifts last year and play them!
2. Get out the photo albums (or the unsorted boxes of photos) and work on labeling, sorting, dividing, getting rid of the bad ones, etc. Tell each other the stories that go along with the pictures as you work together on this task. (Maybe even record some of those stories?)
3. Begin making homemade gifts. (Think broadly: baked goods, poems, songs, stories all make wonderful gifts.) Or make lists of gifts you may want to order on CyberMonday (December 1 this year).
4. Visit someone who is ill, or in need of company.
5. Make music! Sing!
6. Bake cookies.
7. Read aloud, by the fireplace if you have one. A few suggestions: “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. Or “Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem” by Maya Angelou. Or “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss.
8. Take a walk, or a hike together. Or ride bikes, or ski!
9. Clear some space in your home for the holiday decorations and gifts to come.
10. Make a bundle of clothing, toys, books or other items to donate to those in need. Or make and freeze a meal to deliver to a homeless shelter next month.
I think I can almost guarantee that doing any one of these things–and probably many more you can think of–will be a much better way to keep the beautiful glow of gratitude and thanksgiving alive a little bit longer. And a better way to enter the holiday season ahead.
Janet Hulstrand is a writer/editor, writing coach, travel blogger, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home.