To buy or not to buy – That is the question. The word “black” can be a source of pride or despair. In the Great Depression it meant the economy was in crisis. For the day after Thanksgiving it has come to mean the beginning of the Christmas shopping season when retailers move from red ink to black – meaning that they start to make a profit. The “Buy Nothing Day” movement was started to counteract the extreme consumerism of the day after Thanksgiving.

So, that’s the history. What does it mean for me? For us? There was a time in our family’s life when we were so bargain conscious that this day was seen as a great time to save money. One of our kids who was old enough to drive joined the frenzy of going to an electronics store early in the morning to get a deal on a new computer. This was partly the fun of the chase but also motivated by our very modest income.

  • My socially conscious side says that we need not strive to accumulate more than we need. After all, that’s what this blog is all about – letting go of stuff. Thus I am very sympathetic to the “Buy Nothing Day” idea – at least for one day as a symbolic stance. After all, isn’t Thanksgiving weekend one of the few respites we have from consumerism? We can focus on family, food, and football, not more stuff. (OK, “stuffing” is allowed in the name of tradition.) It’s a time to play games and talk about relatives, dead and alive.
  • But, my other socially conscious side says, “Hey, merchants have to make a living, people need jobs, and this is good for the economy. Besides, if it’s on sale, I can save money and (in the best of worlds) donate that saved money to a good cause.

Well, it’s complicated, isn’t it? Does your family struggle with dilemmas like this or are you just too turkey tired to get into the Black Friday rat race? As for me and mine, we’re at the stage of life that when the family gets together we play games – cards, Settlers of Catan, or “Who can tell the best embarrassing story about another family member.” Remember when…