Black Friday is one of those holidays we wish would go away. Ok, maybe we’re being drama queens over here. But it’s hard to reconcile traditional Black Friday with living a sustainable life: it’s a holiday predicated on consumption, often consumption of cheap, foreign-made products. While we love buying things (who doesn’t?), we also don’t think buying things should be the be-all-end-all point of living. We’re in the business of making sustainable products, that you buy once and enjoy for a lifetime (we hope).
It’s also worth noting that Black Friday has its origins in some pretty shady sh*t and we’re not cool with any of it. If you’d like to read the sordid tale, be our guest…kinda unappetizing, isn’t it?
And while, yes, we’ve certainly made use of a Black Friday deal or two, it’s hard to reconcile with when we know that our consumptive habits are not helping this planet. And, yes, this is also a hard thing to talk about when the very perpetrators of Black Friday are raking in the dough with no signs of stopping anytime soon.
We are here to find a better way.
What’s the scoop with Black Friday?
Black Friday in the modern world, is all about buying things, usually for a deal. For many, it’s an opportunity to tick off multiple holiday gifts all while saving some money.
Traditionally occurring on the Friday following American Thanksgiving, it, like many other holidays, has succumbed to holiday creep. You’ve no doubt seen Black Friday deals in local newspapers in October (will the creep never end?). While this could be nice (if you’re into deal-hunting) it also begs the question: if everything is always a deal, does the deal have any actual meaning? But we digress…
These days, it’s pretty easy to find Black Friday deals on just about any consumer product you could imagine, but there are some trends: home goods, electronics, games, and toys are often at the top of discount offerings. Interestingly, we found one source quoted as saying, “Because shoppers are often looking to buy gifts during Black Friday, luxury goods across fashion and beauty are usually on sale, as well as pricier eco-friendly products that are “coveted” gifts.”
Well gosh, we’re chuffed to be part of that category. But also, oof, why is the good stuff always lumped into the “pricier” category?
While we’d love to rail against this holiday, as it is the antithesis of our core values, we also don’t want to ostracize our readers. We understand that it’s become a viable way for many to find gifts they can afford. This also makes us kinda sad because, in a just, equitable world, we’d all have the resources we need and want, “coveted, eco-friendlier products” would be the mainstream, and we would all be able to afford them. (sigh, we can dream can’t we?)
So until our dreams are realized, we’re going to focus our efforts on helping you re-think Black Friday. Yes, deals are great, but here’s how to do it better.
Let’s turn Black Friday into something Merry and Bright
Black Friday doesn’t have to be a bummer. We’ve been encouraged by the growing support of local businesses, as our communities realize how valuable they are to a robust, local economy.
For all the terrible things COVID brought with it, it also threw us a few gems, too. One highlight was how communities rallied around supporting local businesses, particularly through the holidays when many makers needed their customers the most.
- We started waking up to the fact that maybe the holidays weren’t about blind consumption.
- We figured out that time spent with loved ones was a better use of our time than waiting in endless lineups for bargain deals.
- We found ways to invest in sustainable gift alternatives, that carried more meaning behind them than the hottest toy of the century.
Let’s keep that momentum going this year!
Three ways to turn Black Friday on its head
Below are three easy, breezy ways to turn a kinda-dark “holiday” into something bright, without forgoing deals!
Support local biz (you knew we were going to say that, didn’t you?)
We’re biased here because a) we are a small business but more important because b) we are among an incredible network of small, local businesses and we want to support them. A rising tide lifts all boats, right? Supporting a small biz could be as simple as buying their products and that will always be appreciated. However, the beautiful thing about supporting small businesses is that it doesn’t have to be all about money.
We’re still in a time when sustainable, “eco-friendlier products” can seem more expensive than something similar you’d find at a big-box store. So if money is tight, but you’d still love to support local, we got you.
Have a friend who’s looking for something different for her mom this holiday season? Recommend your favourite small businesses to her! If you’re not yet ready to commit to a purchase from a business but you’d like to stay tuned to their sales, consider signing up for their newsletters.
Want to tell the world (or, your Instagram following, same-same) about the incredible new spoon-maker you just discovered? Share a post or story about it. Maybe you know the business owner and you’d love to volunteer your time with them. Offer to help them put together some orders, or ask how you can be of service.
Did you end up buying something as a gift and received a rave review about it? Pop that review into Google and give that biz a boost.
There are so, so many ways to show your support for the small businesses in your community and they are all super impactful.
Shop the OG deals: buy secondhand
We’ve mentioned this before and we’ll mention it again! Shopping secondhand is such a fun way to find unique gifts, often for a bargain price: from consignment to thrift to garage sales, pop-up vintage shops and used bookstores (the list goes on!), there are more and more venues popping up for finding gently used items. No new resources had to be mined, melted, or cut down, either. We’re here for all of it!
Shop your own home
Another way you might say this is: regifting (but in a good way). We’re not talking about regifting something you received and don’t want. We’re talking about shopping in your casa. Let’s break it down: right now, for example, you probably own a stack of books that you read once (or not at all, looking at you, TBR pile!). Why not consider regifting one to a friend who might appreciate it? Similarly, you might have some awesome housewares, plants, or other doo-dads kicking around that are nice, but not working for your space. Re-gift your own (nice) stuff to friends and family, or donate to a local charity that will find a good home for them. Just don’t re-gift old socks or something weird like that. 😉
Black Friday tells us that we need to consume in a somewhat specific way. We’re here to say that it’s OK to break the mould and in fact, that’s what the world needs. More mould-breakers. So this year, if you can, consider injecting some Merry and Bright into your Black Friday routine.
What other ways have you found to opt out of Black Friday or re-think it entirely?