10 Things to Do Instead of Shopping on Black Friday

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on November 23, 2017.

Sure, you can spend the day after Thanksgiving fighting other frenzied shoppers over bargain-priced store items or staring relentlessly at your device screen, waiting for the best online deals to appear.

Just be aware that Black Friday has “lost its significance,” according to Steven J. Barr, consumer markets leader for the professional services company PwC.

Although consumers are spending more money, Black Friday sales have dropped 32 percent from 2011. “Retailers have conditioned the consumer to believe everything’s on sale every day,” Barr told the Washington Post, “which means the deals on Black Friday are not significantly different from any other time.”

So why not do something less materialistic and more rewarding on Black Friday? Here are some suggestions.

1. Volunteer Your Time

Whether it’s helping out at a local soup kitchen, visiting seniors in a nursing home or interacting with lonely cats and dogs at an animal shelter, volunteering a few hours of your time is a win-win. You’ll feel good for helping others and brightening their day  — an added bonus, according to a 2011 study, is that volunteers live longer – and they’ll be thankful that you shared some quality time.

2. Donate to a Worthy Cause

Instead of buying more stuff you or people on your holiday gift list probably don’t need, make a cash donation to your favorite charity in their honor. Before you do, check out these important tips to make sure the nonprofit is legit and the money is actually going to the cause, not the administrators.

3. Visit a National Park

If there’s a national or state park not too far away from you – especially one that is in danger of disappearing — now is the opportune time to visit, since the Trump administration isn’t too concerned about protecting these national treasures.

4. Take a Walk Around Your City

Work off some of those Thanksgiving calories and get to know your community by taking a long walk. You’ll probably notice interesting things on foot that you’ve missed driving by them in your car, and you may meet some wonderful community members along the way.

5. Binge-Watch Inspiring Documentaries

Be inspired and educated by an interesting documentary that’s airing on TV or via your cable provider’s on-demand service. If you have Netflix and care about animal welfare, watch any or all of these recommended documentaries.

6. See a Movie in an Independent Theater

Avoid sold-out screenings of blockbuster movies based on comic book characters and instead support independent films — and non-chain movie theaters — by seeing one in an independently owned theater near you.

7. Read a Good Book

This is a good day to finally read that book that’s been gathering dust on your shelf. When you’re done, donate it — and other books you’ve read — to your local library.

8. Visit a Museum

Immerse yourself in culture at a nearby history, art or science museum. If you simply can’t refrain from shopping, the gift stores are usually a good source for unique holiday presents.

9. Write Letters to Friends and Family

When’s the last time you got a handwritten letter in the mail? As an alternative to those same old, same old holiday cards, write letters to your long-distance friends and family members, catching them up on what’s going on in your life.

10. Meditate

With the busy holiday season right around the corner, take some time to relax and meditate. Among the many scientifically proven benefits are increased immune function and positive emotions, decreased pain and depression — and, so helpful this time of year, decreased stress and anxiety.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


Georgina Elizab M
Georgina Elizab M2 months ago


Caitlin L
Caitlin L2 months ago

thank you

Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Danuta W
Danuta W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Jaime J
Jaime J3 months ago

Thank you!!

Annabel B
Annabel Bedini3 months ago

The very fact that everyone seems to think they have to do something special on Black Friday looks to me like brain washing. This is purely a commercial venture invented to get people to spend money. It has no roots in tradition or meaningful customs, just undiluted consumerism. And yet people seems to follow like sheep. Personally I take no notice and treat it like any other day.

Irene S. I agree!!!!

Nena C
Nena C3 months ago

crazy to spend time/bucks buying such when could go to very worthy cause like the homeless shelter, women's shelters, critter shelters, Red Cross, saving endangered critters, saving our planet, helping mentally challenged or just doing whats suggested here w/o spending a dime usually and no bucks wasted on useless gifting

Irene S
Irene S3 months ago

Are there really people out there who don´t have better things to do with their time than to go shopping? Weird!

Ruth S
Ruth S3 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S3 months ago