Skip Black Friday

F*ck Black Friday.

Okay, I need to back up and explain - this is hypocritical of me. I don’t shop Black Friday/Cyber Whatever, but I have worked it many times as a retail employee and will be working it this year (at a much better store than I have in the past, but that’s another story). But I still have a general disdain for Black Friday.

Black Friday and Cyber Whatever (I know it’s Monday, but it really goes on from Thanksgiving evening to the following Monday) are soul-sucking. These shopping “holidays” turn people into greedy monsters. In my mind, these days are cancelled. Over. Buh-bye.

A few reasons why Black Friday is over:

  • It’s a retail nightmare. I used to work at a clothing store, and while we had some great customers on Black Friday, we also had a lot of rude, ungrateful, messy, abhorrent people. [I wrote a story about what not to do while shopping on Black Friday for HelloGiggles last year.] You see horror stories on the news every year about the shit that goes down at stores like Walmart, and just seeing one of those stories when I was a kid was enough for me to say, “nope, I’m out,” to Black Friday shopping.

  • It’s one of those gross capitalism-driven holidays that companies put millions of dollars into and almost all of those companies have bad business ethics and are making profit off cheap, environmentally unfriendly products that cost them a few dollars to make in China.

  • It’s creeping up on us during Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a murky holiday with bad history, but it brings family together, and that’s why I celebrate it. The amount of Black Friday ads I see every year urging people to start lining up Thanksgiving night goes up every year and it’s SO ICKY. This is time for family! I will judge anyone who eats dinner with family and then goes to Old Navy. Family time is not valued like it used to be and that bums me out.

I could rant about Thanksgiving and Black Friday for pages, but I want to keep it positive. So here’s how you can make your holiday shopping happy: support small businesses!

This holiday season, I am only buying gifts from small businesses and minority-owned (read: anyone but a corporation or a cis white man) companies. I’m supporting the families, artists and hardworking individuals who hustle to make their dreams and passions a profitable career.

Small Business Saturday is a great day to do this, despite the fact that it was started by a major company (American Express). The holiday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local, as well as online shops on sites like Etsy. You can spend your Friday in a food coma, relaxing with family and decorating for Christmas or Hanukkah. Then, on Saturday, hit your local downtown and join a movement to celebrate small businesses, help communities thrive and bring people together. Instead of, you know, trampling someone to death in a superstore parking lot or losing blood in order to get a deal on a flatscreen tv.

But guess what? Everyone starts their holiday shopping right about now. No one waits until the end of November anymore. So the special days are slightly arbitrary. You’re going to be shopping for the next two months, and you should support small businesses and minority-owned companies while you do.

One great way to do this is to hit up a local craft or maker fair, like Renegade Craft. You can find markets like these in your area by searching Facebook events close to you or even just good ol’ Google. It’s a great way to support artists and get a chunk of your shopping done at once. You may discover the perfect gift for someone that you didn’t even know existed!

In the coming weeks, I will be posting some great small biz/female-owned gift guides, and I’ll update this post to link them! Comment below if you have any special requests :)

[UPDATE 12.2.18]:

Gift Guide: Female-Owned Companies

Gift Guide: Independent Artists

Gift Guide: Cruelty-Free Stocking Stuffers

[cover photo by on Unsplash]