If you live in the United States you’re probably quite familiar with the way the peaceful day of Thanksgiving slides oh-so-quickly into a day of madness at the shopping malls.
Over the years Black Friday sales have inched closer and closer into our beautiful day with family and friends. Some stores now open for business as early as 6pm Thanksgiving evening, luring customers away from family bliss and into fluorescent-lit craziness. (Can you say, arrgh?!)
If you’re shaking your head right now thinking “What does she mean ‘craziness;’ I love rushing out to join the crowds and shop ‘til I drop,” then dear reader, bless your sweet heart. This may not be the article for you.
But if you’re nodding your head in agreement, wishing that the holidays could be more like they were in the olden days – focused on spending time with people we love and maybe sharing a few simple, loving gifts; then please read on! I have an invitation for you to join a virtual party that happens in the coziness of your own home and hopefully with your children, spouse or BFF.
What say we celebrate “The New Black” Friday?!
Every year I celebrate the day after Thanksgiving with something I call “The New Black” Friday. I encourage folks to spend quiet time at home making gifts, offering kindness or connecting with family instead of rushing out to the stores. It can be a day of ease and simple joy. This is my antidote to the materialism and consumerism of a day dedicated to spending money on gifts.
Instead, we “get together” (in spirit, on the phone or online) to celebrate the love we feel for people in our lives. It is like having leftover Thanksgiving gratitude – with a dollop of creativity and a side of joy.
Invite your family and friends to get creative and kind.
Imagine what a gift it would be if you invited your spouse, children, mom or BFF to enjoy a peaceful morning with you the day after Thanksgiving. What if you stayed in your jammies ‘til noon, banned all electronic devices, lit a fire (or a virtual fire courtesy of Netflix!) and let connection, creativity and play rule the day?
Here are a few idea to get you started:
- Make a house of cards
Gather a pile of art supplies – colored paper, stickers, magic markers, stamps, paints, etc. – and invite someone (or more!) to join you in a greeting card making extravaganza. Think about people in your life who’d love to get some upbeat snail mail instead of bills and advertisements. Give yourself permission to let go of any perfectionism and just enjoy the process. Have some envelopes and stamps handy so once you’re done with each card, you can stamp and address it so it is ready to be sent off to spread joy to an unsuspecting recipient!
- Cook up some sweet treats
Think about someone in your life who may be having a hard time. Maybe you know a friend who is grieving a loss or who has experienced hard times. This would be a great time to bake up some of your famous banana bread, sugar cookies or veggie lasagna. Wrap ‘em in a box and add a colorful, loving note. Then deliver your edible joy to someone who could really use a boost of love.
- Take a fun photo walk
Think about a beautiful place where you love to wander. Bundle up in your favorite fall garb and invite your family or friends to join you for a couple hours. Grab your camera (or charge up your smart phone) and let yourself see everything with new eyes. Snap as many photos as you want. Then find a place to cozy up with a cup of tea and share the photo memories together. (If you happened to capture any images of the people you were with, you could print and frame one as a holiday gift!)
- Lend a Hand
Do you know someone in your neighborhood who is ill or recovering from illness? What if you took the time to help that person out by offering to run errands, cook a meal or clean their house? Just give them a call and let them know you’re celebrating “The New Black” Friday and instead of going to the mall, you want to connect to people and offer your time and talents where they might do some good. Be sure and let them know that they’d be doing you a favor because it’d make you feel so darned happy to help.
- Plan a Holiday Hoopla
If you’re one of those people who gets stressed at the thought of the holidays and all the gift buying and giving, try this: Use “The New Black” Friday as a jumping off point for something totally new. Instead of buying tangible gifts for your family and friends this year, you could plan a day of fun activities that would create memories and deepen relationships. Use this peaceful day to brainstorm with your clan about what would be really fun: a day of carnival games, an “iron-chef” cookout, mock “Survivor” games, a scavenger hunt, a murder mystery dinner? (If your family is anything like mine, the planning of the hoopla will be every bit as much fun as the actual party!)
- Play a Starring Role
You can use “The New Black” Friday to make a few funny “we love you” videos for grandparents, a distant aunt or faraway friends. Just like with the card making, let yourself have fun and not worry about “getting it right.” Just show up, turn on the video and tell some favorite stories. You can also talk about the impact someone has had on your life or unique things that make you love them. The kids can tell jokes or do a silly dance. You can video the dog and pretend he is talking. This is about having fun and expressing your love. Whoever receives this is going to be grateful that you took the time to connect in this special way!
- Make a List and Check it Twice
One of my tried and true celebrations for “The New Black” Friday is making Love Lists. It is as simple as brainstorming all the reasons you love someone and presenting them in a card, a Joy Jar, fortune cookies, an Advent calendar or any other creative way you choose. Check out this article on Kind over Matter from last year, which tells you everything you need to know about making Love Lists!
Hopefully these suggestions sparked an idea that is just perfect for you and your clan. It’s not so important what you do together, but that you are together. If your day can have the added sprinkles-on-the-cake of expressing gratitude and love for someone else, then you’ve truly embodied the spirit of “The New Black” Friday.
See ya by the virtual fire on November 24th!