What should be a time to give thanks has turned into the biggest consumption day of the year. While we love the holiday season and enjoy shopping for our friends and families, as ethical clothing advocates, we cannot, in good conscience, fully participate in Black Friday without participating in the exploitative labor practices regularly used by the fast fashion industry, especially to meet holiday demand. So instead we have some better ideas.
Instead of spending, spend the day giving! Volunteer Match lists local events and opportunities, and there will be Fur Free Friday protests around the country you can join. If you don’t see anything in your area, contact your favorite non-profit and find out how you can start your own do-gooding community effort.
Instead of sending your friends and family an update on what’s going on in your life, write a heartfelt note to everyone important in your life instead. Let them know what they mean to you and how they have impacted your life, guaranteeing to spread true holiday cheer. Bonus points for recycled paper and trying hand-writing.
Take a drive to your favorite trail, or make a trip to visit your nearest national park (many offer free or reduced admission on Black Friday!). If you’re looking for partners, the 52 Hike Challenge is a great place to meet new friends or connect with old ones.
Spend the day letting go instead of accumulating! Clear out those junk drawers, tackle the garage, and finally get rid of all those clothes you haven’t worn this year. Donate them responsibly to second hand shops and resist the urge to fill the cleared space.
It’s the perfect day to fill your mind instead of your home. Finally get around something on your bookshelves or get into one of our suggested ethical fashion books. Many libraries are open on Black Friday, making it easy and free to jump into endless knowledge and adventures.
THE GILMORE GIRLS
The long weekend is the perfect excuse to curl up with your favorite fair trade coffee (or, other seasonal drink) and binge watch the new Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life chapters which will be released on November 25th on Netflix. If this 1 hour 30 minute miniseries revival isn’t enough for you, all 7 seasons are also available for streaming.
Adopt don’t shop! It’s a time of year dedicated to friends and family, so why not bring home your new best friend. There are so many animals who would love to share the holidays with you, and many animal shelters offer free adoptions on Black Friday.
THE ORIGINAL BROWSING
Spend the day looking instead of buying! Get inspired with art and creativity at your local museum, most of which are open on Black Friday. Extra points if you check out a lesser known one!
SOCIAL MEDIA CLEANSE
A different way to spend some time on social media. Update your privacy settings, verify your info, change your passwords, and remove any people or pages that don’t bring you joy. Sign up for some inspirational pages to make your daily scrolling an uplifting experience.
HOST A LEFTOVERS PARTY
Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to clear out their fridge for a shared meal. Provide the breads and spreads and see who can make the most creative sandwiches from all that leftover stuffing, mashed potatos, and gravy. Bonus points: gather up the unopened cans and jars (we’re looking at you, extra cranberry sauce) and donate them to your local food bank.
And, if you just really really want to do some shopping:
THE LINDA SCARF
This year instead of encouraging excess consumption, MadeFAIR and Bead & Reel are teaming up to offer a new way to shop with the exclusive Linda Scarf. Handmade and fair trade, it’s manufactured in Cambodia by the Weavers Project which supports local artisans and their community. 100% unbleached cotton, the charcoal stripes were hand-dyed using actual charcoal. Half the proceeds will go to Dressember, a 501(c)3 collaborative movement leveraging fashion and creativity to restore dignity to all women and end modern day slavery. Buy this limited edition piece here.
We’d love to see what you’re up to, so share your shopping-free experiences with the hashtag #EthicalBlackFriday!
Find out more at www.ethicalblackfriday.com