The day after Thanksgiving is a day where many people traditionally flock to the malls of America and buy stuff. Our need to consume has become a habit more than a means to a joyous ocassion. The US, despite its wealth isn't the happiest country on earth and so here are some alternatives to the craziness that the holidays can bring:
1) Make something. Instead of taking up your day on Friday fighting traffic, make something. You'd be surprised at the great gifts that can be made for little money--and it's a way to bring you and yours closer together. One of the most appreciated gifts I ever gave to my wife was a hand-made coupon book that she could use to have me provide services (and no X-rated services were involved)--like washing dishes, back rubs, cooking dinners and so on.
2) Choose charities to make contributions to in the name of others. With the number of non-profits that need help, this is a good time to make contributions or other donations (e.g., like donating cold weather gear to the homeless.
3) Do something for your neighbors or persons who are shut-in. With the number of people traveling during Thanksgiving down, it is a great time to visit the older neighbors around you or in care facilities. The holidays are very lonely times for some.
4) Regift. Most of us have stuff that we have never used that would be treasured by our friends and loved ones. Use Friday to sort through your under-appreciated stuff.
5) Enjoy your family and friends. Often we under time-value the relationships we have with those we love. If you put off shopping for a day or two, really, what difference will it make. However special moments with those you care the most about are always great investments. Play some games, make some cookies, go for a walk--have a conversation (maybe one about this video: The Story of Stuff).
6) If you want to shop--go to a craft fair or support local businesses--TRUST ME, THEY NEED YOU! If you can use public transportation, walk, bike, or carpool. Bring your own reuseable shopping bag--the planet will thank you.
If we ever hope to make the world we live in a better place, there is no better place to start than right at home. I hope that you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving.