November 26 (or 27, depending on where you are) is ‘Buy Nothing Day!’ Buy Nothing Day is the day after Thanksgiving, which is now promoted as Black Friday and is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
Black Friday used to be a day that most people had off to just do nothing. Most people had the day off and would just have a holiday, getting over the thanksgiving feast and maybe get out and about with family and friends, but certainly not work or shop.
In New Zealand we don’t have Thanksgiving Day which was founded on the European tradition of the harvest festival. Our harvest festival, if we had one, would be in May, at the end of our autumn. The point is that, bizarrely and perversely, New Zealand does have Black Friday, as do many countries that aren’t America!
Black Friday is a marketing ploy. A ploy is a deliberate manoeuvre to gain an advantage. Yes, you are being taken advantage of! If you don’t want to be taken advantage of, then your counter-manoeuvre is to not buy into it, literally.
Buy Nothing Day
Buy Nothing Day was founded by Canadian artist Ted Dave in Vancouver in 1992 and more recently has been promoted by adbusters.org. It is an international day of protest against consumerism in general, and against Black Friday in particular. In North America, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden, Buy Nothing Day is held on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). Elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November.
‘Buy Nothing Day’ is a day to reflect on the things that give you joy but have no exchange or monetary value. The best things in life are not things, for example, relationships, solitude, peace, love, family, exercise, nature, reading, being creative and learning. In societies where nearly everything seems to be a transaction it is salutary to just spend time being an authentic human, namely, yourself.
So consciously don’t buy anything, slow down and smell the roses, and get your loved ones involved too. You could have a get-together and not talk about what you bought or need to buy, but rather talk about why you are grateful for them and for all the other wonderful things that money can’t buy.
In a society that profits from your self doubt, loving yourself is a rebellious act