The Friday after Thanksgiving doesn’t have to entail fighting over video game consoles and flat screen TVs
With the media frenzy surrounding Black Friday, you’d think everyone and their extended families spend this day waiting in line, swiping their credit cards and shoving their way down aisles crowded with other determined bargain-hunters. Not so – the Friday after Thanksgiving doesn’t have to entail fighting over video game consoles and flat screen TVs. Avoid the hustle and bustle. Instead, relax with some of these tips and tricks for cultivating mental calm on Black Friday. Who knows, you may enjoy some of these Black Friday alternatives so much that you decide to make it an annual tradition.
An escape to nature heals all that ails you – especially if what ails you is an incredibly full belly of Thanksgiving treats and a twinge of a hangover from too much wine with the family.
A local mountain peak or trail in a nature preserve provides the perfect alternative to a day at the mall – in fact it’s about as opposite from the mall as you can achieve. Get away from the crowds to enjoy some time alone, or plan a trip with just a few of your closest friends, family or dogs.
Pack a rucksack with some nuts, dried fruit, beef jerky and your other favorite trail snacks as well as plenty of water, don your finest flannels and hiking boots and set off into the woods. If you live in colder climes and the first snows have already fallen, you might plan a snowshoeing expedition instead.
Just make sure you plan your route well, bring a compass and sign in and out at the rangers box at the beginning and end of your journey so as not to get lost – that would put a real damper on the holiday season.
If you need to stock up on mountain gear, make sure to hit up REI sooner rather than later. In the spirit of a no-crazy-mall-shopping Black Friday, REI will be closing its store locations on Black Friday and giving their employees a day off with pay. You can bet they’ll be out in the great outdoors, making the most of their time off.
Make sure to end the day with Thanksgiving leftovers in front of the fire to complete the experience.
If getting out to the great outdoors is not your cup of tea, stay inside and do some early winter hibernating instead. Nurse your post-Thanksgiving food hangover with a family movie day. Gather quilts, afghans and pillows, pop some popcorn and queue up your family favorites – The Goonies, Groundhog Day, Gladiator and any or all installments of the Indiana Jones or Star Wars series are all acceptable options. Move as little as possible except to get more popcorn and drinks.
As Black Friday is the inaugural day of the Christmas season, you might also consider a more seasonal lineup as well – A Christmas Story, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and White Christmas offer some solid starting points.
If a full day of not moving from the couch gets too monotonous, break out the board games and card games. Avoid Monopoly so as to guard against family fighting (Monopoly Deal is a fun alternative) and opt instead for Apples to Apples, Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Rummy or Hearts.
Since Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas season, why not use the day off from work and school to decorate for Christmas? Head out to your local tree farm to choose and cut your own Christmas tree. Make an adventure out of it by packing sandwiches, a thermos of hot chocolate and bringing the sled – not just for hauling out your tree, but also for some snow sledding fun before you cut it down. Get it home and break out the lights, tinsel, ornaments and Nat King Cole Christmas album for an evening of recalling Christmas memories as you decorate.
If you’re not too full from the day before, Black Friday might be the ideal day for Christmas cookie or gingerbread house decorating. Bake your own gingerbread cookies (or save yourself the trouble and purchase some at the grocery store), and then decorate to your heart’s content. If you’re planning a more elaborate gingerbread house just make sure it’s architecturally sound so it will last through the weekend (that is, assuming no one eats it!).
Since December 1 is right around the corner, Black Friday is also a perfect day to create advent calendars. Create an advent calendar with the kids for a fun arts and crafts project (nothing beats the classic construction paper chain) or if the kids are out hiking, snowshoeing, sledding or skiing, take the opportunity while they’re away to create your own advent calendar full of daily surprises for them in December.
Cooking a turkey with all the sides and desserts and entertaining all of your relatives for a full day can really take a toll. Protect your mental health (and that beautiful skin of yours!) by treating yourself to a day of relaxation and rejuvenation at the spa. Whether it’s as simple as getting a nice foot massage at your local massage chain or elaborate as checking in to a hotel spa for a full eight hours of facials and body scrubs, you will enjoy this indulgence – especially with the knowledge that most people you know are stuck fighting the crowds at the mall.
If you really must use Black Friday to get some shopping done, stick to online shopping instead of the mall. Online shopping is way better than going to the mall because: