Minimalist Holiday: White Friday

(Photo: Muffet)

As you might guess, I’m not a fan of Black Friday. I don’t like crowds, shopping, excess consumerism, or stores that make their employees work late night, early morning, or—worst of all—Thanksgiving hours in service to corporate profits.

That lovely little Friday, so wonderfully placed between a holiday and weekend, deserves better. And so, in the spirit of minsumerism and consumer disobedience, I propose we turn Black Friday on its head and embrace the opposite of everything it represents: please join me in celebrating White Friday instead.

Rather than a day of consumer frenzy, White Friday will be a day of clarity, peace, and reflection. (Think of the calm, contemplative effect of a white-walled room, versus one stacked top-to-bottom with shelves of mass-produced goods.) We’ll buy nothing, and continue our Thanksgiving gratitude for the abundance already in our lives.

Here’s some other ways to turn a Black day of consumerism into a White day of serenity:

Clear the clutter. Instead of bringing more stuff into your home, clear stuff out. Take the day to tackle a decluttering project, like your closet, basement, or attic. It feels a lot better to send a carload to charity, than stash away a carload of shopping.

Clear the dirt. Do a deep house-cleaning in preparation for the holidays. Get into those dusty corners you ignore during the year, and scrub them spotless. Such a top-to-bottom cleansing is an important purification rite in many cultures, and is good for the spirit as well as the home.

Clear your schedule. Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to jostle crowds for bargains, sleep in, slow down, and spend the day with loved ones. Alternatively, free up your day to volunteer for a good cause.

Clear your debts. Rather than increase your credit card balance, take steps to pay it off. Review your finances, and plan how you can start the new year on more fiscally-sound footing. Propose a no-gift holiday to your friends and family, and emphasize spending time together over spending money.

Clear your mind. Instead of stressing about the upcoming holiday season, take a long bath or leisurely walk to clear your mind. Turn off the TV, skip the newspaper, don’t go online—anything to avoid being bombarded with advertisements and marketing.

Clear your soul. Reconnect with your spiritual side: meditate, attend a religious service, enjoy the gifts of nature. Spend the day not in pursuit of discounts, but in pursuit of truth, beauty, and meaning.

This Friday, let’s forget about keeping corporations in the black. Rather than go down the dark road of debt, delusion, and environmental destruction that goes hand-in-hand with consumerism, let’s do the opposite. Let’s make it a day to live lightly, act serenely, and make the world a little brighter for ourselves and others.

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

Related posts:

  1. Minimalist Holiday: The Gift of Time
  2. Minimalist Beauty: 11 Ways to Look Gorgeous without Chemicals
  3. I’m Dreaming of a Minimalist Christmas

111 comments to Minimalist Holiday: White Friday

  • spb

    While many are out “celebrating” Black Friday, my family continues its own day-after Thanksgiving tradition: Cookie Day!
    We literally bake and decorate cut-out cookies ALL day. The cookies are then given out to neighbors, friends, etc. as/instead of holiday presents. All generations participate to whatever degree they feel compelled (but, of course, the more cookies you make the more cookies you get to eat and share!).

  • scottclayton

    A very pleasant post, and your “White Friday” idea is a nice and pragmatic one. I would suggest a name like “Contentment Day” or “Wow, We Actually Have it Pretty Great Already Day,” so as not to replace the name of a negative day (that has a colour in its name) with a name that only differs by the colour referenced.

    I will practice this on Boxing Day (December 26 in Canada).

  • Susan

    I love this! Happy thanksgiving to all in the U.S. Today is my birthday and we are in the middle of a snowstorm so i’m getting the ultimate gift – a day off! I’m a teacher so it is pretty cool. My husband renewed my yoga pass as my birthday gift and everyone else gave me money which I put aside for more yoga passes. Not one wrapped present in sight. Can it get any better? We don’t exactly have black Friday in Canada but we get close enough. I think many Canadians actually go to the U.S. to participate.
    The white Friday ideas are splendid and even though i’m on the other side of the border I’m gonna do ‘em.
    Thanks again.

  • Sophie W.

    Beautiful! This post perfectly sums up my feelings about Black Friday – but instead of simply bemoaning consumerism, it offers wonderful suggestions about alternate celebrations. I even love the sound of White Friday – it does sound pure, clean and fresh. I plan to clean house (literally) and then go for a long bike ride in the country to enjoy our blessing of unexpectedly mild late fall weather. Your blog continues to inspire and refresh me!

  • Heather

    This is actually the one time of year I shop. I know, bad minimalist, but I do shop local and I do go by a list only. I don’t shop the other 11 months of the year unless it is something special, like my son’s or hubby’s birthday. I make shopping sacred and not all the time and the savings around this time of the year really do help my budget. Again, list, local and always with love. : ) Happy Turkey Day!!!

  • Kari

    Hi. This is the first time that I’ve commented, although I’ve been reading for about a year. But this is such an important subject. Here, in Canada, we don’t have Black Friday, but what they’ve done to Boxing Day is almost criminal. The stores and advertizers have taken a day meant for giving to others, and turned it into a consumer frenzy. So much so, that they’ve even changed the name. All the advertisements no longer say Boxing Day sales, they call it Boxing Week! How sickening is that?

  • SS

    While I avoid stores on Black Friday and often spend that day cleaning and putting together items for donation, I have mixed feelings about shopping then. On one hand, if a person needs a new refrigerator and can get it for half price instead of paying full price to the corporation, then bravo. Or if a person has their material life in order and enjoys shopping the bargains on that day, then to each their own. But I don’t like that retail workers are forced to work awful hours for low pay when they should have the opportunity to enjoy time off.

  • Madeleine Lawrence

    Wow, super post :)We don’t have the same holidays here in Australia but I’m going to enjoy following your list anyway. Have a beautiful day, and thanks for writing.

    Madeleine

  • Tara

    Just found an article giving reasons to skip Black Friday. From Yahoo, of all places.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/5-reasons-skip-black-friday-164603988.html

    Heartening to see even non-minimalists think staying outside a store all night is silly.

  • runi

    Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving (or, if you are not from the U.S., a good day yesterday).

    My birthday is a few days before Thanksgiving. (I’m old, but still in the double digits.) This year, for the first time, my husband gave me currency with a tiny gold bow attached to it. He said he was trying to avoid a future “clutter litany”, and that even gift cards are suspect because I’m always boycotting something. This might sound crass, but I got great pleasure from putting the bill in my cash stash. I gave the little bow back to him telling him he might need it for Christmas.

  • [...] I am participating in White Friday, introduced by Francine Jay of Miss Minimalist. In short, White Friday is a day of peace and [...]

  • Seymour

    I’ll rejoice on the day we stop talking about consumerism and consumers and, instead, speak of citizenship and citizens.

  • Lovely post. And yes we will be participating here on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    A few of the things we are doing: harvesting more of our coffee to roast. It is what we will give to our coffee loving friends and family for the holidays. Something we grew ourselves. We are also harvesting avocados and papaya. They go bad quickly so the abundance will go in a bag with some of our left over Thanksgiving food to go to those who live outdoors here in Hawaii.

    It’s amazing how staying on top of the clutter is something we need to give our attention to even though we choose not to buy and consume like we used to. It feels really good to clean and give and I so appreciate your articles of encouragement.

    Aloha wags!

  • Great idea! Can’t wait to clear out some more stuff from my apartment this afternoon after being inspired by this post. The idea of black Friday has always made me sick… let’s be thankful for what we have rather than adding to our junk and debt.

  • [...] Read about White Friday at Miss Minimalist’s blog. ——- [...]

  • [...] I’m choosing to participate in White Friday written my miss minimalist.  We’ll also spend our day with a picture of gratitude in mind like [...]

  • jenifer

    I want to suggest that you submit this to Elephant Journal — they love this sort of material. elephant journal.com. it’s really great, and right along what they’re talking about.

  • Tradd

    I actually had to work today (office job, not retail). They let us go in the early afternoon, but I just ran some errands (post office, grocery store, bank) and didn’t really have to deal with crazy crowds.

    I finished my minimal Christmas shopping (I buy for only one person, a child) several weeks ago, and I am done.

    I had my quiet day yesterday on T’giving. All the friends who’ve invited me in the past for dinner (I am single and live at a distance from family, but I don’t talk to them much anyway) were either out of town or going to a relative’s for the day. I slept late, did some studying for a class I’m taking, and was brought dinner in the early evening by a friend on her way home.

  • Melody

    Just mailed out some baked goodies to my family and also donated a couple bags of new, stylish things to Goodwill. Overall, I like the aspect of giving on Black Friday instead of taking and wanting, might make it a tradition. Everybody wins when you give.

  • [...] I don't get the deal; I'm not that interesting. LOL At least, I don't think so. Spent "white friday" doing some good cleaning around the house. Decluttered the kitchen cupboards of whatever we [...]

  • I love this whole philosophy. I’m so glad to have found your site. I often feel like the odd person out since I don’t know anyone else who seems to have this mentality. I also love the terms minsumerism and consumer disobedience. I’ll be checking those out right after this. I think those are brilliant ways to spend any weekend. Brilliant post and I can’t wait to see what else you have going on.

  • Carolina B

    We talked at Thanksgiving about different shelter’s and how-
    happy someone would be to get our new or gently used items or clothes. I love the idea of making this a tradition during the crazy Holiday season. My family now draws one name and we make the gift special and the time we would’ve used to open a gazillion presents is now used playing a game. I wish everyone a blessed and magical Holiday season…

  • Lori in Florida

    Love, love, love your site, miss minimalist! Your post on Black Friday (grrrr) struck home with me, and many of my friends. I shared your post on my Facebook wall, in solidarity.

    Thank your friend, Brenda, for sending me your link. I believe you will be seeing her soon. :-)

    Peace…and bookmarked.

  • Kellie

    As a vegan I refuse to celebrate a holiday that encourages the already overweight American to eat! eat! eat! We have become a society of lazy, fat, pepper-spraying animals. It is a shame. When I see the fattys on television fighting over a five dollar wafflemaker I realize that there is a missing link.

  • [...] sull’argomento: A Minimalist Family Christmas (ebook) A Guide To Simple Holidays White Friday: “Clear the clutter. Clear the dirt. Clear your schedule. Clear your debts. Clear your [...]

  • Rachel

    Happy to report that I treated the Friday after Thanksgiving as a regular day. I was even early to my 5:45 am pilates class. Only four of us were there, so we were all able to get full range of motion. Much better than shouldering my way though crowds, maneuvering crowded aisles, etc!! After work I simply came home and enjoyed an evening on the couch with my two fur-kids. Such simple joys – a favorite blanket a good books, and two purring contented cats. No ‘Black Friday’ deal could beat that!

  • Jennifer

    Watching two people fight over a cheap piece of plastic is disturbing enough (regardless of their size).

  • Lisa

    I have been shopping on black friday for 20 years. This year I decided not to go I did have withdraws but made it though the day. It was funny how many people called me and asked about my good deals boy were they surprised that I didn’t go. This was a BIG step for me trying to change my life. I think taking this baby step toward minimalism is good for the soul!!

  • mk_writer

    I don’t think I’ve ever braved the crowds to go shopping on Black Friday. I think I’m either just too delicate a flower or there just isn’t anything I want badly enough.

    This year, I went to my parents’ place, where other relatives were visiting. The younger ones like to go into New York City, where I’ve lived and worked for a number of years. I asked them if there was anything in particular that they wanted to see or do. They basically wanted to see Times Square, Central Park and Lincoln Center. Other than spending money on lunch (and later, really good hot chocolate) we basically just walked around the city. No one spent money on souvenirs or anything – the souvenirs were basically the photos that were taken during the day. And as the weather was 60 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit, it was a thoroughly nice day (with lots of exercise).

  • [...] also liked this post on Miss Minimalist, “White Friday”. We don’t have the Black Friday sales here in Australia, but our Boxing Day sales are [...]

  • rachel

    This is the best article! I read it on white Friday and then took a long walk at the beach with my oldest daughter. The day was cool with warm sun on our faces, and we talked about not shopping at the mall. How we were doing so much more for ourselves and the environment just doing something else.

  • The equivalent to Black Friday here in Australia is what we call Boxing Day (26 December). That’s when the department stores have huge sales and the media love to show images of ravenous shoppers bursting through the glass doors and bolting around in a frenzy to pick up bargains. A little sickening really.

    It’s early days for me with my attempts at mimimalism, but I just wrote a post on my blog about how I cleared out 6 bags full of kids’ toys over the weekend. And man, did it feel good. Baby steps I guess…

  • [...] I am participating in White Friday, introduced by Francine Jay of Miss Minimalist. In short, White Friday is a day of peace and [...]

  • [...] On the other hand, it has also been suggested that we call it “White Friday”. “Rather than a day of consumer frenzy, White Friday will be a day of clarity, peace, and reflection…We’ll buy nothing, and continue our Thanksgiving gratitude for the abundance already in our lives.” –Francine Jay (aka Miss Minimalist) [...]

  • Tina

    I have never shopped on Black Friday. There is nothing I need or want badly enough to brave crowds and craziness. Usually, we stay home and clean or relax. I love your blog and the comments let me know I am not alone.

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