What will you do on Buy Nothing Day?

Traditionally in the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday” and is considered the kickoff for the Christmas holiday season. Retailers open their doors early and hold big sales in hopes of drawing in the consumers for one big day of spending and consumption! Shop, shop, shop ’til ya drop!

Buy Nothing DayYou might not be aware that there’s another name for that day – “Buy Nothing Day.” The goal of Buy Nothing Day, celebrated this year in the US on Nov. 28 and internationally on Nov. 29, is to raise awareness about unnecessary spending and consumption, not just for one day, but for every day.

Now in its 17th year, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated every November by environmentalists, social activists and concerned citizens in over 65 countries around the world. Over the years, Buy Nothing Day (followed by Buy Nothing Christmas) has exploded into a global movement, inspiring the world’s citizens to live more simply and buy a whole lot less.

With the current economic crisis, fear of global warming, and failing environment, this year’s Buy Nothing Day has a greater sense of urgency.

Suddenly, we ran out of money and, to avoid collapse, we quickly pumped liquidity back into the system. But behind our financial crisis a much more ominous crisis looms: we are running out of nature… fish, forests, fresh water, minerals, soil. What are we going to do when supplies of these vital resources run low?

There’s only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth: we have to consume less.

It will take a massive mindshift. You can start the ball rolling by buying nothing on November 28th. Then celebrate Christmas differently this year, and make a New Year’s resolution to change your lifestyle in 2009.

It’s now or never!

What do you think? Will you choose to Buy Nothing on Nov. 28 (or Nov. 29) this year? Or if you think that is too extreme, will you curb your overall spending and consumption for the holidays? One thing that might help you with this is to take the No Plastic Holiday Challenge. We’ve got 33 participants so far. Can we make it 50?

Whether or not people participate in Buy Nothing Day or the No Plastic Holiday Challenge, it is my hope that this year finds all people a little more aware, a little more conscientious, and a little more thoughtful before they buy.

38 thoughts on “What will you do on Buy Nothing Day?”

  1. my husband’s brother and his family is coming over. I just plan to be with them- and buy nothing! I don’t think I can buy anything that is unnecessary with all this crisis anyway- we barely buy the necessary stuff. 🙂
    happy thanksgiving to all! let’s all be thankful for all we got, not we’d get!

  2. We won’t be buying anything either on Friday or the rest of the season. We send money in hand-made cards to our nieces and nephews and our parents get homemade jams and cookies, and local honey, nuts, and olives. Nothing is plastic and it’s all either homemade or local. It makes things simpler, easier, and I don’t have to go to the mall (yik!). 🙂

  3. I plan to enjoy my extra weekend day by hanging around the apartment with my cats and boyfriend as usual. I’ve never bought something on Black Friday in my life. I don’t understand the urge to do so.

  4. We’re doing the No buy thing…probably for the whole weekend! I hope we can make all of our Christmas gifts. If we get something for the cousins, I hope it will be something crafty. We’re trying to see if we can keep it extremely simple this year and almost everyone is on board for the no-gifts-unless-you-made-it-or-got-it-secondhand for next year =)

  5. Around here we need a ‘buy something day’ because other than groceries and gas once a week this mom of 6 rarely buys anything!

    It’s a real banner day when mom takes you to the local second hand shop to buy some clothes! You’ve got to be in need before whe notices too. ‘Huh, you’re down to one pair of pants, guess we could go to the second hand shop, if we really have to, next Friday, maybe.’

  6. I can’t believe this is the 17th year of BND. Makes me feel old…

    Let’s see, on Friday I’ll be getting some R&R at my parents’ house. I’m going to curl up with some good books I just picked up at the library today.

    Hope y’all have a lovely holiday!

  7. I’ll be shopping, but not at the big box stores. I prefer to spend my money with small business entrepreneurs. Not looking to cut back this year, just being more considerate about who my dollar is helping.

  8. I’ll be buying nothing Friday and Saturday. And that caps a month of fewer purchases–I put my credit cards in the drawer on November 1. They weren’t maxed out; I always pay them off. But it is an unpleasant surprise late in each month to see just how much stuff I bought. It’s much too easy to just whip out the card and buy something. If you pay cash or write a check, you actually have to think about what you’re doing.

    Whatever you do buy in the next month, try your best to buy American-made. We don’t want more Americans to lose their jobs, as we buy cheap stuff from over the oceans. For food, try to get as much as you can from your own state, and support your local farmers. If enough of us get on board, we WILL change the world.

  9. I’ll be buying nothing Nov 28. I never do. Shopping is not something I enjoy, and to get up really early to do it, and be surrounded by massive crowds? Nope, doesn’t sound appealing to me. We have been paring back the holidays for the last several years.

  10. Absolutely, I’m with you! I have no plans to set foot in any store on Friday.

    Oh, and will you add Fake Plastic Fish to the No Plastic Holiday Challenge? Of course, my whole life is already the No Plastic Challenge, but I’d love to be included in yours as well.



  11. A real question — what happens to the economy if we all stay home on Friday? A lot of companies (and small, independant shops) are praying for a strong 4th quarter. Won’t we be harming them if we don’t spend *some* money??

    As for me, I’m still in bed recovering from meningitis. Husband and kids are with his family for Thanksgiving, giving me space to sleep. And then I’ll spend Shabbat with my parents. No money spent on the Sabbath Day!!

  12. I also don’t usually go shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving – frankly, that’s the last day I would want to be in a store – but this year I’m going a little further and will spend part of the day listing a bunch of books that I don’t read anymore for sale on ebay and craigslist, and getting myself organized for some artsy-crafty-type gifts I plan to make and give for Christmas this year. My goal in 2009 is to simplify, simplify, simplify, to stop holding onto things from the past and create some flow in my life!

  13. Haha, I never shop on “Black Friday.” I refuse. So, this is a no-brainer for me! We’re also taking the No Plastic Holiday Challenge, so we are buying less anyway! I feel really good about buying less, and concentrating on quality rather than quantity.

  14. I also refuse to buy anything on “Black Friday” and have for years. I am making the majority of our Christmas presents (and we live in the middle of no-where Wyoming) so it is very easy for me to do this.

  15. I went out shopping on Black Friday only once in my life and came back shivering like a chihauahau in a frigidaire. Not gonna ever do it again. Nope Nyet No not me!

  16. I think there is too much commercialism in Christmas, but I also think it is a special-once-a-year-time, you can get gifts for your family or friends.

    Whether you chose to buy or make gifts, shop at big box stores, or buy from local businesses, I think the important thing is to remember gifts are a nice addition to the season-not the only reason for it, and you certainly should never spend more than you can afford.

  17. I’m on the Buy Nothing Day on Saturday. Actually I’ve been raising awareness of unnecessary spending and consumption for the past 6 months at my blog. I’m also doing the No Plastic Holiday Challenge for Christmas. We don’t have Thanksgiving here.

    M in NZ

  18. I’ve been a proud participant of “Buy Nothing Day” for the last decade or so. The thought of battling it out with endless others over stuff at 5 in the morning is the last thing I want in my life. I look on in disbelief at the news each year that people actually ENJOY this masochistic event!

  19. while i can definitely get behind curbing consumption every day, (which, like you said is the point), i read something recently that made me rethink buy nothing day:
    it argues that buy nothing day is a day for priviledged white people to assuage their guilt about their own over-consumption while simultaneously looking down on lower-income people who may not be able to afford to pass up those black friday doorbusters. i thought it was a good read. happy thanksgiving.

  20. We will be happily puttering around our home decorating for Christmas and raking leaves with our kids. I will be spending some time in my art studio making crafts for the craft fair I’m doing in two weekends. Yes, I’ll be making stuff to sell but at least they will be home made Christmas gifts.

  21. Third year of Buy Nothing Day for me. Loved the camaraderie of hanging w/other buy nothingers last year. I took so many photos…and went to a clothing swap…and ate free food provided by people who cooked for Buy Nothingers.

    I think it’s an incredible chance to connect w/others trying to actually do the “reduce/reuse” part of “reduce/reuse/recycle.” We’re trying to minimize our footprint and we can’t do it alone. But I’m thrilled to see it starting to pick up in the mainstream. Thanks for this post!

  22. It’s the long lines, the crowd, and the cutthroat attitudes that prevent me from going to the shopping malls. My holiday shopping will be done comfortably from my computer. Online shopping is a savior. But I guess that doesn’t fit within your Buy Nothing Day does it?

  23. Hey, we’re having the Buy Nothing Challenge over at Tree Hugging Family – it’s been going on all month. Obviously, I’m not going out. The plastic challenge sounds cool, but it’d be cheating if I played; already on board with the whole buy no plastics. Good luck getting to 50!

  24. We never go shopping the Fri-Sun after Thanksgiving, at least nothing more than stopping at the grocery or drug store for something essential. It started as just not liking the crowds and the mentality of other shoppers, but now saving money and spending less is just a good idea. My American extended family has decided not to exchange gifts this year, just to commit to spend as many evenings all together as we can.

  25. I love this! I’ve never shopped on these days and didn’t realize it was an international effort.

    This year, I’m expanding it beyond just these two days – I’ve pretty much put the kabosh on needless consumption. We’re making scarves for everyone with the loads of wool we’ve collected over the years. We’ve told people not to get us anything and for our kids we’ve asked for visits and just getting down on the floor and playing with them and their wood blocks or reading our library books…

    I want our kids to think that the holidays are about family, giving and gratitude – not about toys they don’t need, not about getting.

  26. I think it is a little extreme to turn it into “buy nothing day”. I think it is good to be aware of your spending and why you are spending it and I understand why someone would take a stand against black Friday. But on the other hand, for those of us who live on one income of less than 37K Black Friday is huge. We wouldn’t be able to by all of our family Christmas presents if it weren’t for the sales. I think that people need to realize that a lot of us out there on black Friday aren’t the crazy consumerism people they think we are. To be quite honest it makes me angry that people would judge me for it. A bloggy friend wrote this post on why black Friday is important for her family’s livelihood. A lot of people just don’t consider how blocking this day could actually hurt the small business person:


  27. Ooooh, I can’t say I bought nothing on Black Friday (the dvd deals at Target were too good for me to pass up), but we spent the majority of the afternoon and evening at the zoo that day – which, sadly, was pretty deserted for a change.

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