Can we talk about people camping out on the sidewalk for discounted microwaves? Or elbowing each other in the face for 50% off Keurigs?
I’m not trying to to saddle my high horse here; I’m very busy waiting for Cyber Monday. Mama needs a new Roomba.
But if you – like me – hate crowds, shopping, and crowded shopping malls, this list is for us. This list is for those of us who’d rather chew their hand off at the wrist than navigate a mall parking lot on a holiday.
You, too? You’d rather chew your hand off? Cool. Read on.
13 things to do on Black Friday
Stock, how I love thee – let me count the ways. I love thee when I make quinoa or couscous. I love thee as a base for soups and stews. I love thee for sauces and gravies.
You guys get the idea. Stock is a great way to make use of your entire turkey and if you’re planning ahead you can also save all the extra vegetable bits from your Thanksgiving meal prep.
2. Ride the gratitude wave + write thank you notes to people who’ve helped you
After all the conversation and extravert-ing of Thanksgiving day, it’s nice to curl up with a cup of tea and a box of blank cards and think grateful thoughts. Think back over the past year and consider the people who have helped you – the friends who helped you move, the professional connection who recommended you for your job, the buddy who nursed you through that breakup.
Put pen to old fashioned paper and write them a note sharing how they helped you. Everybody loves snail mail and it’s nice to close out the year on a note of gratitude.
Getting rid of things is probably my second favorite hobby. Maybe you don’t list ‘decluttering’ as an interest on Facebook, but we could all benefit from going through all those ex-boyfriend t-shirts and jeans that don’t fit. And you’re making room for all the awesome holiday gifts you’re going to receive!
4. Schedule downtime into December
Is your social calendar already filling up with a million parties and recitals and family obligations? Open up Google calendar (or your actual, physical calendar) and allot at least five nights to super low-key things like “watch White Christmas” and “string popcorn and cranberries.”
Literally block out those nights on your calendar and if someone invites you to do something that night, sweetly inform them that you’re booked.
5. Go through old photo albums + home movies
This is particularly fun if you do it with out of town family members you don’t see very often! Laugh at everyone’s hairstyles and marvel at how gorgeous grandma was.
Stock up on car snacks and podcasts, pile into the Prius and head out for parts unknown. If your destination has any cute boutiques or antique stores, consider buying your holiday gifts there – support small businesses!
If you can’t find anything gift-worthy, check out the local diner or supper club. If you’re in the Twin Cities, here’s a list of the 10 best day trips.
7. Host friends-giving
If you have one metric ton of leftovers or a challenging/unpleasant family situation, give yourself a ‘do over’ by hosting friends-giving. Make it easy by using compostible dishes and utinsels and asking everyone to bring their best leftovers. After you’ve stuffed yourself silly, fill up on a tv show that properly captures your friendship – like The Sandlot.
8. Play board games
Using our minds and hands and interacting with people instead of screens? Whaaaaaat?! Yes. I love oldies-but-goodies like Pictionary, Scattergories, and Cranium but my friends and I love a version of the not-really-a-board-game Celebrity. Whenever we book a cabin weekend we play it for hours!
9. Make something with your hands
Gosh, but it’s relaxing to create real, tangible things. Assemble a gingerbread house. Cut paper snowflakes. Sew a new set of curtains or embroider a dishtowel. Get started on gifts with one of these 25 awesome DIY presents.
It’s good to give back to your community any time of year, but the holidays bring out the charitable side in more of us. Think about the causes that really resonate with you and see how you can help out. Can you walk dogs at the animal shelter? Play with kids at a crisis nursery? Landscape with Habitat For Humanity? If you’re in the Twin Cities, consider showing your support for the Black Lives Matter protests.
11. Package up your leftovers + give them to homeless people
Tuck some of that turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes into a tupperware container, grab a bottle of water and drive through the highway onramps that are commonly frequented by homeless people asking for change.
You could also use this as an opportunity to teach the kids in your life about compassion. Work together to assemble care kits and hand them out.
12. Go to a museum
They’ll probably be awesomely empty because everyone else is standing in line at Target! Check out a weird museum you’ve never been to or something you suspect isn’t quite your taste. You might be surprised!
If you’re here in the Twin Cities, MIA is always free and is offering free admission from 6am-10am to their Delacroix exhibit, free coffee and treats, and discounts in the museum store!
13. Visit a state park
Because Minnesota is The Actual Best they’ve made every single state park free on Black Friday! Even if your state isn’t doing the same thing, a state park visit is a great way to spend the day. Go for a hike, clamber around waterfalls, peer at wildlife. It’s a great way to work off a bit of the pumpkin pie and socially decompress from all that holiday, family-time gossip.
What’d I miss? Share your Black Friday ideas in the comments!