Already, the sale ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are circulating.
It can’t be denied that there are some good deals to be had for the early bird and determined holiday shoppers. Perhaps, you expect me to launch into a condemnation of the crass commercialism of the holidays, but I tend to look at holiday shopping from the perspective of gift giving and generosity.
Do we often over-do it? Sure. But do we have positive intentions? I think most of the time we do. But I do think that there are more eco-friendly and even mindful ways to shop Black Friday or even Cyber Monday. Here are just a few:
- We can carpool with others to do our shopping and reduce carbon emissions.
- We can shop locally in the gift shops in our community; many of them also offer deals but receive far less business traffic on these big days.
- We can purchase eco-friendly gifts for our shopping list. Think sustainable, vegan, fair trade, and organic. If it’s not available locally, we can make that purchase online.
- We can upcycle items to make a homemade gift or purchase gently used items as holiday gifts.
- We can look for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on experiences rather than things. This is a big one in my book. As a parent, my children have far too many toys. We have to donate them on a regular basis. But they would enjoy a season pass somewhere, tickets to events, or even fees for classes or sports to be paid. A gift certificate for a play center, cinema gift cards, and even a night or weekend spent in a hotel somewhere fun all make awesome gifts that allow for a mindful experience rather than a thing to be used and discarded. There are often sales this time of year on memberships and even gift cards.
- We can follow the whole, “something we want, something we need, something to wear, and something to read” philosophy of gift giving and look only for these items when shopping the sales.
- While we’re shopping, we can bring mindfulness to the experience by remembering that the other shoppers and store personnel are all human beings as well. We can treat others as we want to be treated rather than going into a death match over the latest toy craze or discounted television.
- We can look people in the eyes, be sincere in our interest of others when we converse, and even smile at the people around us and spread joy rather than a sense of urgency and greed.
- We can practice patience in lines and be kind above all else.
- We can bring our own reusable bags rather than using plastic bags for our purchases. If we have to use plastic bags for some reason, we can then donate them back to be recycled (many stores offer this) after they are used.
I know that the point of these sales, for most of us, is to save money on our gift giving and get some things we want or need at an affordable price. For many families, these sales are a necessity. This is how many families on a budget provide a nice holiday for their kids.
I get it, and I don’t want to sit in judgment of the people who spend most of Thanksgiving Day and the rest of the following weekend immersed in the commercialism. But I do think that we can bring an eco-conscious and mindful attitude to participation.
By changing our perspective a little, we can have a more mindful experience in in the middle of our rush to get great items at an affordable price.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy editor: Nicole Cameron
Social editor: Waylon Lewis