Your Holiday Shopping Survival Guide

Sustainable Shopping
avoid black friday shopping

As we are approaching Thanksgiving weekend along with Black Friday sales, I decided to post a week before the shopping frenzy begins. One of our contributors wrote an excellent Holiday Shopping Survivor Guide. I enjoyed the read and could sign under each word! Hope you enjoy it, too!

Written by Emily Heaslip

I can’t believe it’s almost that time of year again. Every single year, no matter how old I get, the holiday season is so magical. The season change and temperature drop signals the start of my favorite time of year. The scent of hot cocoa and pumpkin spice fills the air. I treasure the extra time I get to spend hanging out with my friends and family – and also the extra days I get off of work!

There is one thing about the holiday season that I have never liked — holiday shopping!

black friday crowd


Even before I started my quest to simplify my life, I tried to avoid holiday shopping at all costs. Crowds of shoppers frantically competing for an item or a sale is just not my scene. Shoppers yelling, pushing and grabbing things from each other is not part of the magical holiday season I envision. Every Black Friday, I hear about some fatal incident, people literally fainting and killing each other over a material item. Is any one thing really worth it?!

holiday shopping frenzy


I think not. That’s why I decided to put together this guide to get us all through the holiday season! Here are my top tips and tricks for surviving the holidays – you may even find new traditions to embrace that will likely save your credit card some damage.


Skip Black Friday – Try Small Business Saturday

Holiday sales are designed to make us spend our hard earned money on impulsive purchases. We end up spending money on items we don’t need. At the end of the day, these “deals” are NOT saving us any money. While my personal preference is to avoid shopping during the holiday season, if you do need to shop, have a plan and stick to it. Try to avoid feeling pressure to buy items because of item scarcity or great deals. Buy only things you need and things you really love. Ask yourself one question: would you buy it for a full price? If so, go for it. I highly recommend skipping the Black Friday lines all together and waiting until Small Business Saturday (the Saturday following Black Friday). If you are going to spend, why not support your local Mom and Pop shops?

small business saturday


Skip Holiday Shopping – Donate Your Things & Your Time

This time of year, we tend to collect so many items we don’t need or use. The ugly sweater your coworker got you will likely sit in the back of your closet until next December. Instead of letting your closet pile up with junk, try purging any unwanted items. This is the perfect time to clean out the old and get in with the new – right before the new year. Get in the holiday spirit and donate these items to someone who really needs them. If you really want to feel the true meaning of the holidays, spend some time volunteering at a cause near to your heart. There are so many fun and rewarding opportunities to get involved with during the holiday season – check out this list if you need some inspiration.

Put Down Your Credit Card – Start Cooking

Your credit card will thank you and so will your friends and family once you show them your new skills. Every year, I try to master a new recipe to serve at holiday parties. It is so much more fun and personable to cook for the people I love than to give them items they really don’t need or even want. Giving my loved ones the gift of delicious food truly makes me happy.

time spent with family


If You Must Shop – Skip The Wrapping Paper

As a green consumer, I was sad to learn that from Thanksgiving to New Years, we generate 25% more waste than average. During those 2 months, we consume 125,000 tons of plastic packaging, 744 million holiday cards and 8,000 tons of wrapping paper. The wrapping paper alone is the equivalent of approximately 50,000 trees. The biggest culprit of all – Black Friday.
With all that said, you still may find yourself lined up at 6AM on the morning of Black Friday, armed with a credit card and a Pumpkin Spice Latte – there is nothing wrong with that! But, perhaps you will consider making a small change towards a greener future. Maybe this year you can skip the wrapping paper or purchase Fair Trade paper.

waste wrapping paper
Whatever you do, just remember that no material item is worth fighting for! Enjoy this magical season and embrace this special time with your loved ones!
Happy Holidays!


Also published on Medium.

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