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How To Enjoy Thanksgiving and Black Friday (And NOT Shop)

This post might seem a bit off brand for us at Wrapped In A Ribbon. After all, we’re all about giving gifts and making people smile, and to give gifts you have to shop. But that smiling part is what’s most important to us, and Thanksgiving shouldn’t have to be about shopping.

I love the idea behind Thanksgiving. It has an intention and message that is more and more important in today’s world. When we’re all so busy and distracted, it’s wonderful to have a day to remind us to slow down, celebrate family and/or friends (whoever is family to you, even if they’re only the furry kind), and give thanks for even the smallest goodness in our lives.

Now, you might be thinking: That sounds great, but what about the Black Friday deals? The DEALS?

We get it. At Wrapped In A Ribbon, we LOVE deals, but only when they’re good deals and not when they come at the expense of family — and sanity.

It’s true that newspapers get thicker with ads for Black Friday around this time, and a $50 high-definition 75-inch TV might sound great. But the truth is that stores are out to make money, and their “deals” are carefully designed to help them do just that. I went into this a bit when I listed 8 Ways to Buy More Gifts for Less, but here’s really why you should put those deal flyers into your recycle bin and ways you can enjoy the holiday more.

Thanksgiving vs shoppingLOSS LEADERS

I used to work for a home entertainment magazine, and Black Friday was always a time for big news. This was before Netflix and streaming became a good way to watch movies, so DVDs and Blu-ray discs were in high demand. Because of that, they were often made into loss leaders for big stores. A loss leader is what Black Friday deals are all about. Advertise a highly popular item for a low price to get consumers in the door. But loss leaders aren’t designed to make the stores money on that item. A lot of times, they have limited quantities, but stores know that once a consumer is in the building and ready to open their wallets for deals, they’ll look for more. Stores are counting on you not finding the deal you wanted, but buying something else anyway so the trip isn’t wasted. And they know that the alternative item you buy won’t be at such a low price. You’ll end Black Friday having spent more than you planned and most likely getting items you didn’t want.

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If you want your loved ones to smile when you give them a gift, you want them to be quality items, not things that will break after a couple uses. But if that $50 TV I talked about above were a real Black Friday deal, chances are it would be a low quality brand. Sure, getting a big TV for a low low price is great, but TVs should be items that you buy once and don’t have to buy again for years. If you pay $50 for a TV that stops working a few months later, you’ll then have to spend even more than you would’ve if you’d bought a better quality at the beginning.


And frankly, if your gift shopping is on your radar all year round, you’re more likely to find better deals—the right deals for the right products—at other times of the year. Like all the end-of-season sales, post-Christmas sales, and even last-minute holiday sales when stores are trying to clear their stock. Stores need to make money throughout the year, and while so much attention has been given to Black Friday, the truth is that the best deals can be found at other times of the year.

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So, what should you do instead of shopping on Thanksgiving and the Friday after?



Be with family.

Get into nature.

See a movie. (You’re spending money, but you’re getting your money’s worth.)

And here are some other fun ideas that I enjoy:

Find tasty ways of using up all the leftover turkey. Like with this recipe for Thanksgiving Stuffed Shells, using turkey, sweet potato and dressing, from Taste of Home. Or this recipe for above average sandwich and cookie lunches from One Good Thing. Since I’ve had to switch to eating gluten-free, I’ve been wanting to try this Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza recipe from Tasty Yummies. It looks so good.

When you can’t eat another bite, how about getting ahead on Christmas or year-end gift giving in a way that’s fun and can include the whole family: Make some handmade gifts, like these thirteen from One Good Thing.

Or just gather your family and friends around and play a game. Here are some that look good to us.

So this holiday, recycle those Black Friday ads and instead enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Share these gifts!

Samantha Clark

Samantha Clark dreams of finding treasure, which is perhaps why she loves digging up just the right gift for her friends and loved ones. If someone says to her, "Wherever did you find this?!" with a big smile on their face, her day is made. Samantha also writes magical and mystical novels for readers who are young and young at heart.

Favorite gift themes: Cooking, books, gardening
Favorite fandoms: Gnomes, Star Wars, Nightmare Before Christmas
Hobbies: Reading, yoga, shopping -- for other people
Collects: Stamps, recipes, coins, badges and magnets

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