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Thankful Thursday, not Black Friday

Christian Nofziger | Monday, November 18, 2013

Every year, as Thanksgiving rolls around, I get a little sappy – in the tree as well as the emotional sense. I can’t help but marvel at all there is around me to be thankful for and appreciate. I live on a beautiful and wondrous planet. I have a warm and welcoming family to celebrate with (let me tell you that GreenMom’s tofurkey is a pure delight). And, I have loyal readers like you with whom to share my thoughts and dreams.
As you all get ready for the seasonal migration back to your family and friends, take a look around your dorm room. Are there things you aren’t really using or that would be better enjoyed by a friend, sibling or relative? I know I’ve already packed up a beach ball and pom-poms for my sister and a Frisbee for GreenDog just from what I have in my room. When you get home, I challenge you to take a serious look at the inventory of stuff you have in your room, the basement or the attic. Do you need everything you have? Would you be able to give an underused/underappreciated item new life by giving it to someone else?
There are some great alternatives to flocking to stores in the wee-hours the morning after Thanksgiving, often adopting a “get out of my way or get run over by this cart” mentality in the hopes of snagging a discounted iPad Air. As stores challenge each other to open earlier and earlier (some even opening on Thanksgiving) in order to provide opportunities for sales and big savings, take a step back and think about all the more rewarding ways you could be spending your day off.
On Black Friday, cars are on the road earlier than they would be on a normal day and stores are open hours earlier than usual. Some stores don’t even close, and the amount of print advertising sent out in preparation for this event is jaw dropping. We’ve all heard that the 17 percent of the world’s population that lives here in the United States consumes nearly 80 percent of the world’s resources, but it’s pretty scary to see it happening before your eyes.
So before you pack a snack to eat at 4:30 a.m. in a box-store parking lot, think about how grateful the planet would be if we all slept in, ate leftovers and had a gift making party on Friday instead. You know that reindeer sweater grandma made you six years ago that you’ve never removed from the box? Repurpose it into a throw pillow that will surely start a conversation on your futon, or even get more creative and make it into coasters (really, Google it).
I challenge you – instead of shopping on Black Friday – to extend your Thanksgiving celebration with your friends, family and loved ones by continuing to spend time together. Be an active participant in the “Buy Nothing Day” movement and buy absolutely nothing the Friday after Thanksgiving. Shop for gifts in your own closet or at resale shops and give new purpose to items that would otherwise be lifeless in a cabinet. And, if you can’t think of a way to repurpose something, drop it off at a local Goodwill or Salvation Army and they’ll do it for you.

Email your predicaments to The GreenMan at
askthegreenman@gmail.com and let him answer you with a sustainable twist. The GreenMan will be here every other week to provide you with insights you never knew you were missing out on until now.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.