Today many of us are likely to turn our attention from humbly giving thanks to frantically shopping for gifts. It's the Friday after Thanksgiving, that unofficial holiday from work that's traditionally one of the most frenzied shopping days of the year.
The day known for its shop-until-you-drop mentality packs mall parking lots and tests the limits of charge cards and civilized behavior. And it's only the first of 26 gift-buying days leading up to Christmas--that marketing-engineered, advertisement-driven ritual of overconsumption.
But for five years now, a contrary message has been creeping into public awareness. There's an international movement afoot to recognize the day after Thanksgiving as "Buy Nothing Day"--a holiday from shopping instead of for shopping.
It's not meant as punishment nor is it meant to be anti-business.
"Buy Nothing Day is a 24-hour moratorium on buying," a day off for contemplating the personal and planetary impact of runaway consumerism, says the Media Foundation, a Vancouver, Canada-based nonprofit advocacy group and chief sponsor of Buy Nothing Day.
What can you do to support the effort?
Advocates have a few suggestions: Try to go 24 hours today without making a single purchase; cut up one of your credit cards; or consider spending less money but more time with your loved ones. You can also spread the word by displaying Buy Nothing Day posters that you can find and print out at the Foundation's Web site at http://www.adbusters.org