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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 2 million readers. As featured on: CBS, BBC, NPR, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Dark Friday

Shed Some Light on Black Friday, Photo by Joshua Fields Millburn

We’ll call it Christmas when the adverts begin.

—Damien Rice, “The Animals Were Gone”

This Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year: Black Friday. Retailers prepare months in advance for this dark day—preparation that’s meant to stimulate your insatiable desire to consume: Doorbuster sales. New products. Gigantic newspaper ads. TV, radio, print, billboards. Sale, sale, sale! Early bird specials. One day only! Get the best deal. Act now! While supplies last.

The Minimalists would, however, like to shed some light on this darkest of Fridays. It’s important to understand that consumption is an unquenchable thirst. Retailers and advertisers and manufacturers know this too well. And thus, they’ve invented an entire day designed to take advantage of your insatiable desire to consume.

The pernicious aspects of Black Friday are not few. The pandemonium of this day is a synecdoche for our consumer culture as a whole. On this day, people consume gluttonously without regard for the harm they’re inflicting on themselves. On this day, greed becomes ravenous. On this day, people live without real meaning, buying gifts to fill a void that can’t possibly be filled with material possessions.

Sadly, people participate in the rapacious nature of Black Friday in the name of a holiday, as if buying gifts was an ideal way to celebrate Christmas. But thankfully, you have options.

Instead of embracing Black Friday, you can Block Friday. You can refuse to buy material items for people to display your love. Rather, you can showcase your love, caring, and affection through daily actions—every day, not just holidays.

If you want to give gifts, why not gift an experience—a nice meal, tickets to a concert, or a sunset on the beach? After all, the best, most loving gift you can give someone is your time and undivided attention.

Will you join us? Will you opt out of Black Friday? If not, why not?

Please regift this essay.