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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 3 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.

The Blackest of Fridays

Black Friday Buy More Stuff

Black (adj.): characterized by tragic or disastrous events; causing despair.

—New Oxford American Dictionary

This Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year: Black Friday. Retailers prepare months in advance for this 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.

Consumption is an unquenchable thirst. Both of us know and understand this too well. In our corporate jobs of yesteryear, we both managed large numbers of retail stores.

The pernicious aspects of Black Friday are not few. The pandemonium of this day is a metaphor of our consumer culture. 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 any amount of material possessions.

But there are better ways to live a meaningful life.

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.

Thankfully, our Christmas shopping is already complete: no gifts. We refuse to buy material items for people to display our love. Rather, we prefer to showcase our love, caring, and affection through our daily actions—every day, not just holidays.

If still you want to give a gift to someone, why not gift an experience—like a nice meal, tickets to a concert or play, 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.