Black Friday, Giving Tuesday, and the Freedom of Buy Nothing Day

Posted on November 24, 2018

Yesterday (November 23rd) was both Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day. In the USA, Black Friday (right after Thanksgiving for them) is the start of the Holiday shopping season. Here, in Canada, it's been gaining traction for almost a decade, with 6.4 million Canadians staying homefrom work to shop last year. In recent years, with the rise of online shopping, and especially internet access on mobile phone, Black Friday deals start earlier and run longer, even though last year saw a slumpin electronics sales in December, after the Black Friday rush was done.

So, the appeal of Black Friday is supposed to be the great deals on every sort of product (even though many Canadians still think Boxing Day has the better deals). So, what's the appeal of Buy Nothing Day?

Well, while it started as a sort of protest day against consumerism, it's taken on more nuancein recent years. Buy Nothing Day is more about conscious consumerism now, purchasing what you need, from ethical and local sources, when you need it. Otherwise, Buy Nothing Day would just mean people waiting to spend money a different day.

While we always encourage conscious consumerism, there are hidden benefits to shopping for local and ethical products. For one, seeking out local products can lead you to unexpected places! Our EcoStore is constantly looking for new local products to feature, and we find amazing people making amazing things all the time! For example, we started selling tea for the first time this year because we found a local tea maker! This is not the sort of thing we might have expected to find in Calgary!

One of the other benefits of conscious consumerism is in the stories it generates. On the one hand, every product you find has a story behind it: of how you found it, why you selected it, who was selling it, and so on. On the other hand, you can also look to purchase experiences over products: paying for an adventure, a night out with friends, or other activities that enrich your life without creating much waste. This also keeps our homes from filling up with products we don't need - especially around the holidays.

After the weekend of consumerism, we have Giving Tuesday, which is meant as a sort of palette cleanser. The idea is to pause and reconnect with the good things about this season: generosity, kindness, and community. This is done through volunteerism and philanthropy; it's about giving back to the causes that matter to you to make the world a better place. This is the true freedom of buying nothing - it lets you do more with less by giving back to the community.

So, this Giving Tuesday, check your social media feed for posts tagged #GivingTuesday and please give generously. If you'd like to support Green Calgary, you can do that on the donation page of our current Every Action Counts campaign. Find out more about the campaign at!

Thank you for reading and be sure to tell us how you celebrated Buy Nothing Day or your plans for Giving Tuesday by connecting with us on social media! You can find us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.