The first image that pops into my head when I hear “Black Friday” is a hoard of people clamoring to get into a big box store to get their hands on that sweet new TV they don’t need. All I think about is how awful it must be to stand in line for hours, only to have hundreds, if not thousands of other people fighting you for every square inch, just so they can get there half a second before you do. It’s the finest example of American consumerism.
If this nightmare sounds at all familiar to you, you might be interested in trying something a little different this holiday shopping weekend – it’s not all about Black Friday, you know. Who says the biggest shopping weekend of the year has to include a new computer, or TV, or Xbox? Why can’t the biggest holiday shopping weekend of the year be about experiences and gifts with utility beyond entertainment?
I welcome you, my friends, to the realm of the non-traditional holiday shopping season:
The weekend after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping weekend of the year simply because everything is on sale. Everything.
If you’re down to travel on a whim and are pretty open to traveling just about, you can find incredibly cheap deals. I’m talking roundtrip flights to Asia starting at $500, or hotel stays off the Las Vegas Strip for under $20 a night. These airlines and hotels are basically gifting their services and someone should probably (read: definitely) take advantage of it.
If hasty travel isn’t really your cup o’ tea, there are still incredible deals out there for you. Travel sites like Intrepid Travel and Cheap Caribbean are known to post great deals for people looking to knock a couple of destinations off their bucket lists, and dozens of hotel chains are going to be offering countless rooms at heavily discounted prices. Just be sure to book through the hotel chain directly and not a travel site.
TREAT YO’ SELF
I don’t mean treat yourself to a 56-inch TV that will replace the 48-inch TV you bought last year, I mean treat yourSELF. Get something to help you (or your giftee) stay as happy and healthy as possible. This time of year is hard, what with the clock change and the truncated sunlight and all (truncated sunlight makes Jack a dull boy, or something), and one of the best ways to combat this is physical activity, movement, and exposure to sunlight (i.e. not what you get in the office five days a week).
Instead of buying an indoor, escape machine, maybe invest in a gym membership. They’re typically the cheapest around the new year #newyearsresolutions, but they have deals literally all year long – gyms will gladly take your money any chance they get.
Not really a gym rat? Fine. Get some sweet new outdoor gear and start going on walks or hikes or bike rides. All the required boots, shoes, warm clothes, and fancy bike spandex will definitely be on sale and you can outfit yourself for a fraction of the cost.
If you’re more interested in the mental side of the health spectrum, go and pick up a massage (or 12) and gift those. The ramp up to the end of the year and the prolonged exposure to family is enough to stress anyone out and there is no better way to melt that stress away than by having a stranger rub your body with oils in a dimly lit room. That’s a fact.
Everything about shopping for the holidays is stressful as hell. Let’s not get caught up in the conventional holiday shopping mode. Instead, let’s think about ways we can make the process easier for ourselves, and more enjoyable for the people we’re buying gifts for. Let’s make this holiday shopping season about experiences, and not things.
Until next time – Get yourself something nice.