What is ‘Buy Nothing Day,’ anyway?

Day has been around since 1992, according to The Independent

. (Photo by Sharefaith from Pexels)

“Buy Nothing Day” -- ever heard of it?

An internet search pulls up the following: “Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden, (it’s) held the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, concurrent to Black Friday; elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November.”

Go a little bit deeper into your Google results and you might see people referring to the day as “the anti-Black Friday.”

The day has been “observed,” if you will, since 1992, according to The Independent.

“Invented by Canadian artist Ted Dave, the concept was picked up by the left-wing Vancouver magazine Adbusters -- also behind the Occupy Wall Street protest of 2011 -- and was popularized in North America before spreading around the wider world as ‘a day for society to examine the issue of overconsumption’ and the problems associated with consumer choices, not least the environmental impact of manufacturing,” the website says, in case you were looking for a more thorough explanation.

In a nutshell ...

Basically, Buy Nothing Day pushes back against the materialism that can sometimes be synonymous with the Christmas shopping season.

So, what if we did take a day to “buy nothing,” as the name suggests? (Or are you a die-hard Black Friday person who can’t imagine doing such a thing on one of the biggest shopping days of the year?)

Whether you’re actually taking a minute to contemplate the buy-nothing idea, or you’re shaking your head no, consider that there might be some middle ground here.

Some other ideas

We found a related campaign online called “Shift Your Shopping,” which encourages people to forego Black Friday and instead make their holiday purchases at locally owned and independent businesses -- which sounds a lot like Small Business Saturday.

In the past, some state parks have even offered free admission, as well, to encourage people to get outside on this day.

Maybe you’ll consider shopping locally instead of at the big box stores. Or perhaps you’ll split your time between the shops and the great outdoors.

Had you heard of Buy Nothing Day? Would you consider opting out of shopping? Let us know in the comments below! 👇

This story was first published in 2019. It has since been updated.