Try spending time, not money

Spending nothing for one day spreads awareness but isn’t entirely progressive.

Every year, the day after Thanksgiving brings millions of people out of their beds early in the morning and then out to shop. Entire extended families go out to malls and shopping centers in packs, with envelopes stuffed with clipped coupons and rebate certificates, armed with wallets full of credit cards. Whether it is because of the early bird specials or just family tradition, many Americans celebrate the unofficial first day of the holiday shopping season dubbed “Black Friday.” However, since 1992 many other people have started a new tradition, Buy Nothing Day.

Since its inception, Buy Nothing Day has brought awareness to tactics of over-consumption. Although many major media outlets decline advertising the day, it is gaining support. Now, the campaign is headed by Adbusters and is recognized in 65 countries. Last week, thousands across the globe protested Black Friday and the following Saturday by simply not shopping. Participation varies from those staging protests at malls to those who stay home and simply do not spend any money.

Over-consumption is something that is affecting our society today more than ever. Recent studies have found that American households’ consumption has increased by nearly 50 percent in the last two decades. Often the more we buy, the more we want, and, worse, the more we think we need to lead happy lives.

While Buy Nothing Day is a jab in the stomach of shopping traditions, it isn’t making as large of an impact as it could be. In reality, buying nothing on one particular day is not difficult to do at all and shouldn’t be considered entirely progressive. The campaign should encourage people to get more creative with their gift giving by giving second hand gifts or homemade presents.

College students are familiar with the pressures of giving quality gifts without spending much money. Thrift and craft stores offer many great options and ideas for meaningful presents.

This year, try spending time, not money.