By Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com
Black Friday is that infamous time of year when we forget everything we learned the day before about gratitude, and go stark raving mad for things. Most people know what to expect at a Black Friday sale, some might even enjoy the chaos. However, for those looking to avoid the usual frenzy, here are ten things to do on Black Friday besides shop.
Just Take It Easy
Let’s face it, Holidays can be stressful. So once the final load of dishes have been put away, why do anything at all? When was the last time you slept in, played fetch with your dog, or just enjoyed a good book? Instead of charging into a department store to fight over the latest iPhone, allow yourself to actually enjoy your holiday. Kick back, relax, and let the day unfold on its own.
Have a Game Night
Heat up some leftovers and let the games begin! Break out your old copies of Monopoly or Clue and spend the day playing as a family. For those who live alone, try inviting some friends over for a game of Charades or Pictionary. If the weather is kind and sports are more to your liking, there’s always a good, old-fashioned game of baseball. Spending time with others is often more fulfilling than a new purchase.
Visit a Museum
Or a zoo, or an aquarium, or any number of interesting places. With most people flocking to the mall on Black Friday, you’ll find a lot of normally crowded areas have become quite bare. Theme parks usually see smaller crowds and shorter lines, making it the ideal time for large groups of thrill-seekers. Families can also take advantage of educational exhibits without worrying about outside distractions. If you’re fortunate, you may even find some places offering reduced rates.
What does the weather look like? If it’s not too cold and the forecast looks good, consider spending the day outdoors. A walk in the woods might help assuage some of the guilt for that third piece of pie (no judgment), and it’s always nice to get some fresh air. Check to see if there are any hiking trails or scenic paths in your area. Who knows what beautiful sights there are to see just over the hill?
Spend Time with God
It’s a sad truth that Thanksgiving and Christmas, the two holidays perhaps most associated with God, are completely overrun with consumerism. If you’re tempted to break out your Christmas List on Black Friday, maybe you should pull out your Bible instead. Spend some quiet time with God. Read though the book of Ephesians, or get ready for the Advent Season by reading Luke 2. Take some time to count your blessings and give thanks for them.
Run A 5K
If you’re not much of a hiker, and don’t feel like traveling, why not consider running a 5K? It’s not uncommon for some towns to have a Turkey Trot on or after Thanksgiving, usually to benefit a charitable cause. These races are usually close, fun, and easy to finish. 5K’s also provide a way to meet new people and shed a few pounds during the Holidays. So strap on your running shoes and make for the finish line!
Turn Up the Romance
Just because it’s not Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t be romantic. Take advantage of the days off to spend time with someone special. Maybe combine some of the previous entries to make a date. If you’re a parent with children, try asking relatives to babysit for a few hours so you and your spouse can have some privacy. This is a golden opportunity to build your relationship, don’t waste it.
Go Apple Picking
People tend to underestimate how fun apple picking can really be. Families can hold contests over who can pick the biggest apple, or the reddest, or the shiniest. The orchards themselves often have more to do then simply collect apples. There may be a petting zoo, carriage rides, corn mazes, even doughnuts. If you’re looking to get away from the insanity of Black Friday, give apple picking a try.
Visit a Relative
Typically, Thanksgiving is one of the major times of year when visiting relatives is practically mandatory. That’s not always the case though, sometimes people are too old or too sick to do much traveling. Family has always been an important part of Thanksgiving, and if someone can’t make the journey to you, try making the journey to them. Use Black Friday as an opportunity to catch up with family members, treat them to dinner or a night out. You never know how much their visit might mean to them.
Decorate For Christmas
Thanksgiving is an important and valuable holiday that deserves to be respected. Once it’s over though, it’s Christmas time! Break open your winter storage, get the extension cords ready, and prepare to burn a whole day setting up Christmas decorations. Whether is a monotones chore like putting lights on the house, or something more family-friendly like decorating the tree, you won’t find a better time than Black Friday. Take the day and get ready for the Advent season.