7 Thanksgiving weekend alternatives

The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. Online retailers fought back with Cyber Monday. Some local companies promote Small Business Saturday. It’s all about shopping. Even if you’re shopping for others, you’re still spending money –sometimes, money that you don’t have.

Let’s take back our Thanksgiving weekends. Instead of rushing out after Thanksgiving dinner to wait in line for Black Friday deals, let’s spend time with family. Instead of elbowing our way through crowds or digging through sales bins, let’s be thankful for the gifts we already have. Instead of choosing cash, debit, or credit, let’s choose to give.

You don’t have to follow the crowd to the mall; you can start your own Friday tradition. Make your own Green Friday (do something green), Red Friday (pay down credit card debt), or Purple Friday (do something creative), suggests Winona Dimeo-Ediger (there are more colorful ideas in her blog post “7 Colorful Alternatives to Black Friday“).

Here are some non-shopping alternatives for the days after Thanksgiving in Hawaii:

1. Turn off the TV and throw out the newspaper. Unless it’s something that you already intended to buy, holiday commercials and ads are trying to sell you something you probably don’t need, and may not even want once the novelty wears off. So ignore temptation. 

2. Give back. Donate food, clothes, and household goods to a local charity. You will be able to clean up your pantry and closet, as well as appreciate all the things that you already have.

3. Clean up. On Sunday, December 1 at 8:30 am, join the Sierra Club to help clean-up Sandy Beach, Oahu. Meet at the eastern restroom. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring water and sunscreen. Bags and gloves will be provided.

4. Work it off. Work off the extra turkey, stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie. Go on a hike. Jog around the park. Swim at the beach. Paddleboard. Surf. Skateboard. On Thursday, November 28, you can join the 10-mile Turkey Trot with the Honolulu Marathon Clinic ($5 registration). On Saturday, November 30, you can hike Pu’u Ke’eke’ehia in Kula, Maui with the Maui Sierra Club (reservations required; donation requested); or take your dog on a hike along the Maunawili Ditch Trail in Waimanalo, Oahu with the Hawaiian Humane Society. On Sunday, December 1, you can hike the coastal sand-dune area of Maha`ulepu on the south shore of Kauai with the Kauai Sierra Club (donation requested); or run in the Silvia A. Martz Memorial 5K Run around Kapiolani Park in Waikiki ($15-$30 registration).

5. Get crafty. Encourage kids to make homemade cards and gifts for Christmas. Start a hobby that lets you make your own gifts, such as knitting, quilting, pottery, baking, or soap-making. On Friday, November 29, learn lau hala weaving or pua/haku lei making at Native Books/Nā Mea Hawai‘i in the Ward Warehouse in Honolulu (call Native Books at 596-8885 for details). On Saturday, November 30, learn the art of furoshiki (square fabric gift wrapping) with Evelyn Nakamura at the Manoa Public Library (RSVP required); or learn how to make a Xeric Holiday Wreath with Arthur Aiu at the Board of Water Supply’s Haleiwa Xeriscape Garden (call 748-5363; $5 registration).

6. Reach out. Call, write, or visit someone you’ve lost touch with. Whether it’s a relative, friend, neighbor, or teacher who inspired you, they will appreciate hearing from you.

7. Grow your garden. On Saturday, November 30, take a free “What’s Bugging You” workshop with Sharon’s Plants in Waimanalo, Oahu (RSVP required). On Sunday, December 1, go on a free aquaponics garden tour courtesy of Aquaponics Oahu in Aina Haina (RSVP required).

Do you enjoy the Black Friday shopping frenzy? How do you spend Thanksgiving weekend? Has the way you spend the Thanksgiving weekend changed in the past years?

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