Have a Bright Friday! Alternatives to Black Friday Hustle

Abundance NC’s staff wishes all our amazing and beautiful friends in community a gorgeous holiday season, filled with the warmth of connection, gathering, sharing, wonder and love.
“On Black Friday, I love to go for a walk on our trails through the Chatham County woods and admire the leaves still changing colors and falling off the trees…
I love to take a big hunk of leftover turkey and dip it in a jar of mayonnaise (possibly Duke’s mayonnaise) and eat it for lunch.  This year all my cousins are in town and we will go see a movie.  The one about Queen.
There is no need to go shopping because we have everything we could ever possibly need.  I just want to enjoy this beautiful family that is so quirky, creative, hilarious and full of love.  I want to hear all the stories and tell them mine.  That is what I’m doing for Black Friday.”
~Tami Schwerin, Executive Director
“I’ve always hated black friday and I’ve never participated…
Big crowds aren’t really my thing (neither is staying up late or risking potentially getting trampled), and spending tons of money actually makes me a little depressed.  I don’t need “stuff” to fill my happiness bucket.  So, this year, I will probably spend it with the intention of truly focusing 100% of my energy on my two sons (ages 3 & 5) and seeing what we can create together without looking at our screens once during the day.
They both love to make art projects or go out in the yard and try to dig until they hit lava (their idea, not mine!). Maybe we will climb the 75-year-old maple tree and investigate the creatures that live in the nooks and crannies.  Maybe we will hike down to the Deep River.  We have no plans, and sometimes that’s the best way to live.”
~Amanda Sand, Bookkeeper
“This Friday – I’m going to burn a desk.

I know that sounds arbitrary – a little insane even.  But it’s something that I have to do.

This desk was the prettiest thing.  Antique.  Hardwood.  Handmade.  Straight out of a Jane Austin novel.  It’s the most decadent thing I’ve ever owned – an altar to everything I aspire to be.
And then I left it out in the rain.
For an entire month.  Under a leaky tarp.  In July.  And like a river after a long rain, it swelled into something unrecognizable. Call it laziness.  Call it apathy.  Perhaps an artifact of being a millennial?  Maybe she didn’t know any better.  Maybe she has a good excuse.  The truth is, I got busy and forgot about it.  And when I remembered that I had left the desk out in the rain, the guilt overrode by sense of responsibility.
This guilt expounded the longer I waited.  It became Schrodinger’s Desk – both ruined and perfectly intact as long as I didn’t peak under the tarp.  And so it sat for a month, waiting for me to muster up the courage to remedy my awful mistake.  Had I the gumption to face the problem right away, chances are the desk would have survived.  But it didn’t.
This lead me to the first principal of Adulting: being an adult means that you choose to tend to everything that you own or have inherited.  Including your teeth – brush them. No more turning up the music so that you can’t hear the grinding of your car brakes.  No more lending your precious items to friends who lose things.  No more leaving your desks out in the rain.  Sometimes this means letting things go – giving away what you cannot care for.
And so I am burning the desk.  Call it a ritual sacrifice to the adult that I’m becoming.  And what a better day than this Friday?
~Hannah Eck, Associate Director
“This time of year, the family rallies together–usually in the kitchen–where we continue the traditions of our mother’s-mother’s-mother’s and cook a hearty, nourishing meal meant for sharing…
I’ve incorporated going round the table and sharing one thing we’re grateful for over the past year. Each year my response follows a similar tac: I’m often heard saying “Every day this side of the grass is a good day.”
I have a lot to be thankful for. This year marks my fifth year in remission from breast cancer, and I know I would not be here if it weren’t for my now eight year old son.
Yes. You’re doing the math, seeing that he was just two years old when I received my diagnosis. He fought just as hard as I did, learning patience and compromise at that tender age. In some ways, I think he understands me better than some of my adult friends. He carries himself in a way I have only seen in the children of parents with chronic illness, or who have faced death. There is wisdom and great compassion in those young eyes. It is bittersweet.
So, this Friday, we’re going for an extended hike in the woods and along the Eno River. We’ll give gratitude to the land that holds us, the land that weathers storms like Florence and Matthew and returns renewed. We will ask to have this same resiliency within our selves, within our world rife with storms beyond the meteorological. Walking in nature eases stress, burns those additional calories from that second helping of pie, and brings my little family once more into harmony. It reminds us what matters most–love, simplicity, and togetherness. These are the building blocks of memories, having nothing to do with material things. Maybe you’ll see me out on the trail, guided by the huge heart of my son running along ahead.”
~Jenn Hansen, Operations Valkyrie
“When I first heard of Buy Nothing Day I was immediately on board…
 I remember having recently seen clips on TV of people getting trampled in a stampede after standing in line for hours to get some bargain on Black Friday. It was ludicrous to me that people would do that for “stuff”. Even though Buy Nothing Day never really caught on I will continue to observe it – as I have for years – and not go near a store on that day.
Forty years ago I was fortunate to hear a young Wendell Berry read this poem – which completely expressed my view toward the materialistic culture that we are all caught up in. It has come back to me many times over the years – and as I thought about Black Friday it came to me again. Thank you Wendell.
Wendell Berry (born 1934)
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.
Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”
~Charlotte Vetter, Chief Financial Officer
“I avoid shopping out there like it’s going to hurt.
The traffic. The crowds. The plinky holiday music. All the heartbreaking waste you can’t unsee – the world covered in stuff nobody needs.  I remember years ago buying my then 18-month-old daughter enough presents to confuse her on Christmas morning. The wrapping paper flying around the room, the piles of who-knows-what (long ago land-filled) filled me with a finally recognizable emptiness.
What was I doing here? And more deeply, what was my little daughter going to learn from all this if we continued? We stopped. No, not even another decorated tree. I still don’t know where all our ornaments went. We began celebrating 8 days of oil and the Macabbean victory against Empire, we began attempting to make Yule log cakes and lighting Solstice spirals, cutting evergreen branches and making window stars and beeswax candles. Homemade gifts were wrapped in reusable fabrics, and what presents there were, were few.
Sixteen years later my kids still don’t know what we “do” for the holidays – each year we feel it out and decide. We don’t need anything really. We’ve a warm house, candle light, flames rolling in the woodbox, talent and community. This Bright Friday we will be home, under the hilltop oaks, neverminding the whole thing. Marveling at another year gone by in health and purpose, with a good solid old farmhouse keeping us warm and dry. We’ll find friends late in the day around a campfire at a nearby farm, grateful for the beauty of gathering together, while our children’s voices join amongst the strumming of their gorgeously-played ukulele strings. Keeping it quiet, beautiful, ordinary…..and home.”
~Alisa Esposito, Creative Force