Black Friday? Grey Thursday? How About Clear Wednesday?

by Katy on November 27, 2013 · 20 comments

Today is Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. For me it means cleaning the house in anticipation of guests, writing and then shopping from a very detailed grocery list, prepping anything that can be done ahead of time, (cranberry sauce, pie crusts, trimmed vegetables) and looking forward to my favorite holiday tradition, which is pie-for-breakfast Friday.

You may notice that gift shopping, planning shopping and thinking about shopping is nowhere to be seen on my itinerary. I will not be shopping on Black Friday, and it’s not really a bold statement or a grand pronouncement, it’s simply the logical choice.

I want you to take a moment and try and remember what gifts you bought last year. How about two years ago? Now try and remember what gifts you received last year, now go back two years. Drawing a blank? Exactly.

Buying gifts does not matter all that much.

This year I plan on turning some of my older son’s artwork into T-shirts, and I will be painting and decorating a bedside table/stool for my younger son. I’ll also give each of them a $10 gift certificate to our local art supply store, thanks to Small Business Saturday, and then I’ll probably come across some quirky items in thrift shops to fill things in. My husband and I do not exchange Christmas gifts, as is the case with the of majority of the adults in our families and social circles.

I feel good about this plan, and think we can be generous without going to any big box stores, malls or the like. We’ll invite people to our home to share meals and company, find snow on Mt. Hood to play in and look around at a house that’s already overfilled with stuff.

Today is Wednesday, and I feel clear that endless shopping makes no one happier and everyone a little bit more broke.

It’s called Clear Wednesday. Pass it along.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Bellen November 27, 2013 at 10:53 am

Love the Clear Wednesday.
Have only shopped once, maybe 30 years ago, on Black Friday and even way back then it was horrendous – unruly crowds, overpriced junky toys, etc.
I will be shopping on Small Business Saturday at a small strip mall that is only made up of local businesses and 4 of those sell consignment and/or used items my kind of store!!


Katy November 27, 2013 at 11:05 am

I used to enjoy shopping at REI the day after Christmas, but that went away for me.



A. Marie November 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

Loud cheers for Clear Wednesday, as well as for Quiet Thursday with Family/Friends and Noncommercial Friday. I’m spending today making my contribution to our Thanksgiving dinner with friends in far western NY State; we will travel to this venue and then eat the dinner on Thursday; and we’ll spend Friday roaming the snow-dusted hills with said friends. The only money that may change hands Friday may be in one or two Amish shops–and the Amish, last I heard, do not observe Black Friday. (If anything’s changed there, I’ll let you know.)


Janice November 27, 2013 at 11:26 am

True that! I couldn’t agree more. FINALLY, after suggesting it 2 years ago and getting shot down, my in-laws adopted a no gifts for adults policy for the holiday this year. I’m thrilled! Rushing around buying nonsense for someone, just to wrap it for that 3 minute reaction, leaves everyone feeling empty. Unless you find the perfect preowned gift, it’s a let down that costs too much and has too much packaging. Last year I found a $1 painting in our good will store of a mother and child for my sister in law. That was worth it for me, but I’m actually unsure if she liked it as much as I did! Your website and mantra has changed and invigorated my perspective completely. I delight in road side pickups, and my preowned clothes are my favorites. As I clear my closets and recycle my stuff, I feel more clear headed and less cluttered than ever. And let me tell you how much less trash we have! I combine my errands and ride my bike. When I use up things in my cabinets, the meal never tasted better. I love it! So thank you, this thanksgiving, Katy.


Patti November 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I love it! I have baked today and cleaned and now I am going to relax and enjoy the rest of the day. Tomorrow we will drive up to eat with both of our families. We’ll come back through the mountains (depending on the weather) to pick out and cut our Christmas tree, only because the place where we get it is only open this weekend. The rest of the weekend I will devote to several homemade Christmas gifts and other hobbies. I may go to the local bookstore on Saturday to support them. I have no intentions of doing any other shopping this weekend. There is NOTHING I need or want badly enough to go out into that crazy mess.


marie November 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm

No shopping for me either. The media has created such a feeding frenzy about friday shopping, that’s it’s not worth it. There will always be things left to buy after black friday
Still haven’t been accepted into unemployment yet, so present shopping is up in the air.
Spending my day baking. Going to brother-in-law’s for turkey day, so I’ve made boysenberry pie from berries out of the freezer. Pumpkin cheesecake from pumpkin out of the freezer, and taking my famous pickled garlic that I canned in september.
Hope everyone enjoys their holiday 🙂


Kay Clifton December 1, 2013 at 5:49 am

If pickled garlic is famous and loved, sounds like great gifts. I would love it.


Laraba November 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I grew up in a family where gift giving was very important, especially on my father’s side. Right after our marriage, I found myself painfully trying to find gifts for everyone on both sides of our families, in spite of the fact that no one really needed anything.

Our first child was born 4 days before Christmas, and that year I decided I had a “get out of jail card” for massive Christmas shopping. I realized then how FREEING it was to just not do it! We now only buy gifts for our children and our children’s cousins (and they have 2 cousins with another on the way.) If we run across something that we know would delight a relative, we buy it for him or her. But I don’t put any pressure on myself to buy gifts for people. It has been one of the reliefs of my life because I find gift giving very stressful. I know some people enjoy it and that’s great, it is just not me!

One funny thing is we had 2 more children born within a week of Christmas … and another born in late November. So we have often been busy with new babies around Christmas.


Sheila November 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm

We are at the seashore in Northern California like we are every thanksgiving. We take a week long family vacation and have been doing so every year for 34 years. We will be taking a long hike during the day and then reheating a simple turkey dinner that we picked up from a local (and very good) deli. We have cooked this week , but not turkey. We have been here all week and will be here through the weekend. Absolutely no shopping for us. Just family, nature and peace. I would not change it for all the gifts in the world.


Amanda November 28, 2013 at 6:58 am

My husband and I went to walmart at 6 am one Black Friday. We *may* have been hoping just a little to see a fight. It was just a bunch of sleepy looking well-behaved people. The sales have never really appealed to me–I don’t buy big screen TVs for anyone on our list.


Katy November 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

And I have a sneaking suspicion that those big-screen TV’s are bought not as gifts, but for the buyers themselves.

My enormous, but free hand-me-down TV looks better and better every day!



Ruby J. November 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm

I love the idea of Clear Wednesday. For years, my husband and I have “given” each other the gift of a donation to a local charity for Christmas. On Wednesday, I wrote that check and put it in the mail. It always makes me feel humble, thankful, and joyful all at once to do that.


Megyn November 28, 2013 at 6:20 pm

I did the Black Friday thing once when I was like 13…and it was only for a freebie at Mervyns that I now realize was stupid. At 17, I had to work Black Friday for the first time and have no desire to participate since. I may go to Ikea on Saturday though to grab the dishes we have for $5/set. We started with two full sets, but our two small boys have left us with few. I’ve been scouring second hand stores for months and haven’t found a single piece to add. Plus with my entire family coming for the holidays, I figure $5 for reusable dishes is far cheaper than having to buy disposables and more eco-friendly.


Yankeegal November 29, 2013 at 3:46 am

Love this post and all of the replies! I have never been a fan of “black Friday” shopping. Back in 1984(yikes!) when I was pregnant with my first child, I witnessed 2 women actually fist fighting over the then popular cabbage patch doll. Fast forward to today when you can see the same thing over a large screen TV on any news channel. I think I will pass!


Betsey November 29, 2013 at 7:34 am

I agree with no shopping but for an entirely different reason.
I am single, 64, and don’t view pregnancy in my future. God was smart to invent younger mothers!
I do not have any heirs, so I don’t buy much. I have living room, bedroom, and dining room furniture with a few tasteful decorating items. I gave away china, silverware, artwork, etc. to those who needed/wanted it years ago. My clothing consists of one small closet in which everything goes with everything else and I consider myself well-dressed. I have exactly what I need and want, nothing more, nothing less. I lead an active and full life, so why put myself through the ridiculousness of crowds and traffic just to snatch something no one I know wants?
There are so many good, sensible people on this thread. I love reading your ideas and thoughts.


Kelly November 29, 2013 at 9:31 am

Christmas since my daughter was born has taken on a whole new meaning for me. When she was 5 months old my marriage completly disintergrated and that first Christmas I had almost nothing to spend. I managed to put together a stocking and one gift from Santa and one toy and a new outfit from me. For me it was one of the best Christmases ever. Last two years I’ve followed the same layout and Christmas has really been a beautiful holiday filled with love and compainionship. I can actually still tell you everything we bought last year, more importantly my daughter can still tell you what she got last year. Most of that list was for children we didn’t even know. I introduced my daughter to the ideas of giving and donating because I truely feel that it is crucial that she understands just how fortunate we are, because I understand just how close we came to it going the other way. Last year and this year again we will clean through her toys and put together a donation pile and visit local Santa’s helper trees and pick as many kids as we can to purchase for. My daughter (now 3.5 yo) still talks about last year and is super excited about doing it again this year.

Thank you for sharing and your great ideas. It is encouraging for me to see that when Alice is a teenager that maybe the lessons I’m trying to teach her today will still stick! Happy Holidays!


Katy November 29, 2013 at 11:27 am


It sounds like you’ve taken the opportunity to create your own holiday traditions that are a million times better than the process of shop-shop-shopping.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Kelly November 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I guess I have. It is so much more rewarding to see the joy in Alice’s eyes when the people at the collection sights talk to her about what a difference she is making in someones Christmas. I still believe in Santa and I get to see it everytime her face lights up at the prospect of making a strangers christmas special.

This is my favorite Christmas time quote, it reminds me about what the holidays should really be about.

“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy…”


Diane C November 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm

OMG! I confess that DH and I actually went to Target yesterday. It was late afternoon, so the crowds had dissipated. Main goal was to nab the 20% off after $75 spend coupon. We bought him new work pants (he’s lost 60 lbs!) and a couple of small items to make up the total. I will use the coupon next week for groceries and other necessaries that don’t often go on sale. With that, I will be done with all holiday shopping. This is the first time I’ve shopped on BF in years. The most fun part of the experience was that we walked to the store. No parking hassles!
BTW, DH and I do not exchange gifts either. Now that he has pants that fit, we both have everything we need.


Sadye December 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Next year, will you please advertise pie-for-breakfast Friday? I liked that idea very much … just wish I’d snagged pie and brought it back!


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