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Is it 'Black Friday' or 'Buy Nothing'?

"Black Friday." The term doesn't sound so exciting, but many people are very excited about this special Friday after Thanksgiving that launches the holiday shopping season.

Well, I still remember some of those Fridays in the past. I got up early in the morning around 5 a.m. to go shopping with my mother. I have never been a shopaholic, but I love bargains.

In the midst of the enthusiastic shoppers with carts full of stuff, the excitement carried me away. I also loaded my cart with items that were such good deals that I shouldn't pass them by.

Today, I still have jewels I bought more than 10 years ago that I haven't used. I bought them because they were on sale, 75 percent off.

The interesting thing is I don't wear jewels. Why did I spend over $200 buying something just because it was a good deal? I can't figure it out today. I have to say it was not a smart thing to do.

That's why I didn't go shopping on Black Friday this year. I slept in and had a very relaxed day at home. No rushing, no pushing, no running around from store to store, just relaxing peacefully at home. But I was not without temptation.

On Thanksgiving morning, the newspaper with the fat advertisement flyers awaited me with warm attractive greetings -- door busters, early-bird specials, free coupons, etc.

One store gave away $10. Wow, free money! Who doesn't like free money? I could buy something without spending money. At least it could cover the gas expense for the shopping trip.

Look at the slow cooker on sale! The old slow cooker I have at home is well over 10 years old. It has aged so much, it's near kaput. I could really use a newer and bigger one.

How about that pressure cooker? I have always wished I had one pressure cooker. It would save me some time when I do my weekly cooking of dry beans.

Well, there were so many things that I wished I could have. Yes, it would be nice to have things that are better, bigger, more convenient, more powerful and more comfortable. But I also know that I already have what I need. That's good enough for me. Besides, I didn't want to do any more stupid things like I did in the past. I have learned my lessons.

I also wanted to support the "Buy Nothing Day."

Buy Nothing Day is an informal day of protest against consumerism, observed by social activists.

The first Buy Nothing Day started in Vancouver in 1992. A decade later, it spread to over 60 countries. In the U.S., Buy Nothing Day is the Friday after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, the busiest shopping day in the U.S.

I am not trying to elevate myself to a social activist. But I really like the ideology behind the Buy Nothing Day that our society needs to examine the issues of over-consumption, compulsive spending and instant gratification.

Buy Nothing Day is not about changing buying habits for just one day, it's about changing lifestyle and making lasting commitment to consuming less and producing less waste.

Another interesting initiative originated in California is called Compact. A group of 10 friends made a vow to not buy anything new for a whole year in 2006. The Compactors bought second-hand. They bartered, borrowed, recycled, re-used and re-gifted. Now this group has grown to include an online Compact community around the globe. Their story has appeared on media outlets around the world.

I found both initiatives appealing.

Whether the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day, it's a personal preference and choice. I chose it to be Buy Nothing Day. I really enjoyed buying nothing and doing nothing. It was a rare and welcome opportunity for me to relax. I used the free time to look through all the photos taken in the year and select some for printing holiday cards.

Now I am looking forward to the next holiday. My Christmas cards are already done.