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Businesses like Patagonia have been combating the chaos and consumer greed of Black Friday for the past decade. Patagonia began its push against the “holiday” in 2010 with an article, published by the New York Times, entitled Don’t Buy This Jacket. The business continues to recommend alternative Black Friday ideals towards something more relevant to current events. In their more recent 2020 blog on the subject of Black Friday, the writers at Patagonia noted Black Friday’s environmental impact, with carbon emissions for everything from manufacturing and shipping products to the wastefulness of fast fashion as the main culprit.
For teachers that want to present their students with alternatives to participating in Black Friday, here are some options you can offer to your classroom for inspiration this November.
Patagonia is not alone in its effort to reverse consumer ideals around the holiday season. There are organizations all over the world that offer heartening alternatives to shopping name-brand businesses during Black Friday.
The outdoor clothing brand REI developed Opt Outside as a counter to Black Friday, instead encouraging people to enjoy nature versus crowding indoors to shop. Their goal was to take the spotlight off of consumerism and instead focus on the free, memorable, and more fulfilling nature that is already around us. Today, the clothing company will match donations made to their REI Cooperative Action Fund, which directly supports organizations promoting justice, equality, and environmental conservation.
You and your students could take a walk outside for a field trip, or inspire parents to donate to a non-profit that supports environmental conservation instead of buying presents.
As an alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday started in 2012 and prompts families to donate to a non-profit or to offer a helping hand in their neighborhood through such activities as volunteering at a food shelter or starting a community pantry by donating goods.
Continuing the conversation of generosity and the impact it makes on the community never goes out of style. Doing good and sharing kindness during the holiday season can combat loneliness for anyone in need. You can encourage your students to continue the giving theme November is famous for.
Some families participate in Black Friday simply because it seems like the thing to do. Here are a few activities in which your student’s guardians or relatives can partake instead.
Similar to REI’s Opt Outside movement, visiting a museum is a great way to soak in cultural ideas and influence intelligent conversation. As a bonus, while most people are out shopping, the museum will likely be less crowded so students can enjoy the artwork more peacefully.
No matter one’s age, self-care is a vital part of maintaining good mental health. Self-care for children, according to Child Savers, a Virginia nonprofit organization that helps children develop a future of lifelong learning through proper mental health, is essential at all ages.
You could have a conversation with students about what self-care is, how it may look different for their guardians than it might for them, and ways to get started based on their age. For young kids, this may be brushing their hair themselves. For middle schoolers, this could be preparing their own meals. For high schoolers, it could be spending time being creative or active.
The act of giving and receiving is a tradition that surpasses 21st-century purchasing habits and brings people together in a ritual of exchange. However, there is still an opportunity to make room for new traditions. A closet cleanse is a great way to encourage students to let go of their past possessions, such as items that don’t fit anymore or they don’t wear, to underscore growth and development and promote a lifestyle that’s less belongings-centric.
There are myriad alternatives to combat the trend of fast fashion, consumerism, and instant gratification. Giving students the framework to learn new lessons can shape their lives for the better. If you’re looking for more ideas or ways to enhance your classroom lessons, check out our other blogs or contact us today to get started.