By Sara Stevens
For many, Black Friday has become just as much a part of the Thanksgiving weekend tradition as the meal itself.
While many stores have started opening for their sales earlier and earlier (midnight camping trip in the Walmart parking lot, anyone?), many people are starting to shun the crowds in favor of more meaningful experiences. Despite the promise of screaming good deals on new stuff that is supposedly going to make your life so much better, deep down we all know that we are not defined by our stuff. We are defined by our experiences.
The moment you swipe your card and are handed a receipt that shows you how much you saved, you may feel like you’ve done yourself a great service. “I got all this stuff, and look at how much I didn’t spend on it!”
But let’s be real. You may not have spent as much money as you would have if that stuff had been full price. And what are you going to do with that stuff once you get home?
If you bought more clothes you just acquired more laundry. Once those things are hanging in your closet (did you have enough hangers already? How much time did you spend looking for extras? Or making those new things fit into a drawer?). You now have more decisions to make every time you get dressed. Those seemingly small decisions may not seem like much, but over time they’re draining. Particularly when you consider how often you make a decision about that item versus how much use you actually get out of that item.
You may have saved some money, but how much are you paying in the time and energy used to clean, organize and make decisions about that stuff?
While shopping or buying new things is not inherently bad, the hype around days like Black Friday is false. Advertisers are trying to make you think that by not showing up to this sale you’re going to miss out. In reality, you’re not missing anything.
Those new things are only going to be exciting for a short period of time. As soon as you adapt to it’s presence, it’s no longer exciting or even all that interesting.
The memory of an experience lasts us so much longer and has a much stronger impact on us than having a lot of stuff. Spending time in nature, in particular, has many more long lasting effects than buying a thing. It’s been shown to improve memory and focus, relieve stress and restore mental energy, reduce systemic inflammation and boost your immune system.
So if you, like many others, are finding that the allure of holiday shopping is diminishing, choose to take the family outside and enjoy the benefits of all the natural wonders the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Consider joining Spears Strong for our Destination Hike at Forest Park up to Pittock Mansion and make it Nature Friday instead of Black Friday.