Friday 27 November 2015

Black Friday and the Reverse Advent Challenge

So today is Black Friday - or just "Friday" as we would have called it in my youth. I'm honestly not sure what my feelings are about this new day of pre-Christmas sales that has been introduced into the UK.

I can understand that it is an American tradition, like Thanksgiving, which us Brits also don't really celebrate. But it just isn't our culture or heritage this side of the pond.

While I like a bargain - and often go around charity shops looking for interesting or vintage things I can pick up cheaply - I feel a little uncomfortable about a cultural imposition that seems aimed at making us buy more stuff we probably don't need. Our landfill sites are already full to bursting, and I can't help but suspect that many people will later be throwing out perfectly usable items simply because they have been tempted to buy a newer, shinier model in the Black Friday sales.

So, instead of promoting any Black Friday deals, today I am blogging about the Reverse Advent Challenge - an idea being put forward by Streetbank, a movement that encourages people to give things away and share things.

The idea behind the Reverse Advent Challenge is to give away at least one thing every day in December. You can give seven a week or 24 at any point up to and including Christmas Eve. Give away something that is yours and that others could benefit from. It doesn't matter how you give it away - invite friends around for a give-away party, donate stuff to charity shops or foodbanks, advertise things on Freecycle, Streetbank or similar websites or social media sites. Give away clothes, jewellery, unused toiletries, tins of food, ornaments, crockery or cutlery, pictures, garden equipment, tools, rugs, cushions, cuddly toys or even items you have replaced with Black Friday bargains.

And that's what I am going to be getting on with sorting out today. I'm going to go through my wardrobe and cupboards and find 24 things to take to the charity shop. Only I won't be taking them there today - just the thought of heaving crowds in the high street out searching for cut-price stuff they probably don't need fills me with horror.

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