Buy Nothing Day 2022: History, Significance and Activities

Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against consumerism. It is celebrated every year concurrently with the Black Friday in the United States. 

Everywhere else, it is held on the day after. No matter what day you choose to celebrate Buy Nothing Day on, it is all about drawing attention to the issue of overconsumption. 

In an effort to combat the unethical and sometimes even dangerous mob shopping behaviors of Black Friday, artist Ted Dave established this anti-consumerism holiday in 1992. The idea is to counteract the madness of holiday shopping by encouraging a mindful and environmentally friendly attitude toward post-feast purchasing. 

Event Buy Nothing Day
Date November 25, 2022
Day Friday
Significance The day draw attention to the issue of overconsumption.
Observed by United States


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Buy Nothing Day History: 

The consumer society emerged in the late 17th century and intensified throughout the 18th century. While some claim that change was propelled by the growing middle-class who embraced new ideas about luxury consumption and about the growing importance of fashion as an arbiter for purchasing rather than necessity, many critics argue that consumerism was a political and economic necessity for the reproduction of capitalist competition for markets and profits.  It is true that consumerism benefitted customers greatly but over time it has also been used by large firms to simply take advantage of the people through over-consumption or exploitation. 

And Black Friday since its start played a very crucial role in it as it is the day during which most of the shopping takes place in the country. Because of it was made a societal culture or tradition to go for a large shopping for the celebrations of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. However it was also seen that this led to many issues such as over-consumption which often caused financial issues for the middle class and also because of discounts and offers it was also seen as a waste of resources because of over-purchasing. Because of large crowds during this event many people also died because of stampede or from other issues so this day protests mindless shopping. 


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To address all of these issues, Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver, Canada by artist Ted Dave in September of 1992. It is considered a day for society to assess the overconsumption problem. It was not until 1997 that a lot of countries decided to move the date to the Friday following American Thanksgiving, i.e. Black Friday. This is one of the world’s busiest shopping dates, so holding it on this date obviously has a very symbolic meaning. Anyone who has ever seen what happens in North America during the Black Friday sales understands all too well why it was high time that we take a step back and look at ourselves, our behavior, and contemplate the meaning of all of the Black Friday madness.

Soon after Buy Nothing Day was created, campaigns to have a similar day of reflection started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Norway. More than 65 nations currently participate in it. Adbusters, a company responsible for the inital promotion of Ted Dave’s idea for Buy Nothing Day, states that the day “isn’t just about changing your habits for one day” but “about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste.” 


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Buy Nothing Day Significance: 

Consumerism has been widely criticized by both individuals who choose other ways of participating in the economy (i.e. choosing simple living or slow living) and experts evaluating the effects of modern capitalism on the world. Experts often assert that consumerism has physical limits, such as growth imperative and overconsumption, which have larger impacts on the environment, including direct effects like overexploitation of natural resources or large amounts of waste from disposable goods, and larger effects like climate change. Similarly, some research and criticism focuses on the sociological effects of consumerism, such as reinforcement of class barriers and creation of inequalities.

On this day, Americans practice National Buy Nothing Day in an effort to mediate the exorbitant amounts of waste and auxiliary spending that can often occur in the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas. The idea is that, after spending on food, decor, travel, and lodging for Thanksgiving, the nation should go on a spending detox by enjoying the day at home or in nature instead of just spending on things which aren’t even necessary especially those which we spend because of societal pressure thinking what others might think. So this day aims to bring change in this attitude. 


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Those of us who are fortunate enough to have auxiliary funds can sometimes fall into the trap of keeping up with the rest of the society by making purchases without much forethought. On this day each year, we have the opportunity to practice the pause and condense our holiday shopping lists to only the items that will make a significant impact for our lives and not those things whichight never do anything good for us. It happens most if the times that sometimes we get so carried away with shopping that we make purchases which doesn’t makes any sense or not gonna impact our lives in any positive way so this day is a time to reflect on our necessities.  

This dat is also an excuse for many people who doesn’t actually likes shopping and are forced into shopping for the day by friends or family. Along with that this is also a great way for savings as well as life is uncertain so who knows when we might need money in case of emergency sp it is always better to have a little extra saving with us especially in the time when we are seeing rising inflation all over the world. So instead of spending your whole day in hectic shopping for day after Thanksgiving, you can use this opportunity to have a nice time with your friends and family elsewhere. 


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Buy Nothing Day Activities: 

There are a lot of different events and activities that take place on this date around the world. For example, in Rhode Island, the Buy Nothing Coat Exchange has been going on for around 20 years, and it is something that has spread to a lot of other places. For example, in Oregon, Utah, and Kentucky, there is a similar Winter Coat Exchange that happens on this date. 

Various gatherings and forms of protest have been used on Buy Nothing Day to draw attention to overconsumption like credit card cut-up during which participants stand in a shopping mall, shopping center, or store with a pair of scissors and a poster that advertises help for people who want to put an end to mounting debt and extortionate interest rates with one simple cut. Namely, by destroying their credit card by cutting it with the scissors. 

Another funny way to celebrate this day is Zombie Walk during which participant “zombies” wander around shopping malls or other consumer havens with a blank stare. When asked what they are doing, participants describe Buy Nothing Day.

You can also take part in public protests to raise this issue or simply you can enjoy this moment with your closed ones after the Thanksgiving in their company many fun activities instead of shopping. In this way you will also ne able to strengthen your relationship with them. 

Most Searched FAQs on Buy Nothing Day: 

1. When is Buy Nothing Day celebrated? 

Buy Nothing Day is annually celebrated concurrently with the Black Friday in US. 

2. What are the benefits of Buy Nothing Day? 

It encourages people to think about how much money they’re needlessly spending. Also, it helps consumers control the urge to buy things compulsively and spend wisely. Finally, it shows that your personal happiness doesn’t revolve around material objects. 

3. Who founded Buy Nothing Day? 

Buy Nothing Day was founded by Canadian artist Ted Dave in 1992. 

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