Black Friday Ban

dec27_unwanted-gifts.jpgLet’s see. As I type this, it’s Black Friday, and a Wal-Mart employee has been trampled to death by a crowd of crazed shoppers and two men are dead after exchanging gunfire at a – wait for it – Toys R Us. If that doesn’t give you pause, I don’t know what will. Look – our love for commercialized holidays probably won’t go away anytime soon, but when people are stepping on their fellow human beings – and in this case, I use that term loosely – in order to get that much closer to a stupid Wii or flat-screen TV, well, we all lose.

So how can we enjoy the holidays without losing ourselves to the madness? For starters, stop feeding the craziness by avoiding the mall during peak shopping times. 5am Black Friday opening times occur because there are, strangely, people willing to set their alarm and take part. Wouldn’t you rather sleep in than fight the crowds?

And with the widespread growth of online shopping, there’s really no need to step inside a store (and yes, sales occur online too, with many sites offering free shipping for orders over a certain amount). To get started, check out this week’s Style feature on our top 20 best online boutiques – including a special invite code to join the members-only designer sample sale site,! Psst: the code is single.

What else can you do? With the economy in shambles, talk to your family about scaling back on the gifts this year. Treat your loved ones to eco-friendly or charitable gifts that give back. Find an “Angel Tree” and buy gifts for a disadvanted child. Quit shelling out for $4 wrapping paper and bows and use found objects (paper bags, newspapers, crayons, matchbooks, etc.) to create one-of-a-kind gift wrap.

And, for goodness sake, stop breaking down Wal-Mart’s doors.

-Erin Donnelly, Style Editor