November 25, 2011 by staff 

BUY NOTHING DAY, Black Friday, is a day filled with shoppers rushing to the stores, fighting over deals and spending massive amounts of money to purchase gifts for the upcoming holiday season. But Black Friday is also known as Buy Nothing Day.

Buy Nothing Day is a day of shunning the big stores and corporations that drive consumerism, and instead focuses on hand-made gifts. Anyone can participate in Buy Nothing Day, and it doesn’t mean you’ll be giving all your friends and family macaroni necklaces for Christmas.

You can shake that feeling of “buy, buy, buy!” (not to be confused with NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye”) by participating in Buy Nothing Day. It’s easy — just buy nothing on Nov. 25. Instead, try making a few of your own gifts. You can find millions of instructions on how to make different items online. has some amazing and very detailed projects that you can complete at home. Try baking some edible gifts, or even can some jam or sauce.

I always end up morphing into Martha Stewart around the holidays and can be found baking, making ornaments or creating unique gifts. While I was in college in Vermont, a few friends and I would get together to create gifts for our families and friends. We made fudge and cookies, canned salsa, knitted scarves, rice-filled hot packs and lip balms. We were all very proud of our handmade gifts, and our friends and family loved them. It was so much more satisfying to see my family get excited over gifts I made rather than just bought at the store.

And though you may think that you’re no Martha Stewart, but you might surprise yourself with what you can do. Jam is incredibly easy to make, as are most types of cookies. The rice-filled hot/cold packs I made one year were a hit, took about three minutes each to make, and were dirt cheap since I used old T-shirts for the fabric and filled them with rice I had bought in bulk. All my friends still have them, and they’re wonderful to use on a cold night when your bed isn’t warming up quickly enough, or when you have any sore muscles.

And now with the increase in technology and the popularity of blogs, you can find how-to guides about almost everything. There are websites that will walk you through each step of the process to make anything you can think of. As I already mentioned, is a wonderful example of this. But just type in an Internet search for anything you’re thinking about making, and there’s a good chance that you’ll have plenty of help.

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