Happy Thanksgiving & Black Friday Advice

Colleen and Cindy wish all our American readers and the good folk of Leiden (Netherlands) a very happy Thanksgiving

May you eat all you want and not gain an ounce. Now that would be something to be grateful for.

A little more Wisdom from Cindy

Photo credit http://gengame.net/

In the United States, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, the day that marks the start of the “holiday shopping season.” It’s a day of amazing sales and deep discounts. Some stores open as early as 4:00 am, with people staying up all night in the parking lot so they can be the first in the door, as the very best sales (aptly named “doorbusters”) are only available in limited quantities. In other countries, Boxing Day is similar.

Probably everyone who lives in the US is familiar with Groupon and other coupon sites. A few weeks ago, Living Social Deals offered a half-price VIP Black Friday shopping extravaganza at the mall nearest to my house. Normally $20, this deal for two shoppers was discounted to $10. What did you get for your $10? Parking in a reserved area of the mall, access to a VIP rest and refreshment area, and transportation on an electric cart to and from my car. I’m still marveling at the cleverness of the mall at making just shopping there something that you can pay for.

Here’s the take away message for Black Friday. If you want something, have planned for, made a smart determination that this item is needed by you, and you can afford it, feel free to purchase that item while it’s on sale. Otherwise, stay home. Rest. Enjoy your family. Eat leftovers. Watch a football game. Read a book. Just because the stores are desperate for you to purchase doesn’t mean that you have to be desperate to buy.

May your Friday not be Black

Today’s Declutter Item

Instead of risking getting trampled to death on Black Friday why not buy secondhand on eBay. You’ll still get a bargain plus buying preloved items is better for the environment. I recently sold these Peanuts Pez dispensers on eBay and made three people very happy. The buyer who was happy to add them to his collection. My son because the money went into his bank account. And me because they are one less item of clutter wasting space in my home.

Peanuts Pez sold on eBay

Something I Am Grateful For Today

My parents made it to me safe and sound and now I get to enjoy then for the next five days. 


“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast


It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. Black Friday sounds my idea of hell Cindy! In the UK, our mega sales start on Boxing Day (December 26th). I never go to those either.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all friends in the States. Hadn’t heard of Leiden – is that another name for the Netherlands or part of the Nederlands?

    • Colleen wrote that. I don’t know about Leiden either.

      Black Friday also sounds like hell to me, but last year I went to Target in the afternnon on Black Friday. The place was vacant! An employee told me that sevearl hundred people had been waiting when they opened at 5am and that all the specials – and all the crowds – were gone by 9am. At 3pm, when we went, it was quiet as could be.

    • Hi Katharine,
      click on Leiden on the post and you can read all about it. It is a place in the Netherlands.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US and Leiden. For all the rest Happy Day.

    Black Friday! Ugh! We stay off the roads and away from all of that. I don’t like crowds and we either make our gifts or buy them at sales with coupons way before this. Haven’t been to the mall in the 3 1/2 years we have lived here. I don’t like shopping.

    That said, I have been doing a lot of shopping the last few weeks as I have been preparing for the Ladies Christmas Tea for our church. It is Dec. 3. This is my last year as Women’s Ministry Director and I will be glad to pass it off. I have enjoyed it but it is killing my Fibromyalgia. So I will be giving it up the end of April. Shopping for things for the tea has made me that much more aware of how I DON’T like to shop and how all the do dads for a Tea are just clutter to me. I think they overdo. But when you have a committee and they vote to do something you do it. 🙂

    • We just had a series of Mission and Ministry dinners at church, and the tables are decorated cutely and differently for every dinner. I doubt anyone would notice if the tables were just covered with cloths and left at that but then, no one suggested that I be in charge of decorating for several different dinners. Thank goodness we have “The Marthas” who attend to that chore.

      • My church dinners change food/menus on a theme, but tables are white cloths – nothing more. And it’s more than OK with everyone!

  3. I, too, hate crowds. But I do like the idea of planning ahead and having the Christmas shopping done by this weekend. We have a local craft fair here on Friday and I shop for unique, local, handmade items that will be special for my friends. Then I’ll be knitting my way through December but the rest of my shopping will be done. Of course, since I live in the frozen North and have to ship packages anticipating holidays is sort of a given. It does make for a more peaceful December, not worrying about any more shopping.

    • I am not worrying about shopping or planning yet (after all, in the US tomorrow is Thanksgiving) and I hope I won’t be sorry.

  4. Colleen, hope you have a good visit with your folks!

    Cindy, good advice indeed.

  5. Haha, one thing the German minority here doesn’t have to worry about – but then: no holiday for us tomorrow either …

    • exactly my thoughts as well. 😉 have a happy thanksgiving!

      ideealistin, a german thing we can look forward to is the crowded christmas market, for me a love-hate relationsship again.

  6. A happy Thanksgiving to Cindy and all American friends!
    The shops sound like a nightmare – like Colleen, I keep well clear of the Boxing Day sales – I don’t think there is anything I need enough to face those crowds. Certainly something to give thanks for!

  7. Colleen, Enjoy your time with your family!
    Cindy, Thanks for your contribution today. I loathe Black Friday partly because I dislike crowds. I wonder if there is a corollary between the dislike of crowds and dislike of clutter.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US and Leiden!

    • interesting question…
      if I think about it, it depends highly on the purpose of the meeting. if its a crowd in front of a stage where a good concert is going on, I like it. it gives me the shivers sometimes, but its a good mood.
      I dont like crowds for consumption, like shopping on the mainroad on a saturday. Or people queuing (?) in front of shops as someone here described it…
      I guess its because the first idea is a common and mutual interest, where you enjoy something together, while the second people consider themselves in competition. and I just dont like competition in whatever context.

      • Interesting. I don’t like to do things with what I call “ten thousand of my newest, closet friends” either. I’d be OK going to a controlled setting with thousands of people (like a concert where there are assigned seats) but not to ACL a hugely popular music festival that happens annually just one mile from my house. 60,000 people attend the open-air multi-stage concert every day, and I will never be one of them.

        • Last year we had this HUGE accident in a german city, where a dance festival ended up in a stampede. 21 people were killed. I dont like mass events. really. thousands is alright, tenthousands is not.

  8. Wow! I just love love love your blog! How you post every single day is beyond me. 🙂 I love the fact that you offer a tip every day, along with an image and explanation of the item you’re decluttering, and then a bit of gratitude at the end. It’s perfect! I hate to be a copycat, but I may just do the same thing when and if I ever start a blog! 🙂 Keep up the great work!

    • Hi Jamie,
      some days it is beyond me too. At the moment I have my parents staying and it is difficult to find the time to respond to comments. Cindy in doing a great job for me as usual though. Luckily she wrote two of the post this week.

      Thank you for dropping in the make such a nice comment and may I extend to you a warm welcome to 365 Less Things. I appreciate a little ego boost every now and again and you have started my day out well.

      • Jamie – The blog is a huge committment for Colleen, no doubt about it. Because she or I (usually her) repond to every comment personally, It can take hours of her time, and that’s without writing the post first! Plus, she makes no money from the site. I’m sure she could do it without me, but it does help to have someone backing you up.

  9. I’m started to dislike shopping. I especially hate busy shops, I want to be able to wander around without a ton of people blocking my way (that’s why I usually shop during the week – much more quiet). Yes, I’m spoiled.

  10. Hi Lena,
    hmm, overpriced discounter-glühwein in sticky mugs that you have to empty as fast as possible before it gets cold while your are listening to “Last Christmas” at least three times per hour: who would want to miss German Christmas markets 😉
    The part about meeting with friends or going after work with colleagues for a drink is great and since the knick-knacks they sell don’t even appeal to me after the drink I am not worried too much. The overall thing may be gruesome – but it is always what you make of it. Actually walking through the Christmas market every couple of days (it’s the way to the train) is sort of sparking the Christmas feeling a bit for me. I even gave in to buying some decoration (after I decluttered decoration …. oh, well): two sheets of beautiful wrapping paper that I intend to display as artwork before christmas and then use either as wrapping paper or for making gift tags. Though I don’t think I am going to give many presents, I want to give cookies like every year and maybe either jam or chutney. I have never made that myself and am actually looking forward to the experience.

    • hihi, Ideealistin, you just havent found the right stand, I suppose.
      Its not wham and for sure its not discounter glühwein, but the one from the vinyard a bit more south and its without spices 😉 that might be a bit more expensive, but its worth it 😉
      I dont buy stuff on christmas markets, except I really need something (like sheepskin shoes for my mumr). I dont decorate usually (this year I got myself a wreath ;-)) and I dont get the point in spending money on this subject anyhow. Wrapping paper I usually ask for in shops, if you are really friendly, people give you a extra sheet 🙂
      I dont do cookies and jams, I dont give gifts except to the family – and I even changed that, as my brother and me decided to get holidays together, like a city trip or so instead of buying the stuff that he would eventually himself…

      • There’s a community south of here that was settled by Germans, and they have a Christmas market. While I have a romanticized idea about the German Christmas markets, I have an opposite feeling about this one. (Mind you, I’ve never been to either.)

        Here: Overpriced tacky trinkets mostly made in China, hoards in shorts and flip flops (I’m wearing shorts today), drinking overpriced beer and sodas from containers that won’t be recycled.

        There: Costly but exquisite handmade items, snow on the ground, intriguing drinks and snacks, beautiful carols playing, recycling containers every where, people talking and laughing around me in a language that I can’t understand, so if they’re saying something stupid, boring or wrong-headed, I don’t know. Ah, sounds lovely.

        I’ve only been to Germany once and only for a week, but I loved it. Of the extremely limited places I’ve been in the world, it was my favorite. I told Dan that he could feel free to accept any job offer that came his way from there, but it’s never happened. (Taiwan was a possibility, but I told him he’d have to enjoy that with his new family because the rest of us were staying behind. : )

        • “There: Costly but exquisite handmade items, snow on the ground, intriguing drinks and snacks, beautiful carols playing, recycling containers every where, people talking and laughing around me in a language that I can’t understand, so if they’re saying something stupid, boring or wrong-headed, I don’t know. Ah, sounds lovely.”

          you made me laugh. Not understanding people is a nice thing when you are abroad. you dont care and pretend they just gave you a compliment.
          I love listening to people around me, you get the weirdest stories and experiences on a setting like this. I also like to start a conversation with them, if they are nice and fun people…

  11. Interesting Black Friday perspective from one of my Facebook friends:
    “While watching the news headlines this morning, I found myself shaking my head… They showed footage from Egypt, where there is more chaos, protests, uprising and fear due to the new PM being appointed-then they went to stories about Black Friday madness. A shooting somewhere (no one was hurt), chaotic mobs at different stores that they showed, and people being pepper sprayed by a woman who was ‘trying to get to a product before they did’. Seriously put things into perspective and made America look really shallow and disconnected w/ what is important in life…”

  12. I have always been an anti-Black Friday person… it is such an undisguised ploy to make everyone feel that they HAVE to buy gifts THIS weekend or else! Then, it progressed to – you have to buy them on Friday only or else! Then, it became – buy them on Friday morning or else! Now, it’s starting on Thanksgiving Day!! Pretty soon, it will be Halloween!

    It is just so unrealistic to believe that you can’t find these deals at other points in the year. I purchased a $40 covered sandbox for my kids for $9 on clearance – I happened to be looking in a garden section of Walmart for Christmas decorations, and all the summer stuff was so cheap that they couldn’t even advertise it. Those are the TRUE Black Friday deals!

    Anyway, keep up the great work, Colleen AND Cindy! 🙂 You have inspired me to tackle some more junk piles today before I start decorating for Christmas!

  13. Good job Jamie. Sounds like you’ve got the right attitude going!