8 things you can do instead of shop on Black Friday

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If you're planning to skip the stores this year, here are fun traditions you can start instead. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

For many, the day after Thanksgiving means going store to store looking for the best deals of the holiday season. For others, though, the crowds, stress and consumerism of the day seems to overshadow the more important parts of the holiday season.

Here are eight Black Friday traditions you can start without doing damage to your wallet.

Give the cook a break

Who does the bulk of the work for your family's big Thanksgiving day meal? Unless you answered "me," Black Friday is a good time to hit the kitchen. Rather than making everyone assemble their own turkey sandwich, reward those who worked hard the day before by turning the leftovers into a gourmet meal. The Chew has plenty of ideas to get you started.

Donate canned food

Speaking of leftover food, chances are you have an extra can of green beans or other non-perishable goods that got overlooked in the chaos. Use Black Friday to look through your pantry for items you'd like to donate, and bring them to your local food pantry.

Explore the great outdoors

Just like last year, Outdoor Recreation company REI is using the hashtag #OptOutside to encourage customers to hike, camp or just get active outside. According to REI, more than 3 million people have already pledged to spend their Black Friday enjoying the great outdoors.

Cheer on your alma mater

College football teams around the country are playing their last games of the season in hopes of snagging a good bowl game. You can catch college football all day Friday on ESPN and ABC.

Donate blood or platelets

The holidays can be a hard time for blood banks, the Red Cross explains.

"The need for blood - and volunteer blood donors - is constant, and is especially appreciated during the holiday season when busy schedules and holiday travel or inclement weather, can impact blood collection," the organization said in a press release.

Make a meaningful DIY present as a family

If the idea of Black Friday stresses you out because you have young children, never fear: You can get a head start on Christmas presents without hitting the stores. Babble has plenty of DIY present ideas that are great to build with kids.

Have a holiday movie marathon

Before the family goes their separate ways, spend one more day lounging around together. Have everyone pick their favorite holiday movie and watch them all at once. By the end of the day you'll all be so filled with the Christmas spirit you'll be ready for 25 Days of Christmas to start.

Do a random act of kindness

World Kindness Day might have been earlier this month, but you don't need an official day as an excuse to perform an unexpected act of kindness. Here are 21 ideas to get you started.

Related Topics:
societyblack fridayholidaycookingfood bankthanksgivingfamilychildrenhikingmoviesblood banksDo It Yourselfacts of kindness

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