Buy Nothing Day

Although Buy Nothing Day can be celebrated as a holiday, most people consider it an anti-holiday. It is a day celebrated all over North America and Europe on the Friday after the United States Thanksgiving—on the same day as Black Friday. In a sense, this makes this holiday the anti-Black Friday, at least in the U.S. In some parts of Europe, however, it is celebrated on the last Saturday in November.

History of Buy Nothing Day

The roots of Buy Nothing Day can be traced back to 1992. This is when a not-for-profit magazine called Adbusters decided to fight back against the perceived takeover of people’s bodies, environments, and minds by commercial forces.

The first Buy Nothing Day celebration began in Canada that same year, except it was observed in September and not November. Later on, it would be moved to its current date. Over the years, it has spread from North America to Europe. Now, it is celebrated in both the United Kingdom and Sweden.

However, while Buy Nothing Day is being celebrated by more and more people, it is also beginning to receive more criticism. Some people complain that Buy Nothing Day doesn’t do anything except delay people’s shopping—that it doesn’t work to change the underlying consumerism habit. Instead of shopping on this day, they just go out the next day or the weekend following.

Buy Nothing Day Customs & Traditions

Buy Nothing Day is celebrated in a number of different ways all over the world. While many people will merely celebrate the holiday by not frequenting online or brick-and-mortar stores, or by simply not buying anything, others will use one of the other ways of celebrating this holiday—some of which are listed below:

Credit Card Cutting Up: One way to celebrate the holiday is by standing in a shopping mall with a poster that advertises to people that you’ll help them end their mounting debt by cutting up their credit cards—at no cost to them.

Zombie Walk: Another method of celebrating this holiday is to act like a zombie and walk through shopping malls. While these “zombies” don’t bother shoppers, they do give them a blank stare as they push their empty zombie shopping carts through the store or mall.

Whirly Mart: This celebration/protest involves participants steering their shopping carts (or shopping trolleys) around the malls or stores in a long, conga-like line, all the while not putting a single thing into their carts.

Buy Nothing Hike: Another way to celebrate the holiday is to forgo all stores and instead head out to nature to enjoy forests, rivers, and mountains.

Other types of Buy Nothing Day celebrations and traditions include the Buy Nothing Day Bike Ride, the Buy Nothing Day Paddle, and the Wildcat General Strike. The Wildcat General Strike is when people not only refuse to buy anything on this holiday but also refuse to use gas or electricity, their phones, or their cars.

When is it?
This year (2024)
November 29 Friday
Next year (2025)
November 28 Friday
Last year (2023)
November 24 Friday