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Buy Nothing Day: A Reaction Against Wasteful Consumerism

Buy Nothing Day

You could be adjusting your spending habits as the holiday season draws near in order to get ready for a busy few month of shopping. This time of year, frequently comes with an underlying message: buy more! Whether you’re planning your party season outfit, looking at loved ones’ big Christmas lists, or getting ready to host family and friends.

Shopping has a big negative influence on the environment in addition to our bank accounts, which is an issue. Our love of shopping has an environmental cost, from the carbon footprint of next-day delivery to our addiction to fast fashion (10,000 articles of clothing are thrown in the trash every five minutes, according to study).

In response to some of these troubling figures, Buy Nothing Day, which is taking place on November 26th, urges you to forgo shopping for a day and reconsider some of your purchasing patterns.

Also Read: How Do People Celebrate Thanksgiving Day?

What Is Buy Nothing Day?

In 1992, Canadian artist Ted Dave established Buy Nothing Day in Vancouver. More recently, has supported the event. It is a day of global protest against consumer culture in general and Black Friday in particular.

Buy Nothing Day is observed on Black Friday in North America, the UK, Finland, and Sweden (the day after Thanksgiving). It takes place somewhere else the next Saturday, which is the last Saturday in November.

On “Buy Nothing Day,” you should think about the things that make you happy but have no use or monetary worth. Relationships, solitary time, tranquilly, love, family, exercise, the outdoors, reading, being creative, and learning are just a few examples of the things in life that are better than stuff.

Spending time just being a real human, that is, being yourself, is healthy in society where almost everything appears to be a transaction. Decide not to buy anything, take some time to enjoy the moment, and involve your loved ones.

You may come together and discuss why you are grateful for each other and all the other great things that money can’t buy rather than what you bought or need to buy.

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History Of Buy Nothing Day

In September 1992, Canadian artist Ted Dave established Buy Nothing Day in Vancouver. After American Thanksgiving, on the famed “Black Friday” Friday, it is observed. This day is kind of like the anti-holiday because Black Friday, which was a previous holiday, served as its inspiration for its creation.

After operating “in the red” (i.e., losing money or breaking even) for much of the year, shops who wanted to go into the “black,” or a state of positive income, would dramatically increase sales on Black Friday. On the day after Thanksgiving, consumers experience a rush as retailers promote can’t-miss bargains in an effort to get customers to shop for early Christmas gifts.

The sudden change from a day intended for thankfulness to a day intended for mayhem and greed, as Black Friday became ingrained in American culture, offended Canadian artist Ted Dave. In order to combat the nation’s mania of materialism, he created National Buy Nothing Day in 1992.

National Buy Nothing Day is now observed annually in the United States in an effort to reduce the excessive waste and supplemental spending that can sometimes take place in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The concept behind this holiday is that after spending money on food, decorations, travel, and lodging, the country should embark on a spending detox by spending the day at home or outside.

Put some money into your retirement savings this Friday, the fourth of November, or just sit on the floors and in the changing rooms of stores if you see Buy Nothing protesters wandering aimlessly through your neighbourhood mall.

This results from the annual gathering known as the “zombie walk,” in which participants exhibit odd behaviour in an effort to draw attention to and spread awareness of the anti-consumerism theme.

We hope you’ll take the time to think about the advantages of this annual anti-shopping day, whether you choose to participate this year by watching television at home or taking part in performance art at the mall.

Importance Of Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day was created with the intention of educating people about the detrimental effects of excessive consumerism in society. In some ways, excessive consumption is the root of all of our environmental problems.

The average North American consumes five times as much as the average Mexican, ten times as much as the average Chinese person, and thirty times as much as the average Indian.

Every single purchase you make has an effect on the environment. We wonder why it has negative ecological, psychological, and political effects when the wealthy one billion Americans consume 86% of all things available in the global market, leaving the remaining 5 billion people with just 14%!

One of the main drivers of terrorism is excessive consumerism in wealthy nations. Due to the discounted pricing during Black Friday, many purchase items they otherwise would not. 86% of what we use goes to us, leaving only 14% for the other 5 billion people on the earth.

The hyperactive way of life that we have created here needs to be recognised, Buy Nothing implores. The National Buy Nothing Day encourages individuals to refrain from making purchases all day long. It prompts us to consider how much money we are idly spending.

This event is crucial because it gives customers tools to manage their needs, wants, and requests for various goods. This day demonstrates and illustrates that you may be content even without material possessions and that happiness is not confined to them.

It makes it clear that money can be spent on much better and more worthwhile things than it can be wasted on your own demands. A day without shopping alters consumer behaviour and benefits the environment both economically and socially.

Apart from that, it also helps people enhance their bank accounts, and people all around the world rejoice in it. Furthermore, there are numerous other ways that this day benefits the environment. For instance, one can reuse what they currently have rather of buying anything new.

How To Celebrate Buy Nothing Day

There are numerous ways for those who participate in “Buy Nothing Day” to show their disapproval of our consumerism-based culture. Instead of going shopping, they can choose to simply hang out at home with friends and family.

Some people plan a “zombie walk,” in which all of the participants wander aimlessly through malls, supermarkets, and other establishments without making a single purchase. As the “zombies” will surely be questioned about what they are doing and why, they can then utilise this opportunity to defend their position. This is done to spread awareness of Buy Nothing Day.

On that day, not many people went shopping, so some individuals utilised the time to celebrate nature and the incredible quantity of beauty it provides us with for free. This can be accomplished by spending the day relaxing in the sunshine and taking in the breeze in the countryside, the mountains, or even a park.

With a pair of scissors and a placard promoting help for people who wish to terminate their increasing credit card debt and shopping addiction with a single cut, some other participants stand outside a mall. One tactic used by some participants in the 2009 Wildcat General Strike was to avoid shopping, as well as to turn off all of their electric appliances the entire day, avoid driving anywhere, and avoid using their cell phones.

Some contend that “Buy Nothing Day” might be the beginning of a lifelong commitment that will change their lives, while others contend that it is pointless because participants simply buy more the next day. In any case, it’s undeniably difficult to go a whole day in the current world without purchasing anything, and it will force you to reflect on the true meaning of your life.

We would definitely advise you to go online to see if there are any events taking place in your neighbourhood if you want to observe Buy Nothing Day. Around the world, a wide variety of events and activities take place.

This ranges from free, unaffiliated street parties to credit card cut-ups and public demonstrations, as well as zombie walks. If there isn’t a local event happening, you might even want to think about organising one yourself. This day is a good opportunity to learn about the many impacts of overconsumption.


In 1992, Canada instituted Buy Nothing Day. Ted Dave, a Vancouver-based Canadian artist, was the one who started it. It is a yearly occurrence and takes place a day or two after the Thanksgiving holiday. Buy Nothing Day is currently observed in numerous other nations around the world.

These nations include Canada, the United States, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France, Norway, Japan, the Netherlands, and Israel, in addition to Canada.

It is held the following day everywhere else. The goal of Buy Nothing Day, regardless of the day you choose to observe it, is to raise awareness of the problem of excessive consumption. Whether or not this is a topic you are particularly interested in, you can look into it and contribute to a better understanding.


  • I'm a 4th Year student of Architecture Undergraduate programme at Priyadarshini Institute of Architecture And Design Studies, Nagpur. During my studies, I have worked on multiple projects and these assignments have helped me to become a great team player and how to function well in fast paced and deadline driven environments. Some of interests are Sketching, listening and exploring old music, watching documentaries and being an architectural student I like to explore the conceptual angle of every element.

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