4 Black Friday Alternatives You Can Celebrate in Wisconsin


Some people love Black Friday—that crazy adrenaline rush that comes from beating another person to a rack of Nicki Minaj CDs—but for everyone else it’s about as much fun as getting a root canal at a Nickelback concert. (And no, that’s not fair to root canals.)

Holiday shopping can be a great way to show you care, but if you’re just not up for the mall this year, there’s good news! Here are a few things you can do instead the week of November 29th.

1. Small Business Saturday

Though Small Business Saturday isn’t exactly a grassroots movement (okay, it was started by American Express) it’s a great way to support your local economy while still checking names off your shopping list. Especially since small businesses return about 68 cents of every dollar spent to the community (as opposed to the 43 cents of national chains).

For those in the Fox Cities area, Downtown Appleton is running a special promotion which offers a free $20 gift certificate for the stores on the Ave. after you spend $100. They also say they’ll be running individual specials once the big day draws closer.

While Green Bay doesn’t appear to have anything similar, the Broadway District is still a great place to shop and will be decked out with lights and hosting a number of seasonal activities. At any rate, they’re sure to be happier to see you than the blue shirts at Best Buy.

2. Yellow Friday

This colorful BF alternative comes from this excellent article along with several other colorful others. On Yellow Friday, you take life by the horns and do the thing you’ve always wanted, but been too afraid to try. (Hence the jaundice hue.)

And we’re not just talking about organizing your social calendar. We’re talking skydiving, confessing your love, bucket list type aspirations. Don’t think it’s possible in Wisco? Think again! In Green Bay alone there is more than one place you can go skydiving. You can also take up Scuba-ing and get ready for that big trip to the Caribbean.

As for that confession of love you’ve been meaning to make, what better time or place is there to tell someone you’re crazy about them then ON TOP OF A HOT AIR BALLOON. (The answer is nowhere.) Grab life by the horns while everyone else it out grabbing a PS3 by its controller.

Local Skydiving Places

Local Scuba/Diving Places

Local Hot Air Balloon Rides

3. Sharing Sunday

This movement is from a long forgotten Facebook page that was started in direct response to Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Their stated message is as follows, “. . . lets make Sunday the day we work towards reducing consumption by sharing and re-using some of the idle resources we own with others”

In short, harness your resources and make your community better this Sunday. Got a garage or basement that could make a good meeting space? Rent it out to a local group! Think your neighborhood needs a little more culture? Take some of your old books and start one of those free library boxes.

No matter what you have to give, you can share it on websites like Hire, Rent which lets you lease out anything  you own to the community. Whether it’s an old bicycle or case of power tools rusting in your shed, you’re sure to get a little closer to your neighbors by the end of the day.

4. Free Art Friday

free art fridayedit

Photo Credit: Scott Wong.

This last entry isn’t specific to November 29th or even the United States. Started in Europe around decade ago, Free Art Friday is a day when people are encouraged to create a piece of art and leave it in a public place. It’s a random act of kindness that someone can take home with them.

This practice was brought to Wisconsin by Appleton resident Scott Wong back in 2012. He leaves the art, a note, and a link to his Facebook page where he’s document dozens of people proudly holding their free art. (Scott has done this about 74 different times, by the way.)

However, Black Friday is another story with Scott starting the Facebook event “Flood the Streets with Art” which encourages everyone to participate in an activity that combats the stereotypes glorified by the media during the holidays like chaos, physical violence, and hysteria.

“This all transpires the day after the day we give thanks for everything we have in life,” Scott says. “It’s sort of ironic and not in a good way.”

So far, people in 45 states, 17 countries, and every continent on the planet (yes, even Antarctica) are pledging to drop art on November 29th for this event. Scott hopes all this free art will give someone’s week a good start with showcasing the wealth of talent Wisconsin has to offer.

“I think that people underestimate the volume of creativity and artistic flair that Wisconsin has,” he says. “I don’t think it gets quite as much credit as it deserves.”

If you’re Black Friday shopping this weekend, happy hunting and be safe! If not, check out these alternatives. You just might find something you like.

Let’s Hear From You!

What will you be doing on November 29th? Have you ever participated in a Black Friday alternative? Leave a comment below!


  1. Appleton Historical Society meets tonight at 7pm … 425 W. Water Street.
    Bring an Appleton Picture to share. It will be scanned and shown to the group and we can all comment on it. Lots to learn … last time I found out that there was a ski hill right in Appleton … who knew??

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