THERE’S nothing that you need so badly that is worth being squeezed out of existence at the local Target. So instead of participating in one of the most ridiculous traditions of the year, try to make this day off work really count. Here are seven ways you can make Black Friday into a truly meaningful day.

1. Go out in Nature.

You’ve spent all Thanksgiving Day inside, eating and drinking with your loved ones, so it’s time to get out and breathe some fresh air. Go for a hike up the nearby mountain, take a walk on the beach, go skiing, or stroll around your neighbourhood, and enjoy being outside getting some exercise. It’s a lot healthier for your body and your mind to be outdoors than to throw yourself in the crowds of insane people looking for a good deal.

2. Spend some quality time with your family.

Thanksgiving Day was most likely a bit stressful for everyone; everything had to be cleaned to welcome guests, a feast had to be cooked, and a mess had to be tidied up afterwards. Today, there are left-overs in the refrigerator and only the close relatives are left to hang around, so it’s the perfect time to play board games, listen to your parents’ old stories, or talk about important topics you would not address in front of other family members.

3. Volunteer your time.

Check out your town’s homeless shelter, food bank, or animal shelter and use your time to give back to those less fortunate. Make sure you call in advance or do some research on Volunteermatch.org so as to secure a spot with an organization. Whatever the time of year, helping others is much better option than strolling the aisles of Walmart in search of a discounted bathrobe.

4. Learn something new and spread the love.

If you can’t manage to find a place that needs volunteers on Black Friday, we have thought of another way you can spread the love while having fun with the family. I bet you that there’s at least one family member around who could teach you how to knit or crochet, so ask and start making hats, blankets, scarves, and mittens for the those who need warm clothes this winter.

5. Counteract the frenzy of consumerism.

There’s no better way to give the finger to the madness of Black Friday than to play a little game of Secret Santa on Thanksgiving. Each family member writes down their name on a piece of paper and places it in a hat. When everyone’s done, each family member picks one of the pieces of paper from the hat. The name you chose is the only person for whom you will buy a Christmas gift this year. Everybody gets a special present, everybody saves money and time, and no one needs to put themselves at risk of being trampled to death at the nearby mall.

6. Give someone some Skype love.

Likely, one of your close relatives could not make it home for Thanksgiving weekend. They might be abroad or just living too far away to come home for only four days, but they probably feel crappy at the thought of everyone gathered without them. So take advantage of having most of the family around and lots of time in your hands to organize a Skype call and give that relative some online lovin’.

7. Catch up on your reading.

Nothing beats sitting comfortably and read for hours on end. Certainly not a 50%-off piece of plastic crap from Target.