Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Black Friday alternatives

5 laid-back family alternatives to Black Friday shopping

If "shop till you drop" doesn't sound good, play board games or spend time in nature.

Now widely known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is a wonderful time. Most people have the day off work or school, out-of-town family may be around, the fridge is full and the house is close to peak clean. So why go shopping? Clearly, you have better things to do:

Black Friday alternatives

Play cards or board games. It’s a good time to try a new game. Your 2-year-old likes Pairs. How will she take to Go Fish? Is your 10-year-old ready for Settlers of Catan? Time to find out.


Play sports. Round up your family and some friends to converge on a playfield for a little multigenerational friendly competition: soccer, touch football, Quidditch, whatever makes sense to you.

Go for a walk. Pull on boots, fleeces and raincoats and go take in this area’s loveliness in the dark bluster of late November. Best destinations: Carkeek Park (where salmon are running in Piper’s Creek), Seward Park, Lincoln Park, or anywhere with a beach. Also, there’s free admission to state parks on Friday.

Fly a kite. If your kids are like mine, they’ll be intrigued by assembling the kite and getting it into the air, and unimpressed from then on. But they will enjoy watching other people’s kites. Great places to soar: Gas Works Park and Kite Hill at Magnuson Park.

Bake cranberry sauce muffins. This uses up some leftovers, and you have time to stage things so you can bake with your children’s “help.” Get them involved measuring and mixing, and of course tasting the results. Recipes available online.

More Black Friday alternatives:

15 things to do over the Thanksgiving break

Find much more fun in our family event calendar

Holiday events

Fall and holiday theater, 2022

Originally published in 2020