Great ways to spend Black Friday with your family in Philly

Black Friday (Photo Courtesy Bigstock)

Black Friday (Photo Courtesy Bigstock)

How do you spend the day after Thanksgiving? CNBC estimates that 137.4 million Americans will be holiday shopping at the malls and megastores.

I won’t be one of them.

Not only do I hate the crowds and chaos of Black Friday (I won’t get started about the disturbing trend of the Black Friday brawls in recent years), but when I’m fortunate enough to have a day off from our regular family schedule, I want to spend it doing something that my kids, husband and I can enjoy together.

If your children don’t last long at the mall or you’re avoiding the Black Friday crowds like me (there’s a whole movement of us, by the way), here are five fun ways to spend the day:

Make it a Day of Service: MLK Day is coming up in January—but giving back to the community doesn’t need to be a once a year activity. After giving thanks, show your kids how to give back to the community! Whether you go pick up trash in a local park or go through old toys and clothes to donate to those in need, there are lots of ways that your family—whatever your kids ages–can do service together. Get in touch with Greater Philadelphia Cares this week to learn about volunteer opportunities or contact We Feed the Homeless to see where you can help out.

Make it a Day to Unplug: Thanksgiving is a day to enjoy great food, time with our family…and in many of our homes, football and/or Thanksgiving parades. What about making the day after a day of unplugging? Or maybe a few hours of unplugging? What do you do when you unplug? What my tween daughter calls “old-timey” stuff: Play board games or do charades. Make cookies, pull things out of your recycling bin and make art with them. Take a walk in your neighborhood. The first responders working at the firehouse in your neighborhood would appreciate those cookies!

Make it a Day to Explore Nature: The weather forecast for the Greater Philly area shows Thanksgiving weekend to be on the cold side but sunny. Pack up the family and appreciate the end of fall. Take a walk through beautiful Valley Green or head to Valley Forge. You can explore the Cynwyd Trail by foot or bike and stop at the Bala Cynwyd playground.

Make it a Day to Get Ready for the Holidays: Whatever your faith or cultural tradition, December is a really busy month! Take some time to involve your kids in holiday preparation in a relaxed way. I like to make lists of all of the people who support my kids in their schools—including the bus driver and people who work in the cafeteria.  Kids can help you to make cards or write personal messages in ready-made holiday cards.

Make it a Day to Enjoy the City: Historic Philadelphia is a beautiful place to be as the holiday season begins. Check out the light show at the Comcast Center, Christmas Village is open in LOVE Park and Wintergarden has returned to Dilworth Park.

It’s also the last few days of the UniverSoul Circus and an excellent day to check out the new Museum of the American Revolution if you haven’t had a chance to do so yet.

How will you and your family spend the day? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

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