There are over three hundred million people in this country, and you all want to go shopping on the same day?
Hmm...what happens when you place a dense population of humans within a confined space? Well...in the rest of the world's animal populations, increased population density within a limited space inevitably leads to aggression (which is probably why people beat the crap out of each other in order to obtain the latest and greatest toys, stampede and kill employees to get to the toys first, and sometimes even shoot each other in toy stores.)
What's really sad about this scenario is that most animals will fight over limited resources that are necessary for survival, but humans are fighting for toys. That's just pure stupidity.
Buy Nothing Day
As a response to the absurdity of Black Friday, we also have Buy Nothing Day when humans protest rampant consumerism by abstaining from making any purchases for one day.
What good does it do if a person is going to make a large number of purchases the next day?
It would be much more effective if people would pay attention to their consumption habits every day of the year. It doesn't have to be looked at from an all or nothing perspective. People buy things, and that's not necessarily negative if the objects are actually wanted and used. The unfortunate thing about the Christmas holiday is that people feel obligated to buy gifts for others, and they often purchase items that are appreciated for one day (because it's "the thought that counts") but shortly thereafter, the items find their way to the rubbish bin and then the landfill. Usually this happens because we often don't know each other as well as we think we do.
My suggestion is to really stop and think about what you're purchasing, whether it be for yourself or someone else. If you're not sure whether it will be well used, maybe you should put it down until you know for sure. If the problem stems from not knowing someone well enough to buy them a gift that they'll use, I would ask myself why you feel obligated to buy them a gift in the first place? Once you decide if it's someone that you really care enough about to buy a gift for, perhaps its time to sit down and get to know them better rather than buying them a non-meaningful gift as a token. Isn't connection with people what the holidays are supposed to be about?
Lastly, if you're the recipient of an unwanted gift, please don't throw it away or stuff it in a closet to be thrown away at a later date. Recycle it. Freecycle it. Make art out of it. Sell it and use the money to buy something you really want... Whatever. Just don't let it become another part of our throw away culture.