Whether the reasons are ideological, demophobia-based, or a little bit of both, many of us would rather avoid today's mass shopping chaos. As an alternative to Black Friday, Story Corps is promoting today as the National Day of Listening--an opportunity to sit down for an hour with family members and other people you care about, ask them about their lives and preserve their stories for future generations.
At the National Day of Listening site, you'll find helpful How To's for recording and preserving family stories and a question generator, to help you get over that "what the heck do I ask Grandma?" hump.
Your family stories can also become part of the oral history archives at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. To do that, though, you'll have to get hooked up with a Story Corps professional recording session. They've got semi-permanent booths in New York, San Francisco and Atlanta, and they're traveling the country with a portable system all year.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.