China, too, has its own shopping holiday called "Singles Day" which also takes place on the November 11. Local reports say the day is dubbed as China's busiest online shopping day.
It originated in the 1990s with college students who were inspired by the date as when written numerically (11/11), represent four single people. "Singles Day" is China's version of Valentine's Day for people without romantic partners who treat each other to dinners and gifts bought online.
Companies that cash in on "Singles Day" include Alibaba Group. Over 10 million people shopped on Toabao, a subsidiary company of Alibaba. Another online retailer, Tencent's 51buy saw a seven-fold increase in trade since last year, according to the Financial Times. T-mall, an online sales platform said its sales reached 13.2 billion yuan (US$2.1 billion).
It's also a testament to China's growing online market. China's online shopping population outranks the U.S. with 193 million versus 170 million, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
KFC Christmas, December 20: Japan
An unusual custom of eating KFC for Christmas has made its roots in Japan. The American fast-food chain has become synonymous with Christmas dinners in the country and orders are placed as early as December.
It all started when a western man in Japan substituted KFC chicken for turkey in his Christmas meal in the early 1970s, according to the company. In 1974, the company launched the "Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakki" (Kentucky for Christmas) campaign and the finger licking tradition has stuck ever since.
The marketing tactic has proved so successful for the fast-food chain that KFC's Christmas meals can be ordered up to two months in advance, according to the Financial Times.
KFC has a special Christmas menu, offering roast chicken, smoked chicken and barbeque chicken for the limited period.
Buy Nothing Day, last Saturday in November: International
A day to trump them all has also taken shape -- "Buy Nothing Day" -- to counter the global and manic consumer.
Created for people to oppose retailer-driven consumerism, the day was first observed in Mexico in 1992, and later in the U.S. in 1997, according to its organizers. In the U.S., it is the day after Thanksgiving and is meant to offset Black Friday. Internationally, it is celebrated on the last Saturday in November.
Proponents of Buy Nothing Day cite various ethical, environmental, personal, and moral reasons to dissuade shoppers.
"Everything we buy has an impact on the environment," according to the UK-based Buy Nothing Day website. "Buy Nothing Day highlights the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism."
The Canadian not-for-profit, Adbusters Media Foundation is one of the main campaigners for what they call "A 24-hour moratorium on consumer spending."
People are encouraged to cut up their credit cards, participate in zombie walks (wandering around shopping malls with blank stares), go on Buy Nothing Day hikes, Buy Nothing Day paddles, and basically, buy nothing.