Once upon a time I was one of the crazies waking up early for Black Friday specials. Then the start times got earlier and earlier, and I started thinking that it was getting ridiculous, so I would still participate, but started later (and thus started beating the crowds a bit). Then the start times got so early they invaded Thanksgiving, and I felt this was unacceptable and refused to shop on Thanksgiving day, believing people should be home with their families and friends. Now I barely do any Black Friday shopping at all. The combination of young kids to worry about, starting my shopping early enough that I don’t have much to buy by the time Black Friday rolled around, and having to work means that it just doesn’t make sense to go nuts. But I kind of miss it.
I wrote on Wednesday that this is my favorite time of year, but that it has to do with the feeling and community spirit and time together rather than the material goods. I still believe that. But I also love to give gifts! And, for those who are true Black Friday shoppers, there’s a different kind of feeling you get when walking through stores at 5 am with all the other nuts. Sure, you get the frantic people trying to snag the hot items at bargain prices, the people who are only there because someone dragged them, or they’re desperate to save a buck or grab an item that may disappear soon. But those aren’t the true Black Friday shoppers. The real shoppers are more laid back, enjoying the experience and the ambiance. They delight in the craziness, thrilled to be getting some good deals, but more excited about the whole Black Friday-ness of it. They shop in pairs or groups, coming up with game plans to tackle the most stores and get the best deals. It’s an all-day event, topped off with wrapping or decorating or collapsing on the sofa, pleased with yourself for having such a fun, productive day.
If I had money, I would probably still go Black Friday shopping. I would find a way. And if I didn’t find things I needed to complete my holiday shopping, I would pick up some of the best deals for donations. If I had someone to go with (who enjoyed the craziness as I do), I would probably still go Black Friday shopping. But getting the kids up and dragging a cranky Kevin around doesn’t exactly sound like a fun time. And I don’t really have any close friends who would be available and interested in shopping with me. I need more mom friends!
Despite retailers trying to make Christmas come earlier each year, there’s nothing like a crazy day of shopping to kick off the season (even if you’ve been shopping all year long). It can be a hard feeling to explain, but it’s one I truly enjoyed. And, I think, I’m going to find a way to make it happen next year. No, I will not shop on Thanksgiving. But Friday morning? I would be more than OK with that. Anyone interested in joining me next year? We have a bit of time to plan…