Is Black Friday a tradition in your home? It is in mine. Not one that we always keep to, but one that seems to always be on our minds around Thanksgiving – which is funny since Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what we have, and Black Friday seems to be about acquiring more stuff.
I think over the past few years, Black Friday has gotten huge. It now has a Cyber Monday, a Small Business Saturday, in fact, I have been getting e-mails and flyers in the mail about Black Friday deals that are running all of November.
When I was in college that was the first time Black Friday was big to me. I heard that the Maine Mall was going to be opening at midnight. It was completely unheard of at that time (I might be showing my age a bit here!). Some of the stores would be open, and there would be amazing sales.
We already had a tradition of going to LL Bean on Thanksgiving, to walk off most of the food we had eaten and make room for pie. So going to the mall wasn’t that far off for us.
I convinced my brother and my mom to drive down to Portland at 11pm. We got there, and there was a line already around the mall. It was freezing. We all had coffee (and at the time, only one of us actually drank coffee – my mom), and were ready to see what this Black Friday thing was all about.
Let me tell you, it was chaos!
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We walked around that morning, going to the stores that were open, making many trips to Starbucks, and just generally walking around.
It wasn’t about getting a good deal; it wasn’t about buying a bunch of stuff. It actually was about my family spending time together, walking around in the craziness, laughing when we saw people running for displays. Yes, we bought a few things, but it wasn’t the primary draw. We wanted an adventure, and we got one!
As the years have gone on, we have seen our Black Friday change a bit. The last time that we went out super early was when Emma was just six months old. After that, there were more children added to the mix, and sleep became the priority, not getting out in the morning.
This year is the first year that I feel that pull to go back out in the craziness. I’m not sure it will be at midnight, or even 8am, but I can definitely see myself getting out to people watch and see what kind of deals might be available.
One thing that hasn’t changed is my desire to get the paper on Thanksgiving morning. I go to the little gas station near my house first thing in the morning to get the paper with all of those ads. Often I don’t see anything of interest, but once in a while I will find something that I want to buy for someone.
What is my plan for this year? Well, I will get the paper on Thanksgiving morning, I will sit down with my coffee after we get the turkey in the oven and look through the paper. I will clip the coupons that are important to me – Michael’s, AC Moore, JoAnn Fabrics – and then I will enjoy my Thanksgiving meal!
I haven’t decided if I will go out, I haven’t decided if I want to drag my kids out for that. More than likely, my husband will stay home with the kids, and I will make a few quick runs to the stores where I know I need to get some things, and then be home in time to start decorating our Christmas tree.
This obviously isn’t a real Black Friday strategy.
My real Black Friday strategy is to soak up the extra time I have with my family all together. To watch my niece and nephew play with my kids, to visit with my brother and sister-in-law, to play Christmas music and decorate our tree, and eat more Thanksgiving leftovers; that is my real strategy. I’m not chasing a deal, or trying to find the hottest present this year. I may find something I want to get, but I’m not going to be fighting anyone to get it.
What do you do on Black Friday? Do you go out in the madness, or do you skip it?