That's it. Thanksgiving is over, and the beginning of the Christmas season has arrived. And for many, many people that means getting up at ungodly hours, standing in line for hours, fighting off crowds of people, to get a bargain and begin Christmas shopping.
It's always made me chuckle how so many people spend a day sharing how thankful they are for everything they have, only to turn into WWE wrestlers a mere 24 hours later in order to snag something they don't have. At an unbeatable price. This year, they didn't even have to wait 24 hours, they could head out right after Thanksgiving dinner to start their shopping...as many stores were beginning their Black Friday sales at 6PM last night.
And I'm not sitting up here on my high horse casting judgement on anyone that ventures out in to the world of Black Friday shopping. I say "More Power To Ya!" Don't think for one second that I didn't scan every Black Friday ad I could get my hands on searching for any bargain that might peak my interest enough to turn me back in to a Black Friday Shopper.
Oh yes, I was once a Black Friday shopper. I would get up in the middle of the night, drive to my selected store, park in the back of the parking lot because there was nowhere else to park...even arriving 2 or 3 hours early. I would then mosey in to the store, and fight my way through crowds to find the item I wanted. I'd stand in line for those 2 or 3 hours. Then, the minute the cling wrap was removed by a very brave associate, I'd be rammed with a cart, shoved out of the way, sometimes be knocked off my feet, only to find that when I got my bearings again...the product I wanted was gone. Only samarai ninja shoppers walking away with the loot I was supposed to be taking with me.
Several times, I would go home empty handed with only swollen ankles, bruised calves, a few minor lacerations, and a hurt ego to show for my Black Friday shopping experience.
I even decided one year to stay away from any of the high interest items. I decided that I'd focus on stuff like clothes (those $8 jeans were a STEAL), or the $5 board games, or an art set that one of my kids had wanted that was only $10 compared to the usual $30 it would be a few hours later. I managed to get a couple of board games, got the art set I wanted, and then fought my way towards the jeans only to get in to a tug-of-war match with a lady who's daughter was apparently the same size as mine.
In my defense, I grabbed the jeans first...and she literally tried to swipe them out of my hands. It wasn't as though we'd both been going for them at the same time. I had them in my hands, was checking the waist band, and BAM.. I felt a tug where she tried to take them from me. All I was able to get out of my mouth was "Really, Lady?" The look she gave me at that point can only be described as something you see in a horror movie, when a person has been possessed. And, once again, she tried to swipe the jeans from my hand. As I stood there pulling on the jeans that were supposed to be mine, a flash of reality smacked me upside the head... or it could have been one of her accomplices, I don't know... and I realized how I looked standing there fighting for a pair of jeans. Sure, Peanut needed jeans, and I wasn't exactly rolling in money. Being able to buy jeans at half of what I'd normally pay was worth the drive and the lines..but it wasn't worth fighting over. I let the jeans go. All I could think was that lady wanted or needed them way more than I did.
What's funny was that later in the day, we took a drive to another Walmart to pick up a few things that were NOT Black Friday related, and I found a ton of those $8 jeans still on sale. I was able to pick up a few pairs of them with no fights, no crazy crowds, no women trying to take them from me. Just a bunch that were left over free for the taking. Well, $8 for the taking.
And, it was at that moment that I realized it would be very hard to persuade me in to going out to do Black Friday again. That the chances of any store selling anything I'd be so desperate to have in order to go through those experiences again were slim to none.
So, today, I am thankful that I don't have any urges to go Black Friday shopping. Last night, the kids and I got the Christmas tree up while thousands of people were braving the stores. This morning, I slept in while thousands more were heading out to those early Black Friday stores. And I'm OK with it.
The way I look at it, I might have to spend a little more on Christmas presents being that I didn't take advantage of Black Friday sales, but I can't put a price on how much it means to my kids to do our Thanksgiving tradition of putting up our tree. We spend that time together, sorting tree branches by color, doing our best to make our fake tree look like a real tree, untangling lights and garland, and then picking out the handmade ornaments I've collected over the years and reminiscing who made what and where. I have ornaments that all three kids have made since they were itty bitty. There are ornaments the kids bought me in the Sunday school Christmas shops. There are ornaments the kids made at daycare, preschool, and in the church nursery. I have held on to them, chrished them, and they are a part of our Christmas tree decorations each and every year.
Peanut even made the comment that one day I'll have to retire some of them in order to make room for ornaments made by my grandchildren. I'll get to that hurdle when it comes.
After the Christmas tree was up and lit, it was time to sit down for our other Thanksgiving tradition: The first Christmas movie of the season. Jelly got to pick, and we watched The Polar Express. She even managed to make it through most of the movie before falling asleep, too!
While we watched the movie, we ate some of Hubby's homemade apple pie with ice-cream and drank egg-nog.
During that time, the stores could have been giving out free TVs, laptops, and video game systems to every shopper and it still wouldn't have been worth trading that time in for any of those things. Because it's the time with my kids that I cherish more than any TV, laptop, or video game system.
Again, I want to say that I'm not writing this post to cast judgement on ANYONE that went Black Friday shopping. I don't think I'm better than anyone else or that I think family time is more important to me than it is to Black Friday shoppers. I know lots of people that include Black Friday shopping as one of their traditions. Mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, best friends. I've seen pictures of specially made Black Friday T-shirts that are made by groups that go each and every year together. I've read posts about teams or couples that have gone out and laughed until they cried, enjoyed every single minute of their shopping experience. And I think that's great.
But, today, I'm thankful for how I got to spend the last few hours of Thanksgiving and my first few hours of Black Friday.
I know that once today is over with, I'll get that urge to go out and do some Christmas shopping. I will venture out tomorrow on the hunt for a few left over bargains. I'll get a start on everything I need to pick up over the next couple of weeks.
Just not today.
Today, I'm taking the kids to see their grandparents. Being that we didn't get to spend Thanksgiving with them yesterday, I want to go over there and see them for a while. And I'm thankful that I get to do that.
So, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a successful Black Friday experience. That's enough for me today, I've got some family to go visit.