It's no secret that I love Christmas; and to me, the Christmas season officially kicks off with Black Friday. There is something about being out that day that gets me in the Christmas spirit; the hustle & bustle, the music, the decor....or maybe just the fact that my mom & I always went shopping together, either on Black Friday or on Saturday, if she had to work on Friday. It was something that I always looked forward to and still do.
So how do I survive the chaos that is Black Friday?? I follow a few simple rules.
1. Go in with low expectations.
I've never stood in line at walmart at 2am, been shoved by a crazy shopper or cried when I wasn't able to get an item. Generally, I'm not looking for anything in particular, or at least nothing that is an absolute must have. If I get good deals, great....if I don't get exactly what I was hoping for, I move on and will just buy it another day.
2. Have a plan of attack.
One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving day is scoping out the ads from the papers and plotting out the best plan of attack for the next morning. I'll cheat ahead of time & check out the websites that post the ads early, but there's nothing like looking through the actual fliers that night.
Some stores open obnoxiously early (3am, Kohls? Really?)...while I lack the motivation to get there in the middle of the night, I'm generally ok with getting up around 4:30 and trying to make it somewhere by 5:30. Some places have early bird specials, so we try to hit those first based on priority.
3. Come armed with coupons and know the sales.
Some places are picky & won't let you use coupons that day, but others will so make sure you have them with you. Also, be aware of the promos that stores run...for instance, Kohls always gives you a $10 gift card for every $50 you spend. So if you are carrying around $48 worth of merchandise, you'll want to go find a $2 item, so that you get $10 back!
4. Make time for food! And coffee!
This is one of the best parts of the whole day....do a bit of shopping, take a break & stuff your face. It gives you time to regroup and figure out the rest of the morning.
5. A hint for outlet shopping...
The outlets near my mom's house open at midnight...however, the sale prices remain the same through the night/early morning (6 or 8am). We aren't adventurous enough to get there at midnight, but we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived there at 5:30 that we practically had the place to ourselves and still got some great deals.
5. Enjoy the company.
Good times with friends and family...that's what the holiday season is all about, right? I would never want to go out by myself on Black Friday....if I couldn't talk someone into going with me, I would just skip it that year, it would suck the fun right out of it if I didn't have some company for the day. As I mentioned before, my mom & I have always gone....the first Thanksgiving I ever spent away from home, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were nice enough to go with me (they even dealt with me being 7.5 months pregnant, waddling around the crowded stores!) This year, we'll be heading out to spend Thanksgiving with Brian's family again, and I'll be enjoying that day with my mother-in-law and friend, Joy. (Thanks for agreeing to go with me, Sally & Joy!)
6. Don't make any other plans that day.
Come home, eat some leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner, and collapse on the couch!