I know I may be the odd man out here but I have always preferred Black Friday over Thanksgiving. Maybe, it has something to do with the fact that the Thanksgiving meal my mother prepared was usually cold. Or maybe it’s because, somehow, my family always ended up arguing before we carved the turkey. No matter the reason, I’ve never been gung-ho about Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong; I love turkey, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, envying the Rockettes’ long legs, and of course, that Stove Top stuffing. If you ask me, the best thing about Thanksgiving is hitting up the stores later that night for Black Friday.
I wasn’t into shopping on Black Friday until I started working in retail.
Ironically enough, my favorite day to work was Black Friday. Though I was burnt out, exhausted, and tirelessly running go-backs from the fitting rooms that the customers ravaged, people were unequivocally excited for the holiday. Sure, I had the occasional psycho come in, demanding to use her 20% off coupon on an item that was already severely discounted. And, naturally, cleaning up after everyone was a complete disaster. For the most part, though, families and friends were in a jovial mood while Christmas music filtered through the store.
My best friend and I started a tradition of going out after Thanksgiving dinner. We grab a couple Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks, then hit the mall with our Black Friday game plan. We spend days going through the circulars, making a mental note of all the items we have to pick up in-store and at what times, depending on whether or not they’re doorbusters. We fight the crowds, make multiple trips back to the car, and finally, come home around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Our husbands stare at the avalanche of plastic bags covering the backseat like blankets.
It sounds excessive, but in those few hours, we’re able to take care of everyone on our Christmas list.
More than that though, our Black Friday outing is a tradition, and that’s what I love about it. While it’s easy to order gifts online, I love getting out during the holidays and finding that perfect item for my mom or husband. It’s just as exciting to load my cart for family as it is to score a brand-new blouse I’ve been eager to purchase.
Shopping on Black Friday has a negative connotation. To this day, I remember my mom’s horror story about that one time she went out to buy me a Furby. She and every other relentlessly determined mother dove into the aisle to try and grab one. It was complete carnage. While those retail nightmares exist, that’s the complete antithesis of how my best friend and I shop on Black Friday.
Going out on Black Friday is an opportunity for us to have fun, sip coffee, and find major sales.
We talk about our relationships and work. Plus, we’ve had some of our deepest conversations while rummaging through a clothing rack. I think about how far we’ve both come in the years since we’ve started Black Friday shopping, and it just makes it all the more special for us to continue our tradition.
For me, Black Friday is when the holiday season kicks into full gear. The holiday season has always involved traffic and the inability to grab a close parking spot at the mall. It’s been about fighting crowds and spending money to spoil those you love. Black Friday has all those elements, as utterly ridiculous as it sounds. It’s a frenzy, but it gets me in the mood for all the exciting things the holiday season will bring: warm, peppermint-infused coffees, close friends, bringing others joy as they unwrap their long-coveted gifts, having fun, personal conversations, and of course, shopping.
Shopping is my favorite part of the season because I always want to get everyone every item on their lists.
Black Friday takes me back to when my mother hunted down gifts for me, and I still am eager to live up to her traditions. You either love or hate Black Friday, but it’s one of my favorite things each November. It’s the memories I’ve made – and continue to make – on Black Friday that make it so special.