Monday, December 1, 2008

Adventures in Christmas Shopping!

I started "day-after-Thanksgiving" shopping with my sister, several years ago, when her best friend and former shopping buddy moved to Maine. They used to meet for breakfast at 3:00 am to plan their shopping strategy. I would often tease her about this and she would explain, with 5 children, this was often the only way to get them one really nice gift they wanted at an affordable price. Well, when her friend moved, I felt compelled to offer a hand. Needless to say, she welcomed the help, and a new tradition began. Our typical approach is divide and conquer…going to the earliest store openings first, we’d split up and hopefully get what we’d come for, before moving on to the next opening store, etc. We went about our shopping cheerfully, trying to encourage and help others when we could. It was so much fun that Brennan asked one year if he could come along. The following year we were joined by my niece, Brooke. Last year, Brianna and her Mom took part in our shopping adventure and this year, we welcomed my nephew, Blake to the madness. ☺

This year, my sister had already studied the store advertisements, so we skipped meeting for breakfast in an effort to “sleep in” a little. (LOL!) The first store didn't open until 5:00 am, so we didn’t have to leave the house until 4:30! By 5:30, we had the item we had come for (Hooray!) and were on the way to the next assignment. This continued on until about 8:00 or so when we stopped for breakfast. Then, it was onto Family Christian Store. Unfortunately for them, their computers crashed and they were having to process their sales manually (hand-writing every item on carbon receipts). I felt so bad for all those cashiers! In many ways, that was the best store for something like that to happen because their customers are kinder and more understanding than most. It took about 45 minutes to check out.

Brianna’s Mom had to head off to work from there, so the rest of us piled into my sister’s van and began yet another "day after Thanksgiving" tradition "the wave game." I hesitate to even tell you about this because you might lose any respect you have for me. Here is how it works…we casually look for someone walking through a parking lot, or someone next to us at a traffic light…if they make eye contact, we will get a startled expression like I know you! and we begin waving. Most of the time, they get that same startled look and then they wave back, smiling, then the look on their face changes to “who is that?” Don’t ask me why this is so much fun. Some of the hardest laughs I have ever had were during the wave game. Our kids especially love to play. This year, we approached a traffic light and waved to a couple next to us who smiled and waved back. Then, they rolled down their window and because they looked friendly, my sister did the same. They yelled over, “how’s the family?” We were cracking up as we realized they were onto us and were playing along. It was a long traffic light, so we chatted back and forth a few times then wished each other a Merry Christmas and laughed some more. Great memories.

By the time mid-day rolled around, we were all a bit delirious and made one last stop together at Target before my team (Brennan, Brianna and myself) were ready to call it a day. We were in rare form by this time, and I simply couldn’t resist capturing some of our moments on film. I can’t imagine what the people watching the store security cameras must have been thinking. Hope you enjoy our adventure!


Lelia Chealey said...

Too funny! I don't know if I should tell my oldest about the wave game or not! She's into stuff like that.
My sister and daughter & I talked about going this year but maybe next year.
Sounds like you had a blast!

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Ok...I need a nap after reading your post.

I must have been exhausted over Thanksgiving because my weekend went like this:

sleep late







Glad you had fun!

Tricia said...

That is hilarious! I love the idea of the wave game, I may have to do that with my kids sometime, they would love it!


Michele Williams said...

Oh this is too funny! How do you do it? I'm exhausted just reading this! lol....

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

We're so into it! My husband and I hit the floor around 4:00 to get to stores by 5:00. This year, however, we didn't have a big list so we mostly wandered our way through a maze of stops until 3:00 PM and dropped dead on the couch at my inlaws. We always enjoy our time together, making a 6:00 AM stop at Sam's Club for free breakfast.

Needless to say, there is still so much to do, but enjoyed my time as always.

Have a great week!


Kristi said...

I am cracking up over the "wave" game. My family would join in your fun. What a blast! The pictures are hilarious and radiate absolute joy. Thanks for sharing this fun glimpse with all of us.

ozjane said...

I am amazed there was space in the aisles to take the photos

Laurie Ann said...

Wowza! 3:00? AM? No. Way. Bless your heart! I hope ya'll found some good bargains. We haven't done the wave game but 800 years later we still do the "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" with friends or family we see in town. The wave game sounds fun! Looks like ya'll had a most excellent day. I loved your post!

Woman on a Mission said...

The pictures are great. What a hoot! I'm so glad you made it out alive!

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

You guys are crazy. I have not gotten into the after Christmas sells. I do not like the crowds but you sure looked like you were having fun!!
Thanks for sharing!

In His Graces~Pamela

Alexis said...

Oh the description of the wave game had me in hysterical laughter!! My family already knows I'm nuts though - thanks for sharing your day in photos!

Edie said...

HaHa! I have done something like the wave game before with my cousins on our drive home from the beach one day. We had a great time waving at people all the way home and seeing if they would wave back at us. Many did.

I'm surprised there was enough room in the isles for these antics! LOL! Love the pictures. :)

12-arrows said...

oh how cute! and what fun! isn't it just the best when you just thoroughly enjoy your family and can just laugh at anything too? Love your photos! I tried to get someone to get up with me but everyone here loves their sleep just a little bit TOO much! I was disappointed but thats how it goes. I am sure my daughter would have loved to come but she is only 10 and I thought I might get in trouble with child protective services if I drug her out at 3am..

Peggy said...

OK Tracy..this is the craziest FUN I've heard on for shopping! I'm just so thankful you were not in any of those mad rushes & crushes
of people trampling others. You be careful & I'm glad you're alright!
Photos to commemorate...SUPER DAY!

Kathy S. said...

I guess we do the wave game too. Just never knew what it was called. It looks like you have a fun family. Brave too to go out on "that day"!!

Cheryl said...

I want to go shopping with you guys next year. Wha a hoot. We used to shop the day after Thanksgiving and had so much fun.

Thanks for sharing!


Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hey girl,
I'm singing your christmas carols, and hanging out dreaming of your #1 carmel apple spice- (christmas for your mouth) at starbucks! lol I have had gingerbread latte's and peppermint mocha twists, but never a carmel apple spice.
The WAVE game huh? ;) Lose respect for you? NAHHHH YOU JUST WENT EVEN HIGHER on my list!* YALL are alot of fun aren't you?! EGADS... sure wish we lived closer!
Okay, gonna go read more, and sing more.