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!