Reasons to be thankful (beyond the bargains!)
Growing up, I have so many wonderful memories of Thanksgiving: the family get-togethers, the delicious food, and that happy realization that Christmas is right around the corner. Most of all, though, I loved Black Friday – not just for the promise of new stuff, but for quality time spent with the person who nurtured not just my passion for fashion, but me as an individual: my mom. Our ritual may have evolved over the years – less standing in line, more shopping online – but for me, it’s still just as special as it always was.
I have three brothers. Despite growing up to become impeccably dressed men (well, two of them at least…), as kids they didn’t care for nice clothes, or covet the same must-have T-shirt, jacket, bag or whatever as their peers. But if they were ambivalent about what they wore, the same could not be said about actually shopping for clothes. Mom avoided it as much as possible, but when it came to things like new school shoes, for example, she had to bite the bullet.
Before they were even buckled into the backseat of the car, the protests would begin. They’d sulk, they’d answer back, and they’d glare, all building up to total meltdown, right in the middle of the store.
I was different. A typical girly-girl, from a young age I was obsessed with clothes. From teetering around in mom’s heels, to dressing my cherished Barbie doll in custom-made outfits, lovingly stitched by my aunt, I was fixated! And while I certainly threw my fair share of tantrums, for me, shopping was always a treat – and never more so than on Black Friday.
I never slept well on Thanksgiving night – not because of the obscene amount of turkey and pie I’d enjoyed, but because I was just too excited about the adventure to come. Quietly, so not to wake the boys, mom would come wake me up right before 5am on Black Friday morning. She’d watch me eat a bowl of cereal, bundle me up against the early morning chill, and we’d head to the mall.
The car ride itself was magical: the town felt empty and asleep, with just mom and me as its sole witnesses. Entering the mall was like entering another world – all bright lights, colorful Christmas decorations, and convivial chatter. Mom would buy me a hot chocolate, and we’d go join a line. Despite the ungodly hour, people were buzzing, and there was a real sense of camaraderie. In hindsight, having a kid in tow, even one as enthusiastic as pint-sized me, undoubtedly curbed mom’s pace. But she never let on, and it was thrilling to feel so grown-up, her partner-in-shopping.
Fast-forward twenty-something years, and the ritual continues, albeit slightly differently. The biggest change is that now the excitement starts even earlier, with an almost daily email exchange about reductions on favorite brands, discount codes, and newsletters. Those magical pre-dawn rises have given way to an altogether more grown-up routine: midnight whiskies on the coach as we realize our meticulously planned online shopping wish-lists.
After a well-deserved lie-in, we might still drive into town – but these days it’s less about standing in line, and more about soaking up the festive atmosphere, grabbing coffee, and congratulating ourselves on our savvy purchases! In recent years, my sister-in-law and niece have also joined in the fun – hopefully putting years of nightmare shopping trips with my kid brothers firmly to rest for our poor mom!
My Black Friday wish list for this year is short and sweet, and for the most part, all about quality over quantity. There’s a handbag, a couple of smart jackets, a UFO smart mask, and a desperately needed new cellphone. But I’m also taking the opportunity to try out new stuff at a discounted price – skincare and cosmetics in particular. Throw in a few carefully selected Christmas gifts, and you have one very productive shopping weekend indeed!
Before all that, though, there’s Thanksgiving to look forward to, and I’m once again so grateful to be spending it with the people I hold dearest: my family.
Happy shopping, everyone!