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How I make Black Friday fit into my holiday plans

Lindsey Dowiot

Black Friday, Black Friday — what better way to forget about all that we have to be thankful for than by standing in long lines, shopping till you drop and spending the whole day bargain hunting, while missing out on quality time with the family?

Please, don’t get me wrong: I love a good bargain! But is Black Friday really worth it? I love REI’s #OptOutside campaign this year. Not only do their employees get the day off, but it also encourages people to get outside — the main reason the store exists in the first place. I have to be totally honest, though, and admit I’m not really much of an “outdoorsy” person. Here’s what I do instead.

After spending Thanksgiving Day with my in-laws, we all need a little rest and relax time. My in-laws are great, the food is second to none and we enjoy each other’s company — but it’s still a lot of work! I usually only bring a side dish or two, maybe some dessert, and I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be to host the feast at my house. Plus, my husband works a lot of hours, so we try to spend quality time together whenever the opportunity presents itself.

So, what I usually do is look over the ads ahead of time to see if there is anything that I really need to go into a store for. I won’t ever get out of the house before 9 a.m. at the earliest, so those “doorbusters” and “early bird” deals are out of the question. I’m not going to stand in crazy lines and deal with overzealous bargain hunters that early in the morning. What I prefer to do is sleep in, cook a special breakfast for the family, enjoy my coffee and online shop in the comfort of my own pajamas. I tend to do most of my shopping online anyway, and this way it’s so much easier to see what you’ve got in your cart — and if you really need it. Plus, I don’t get to the checkout and go, “Whaaat? I spent how much?” On a tight budget, I need to avoid that.

After a while, we might end up with a little cabin fever, and we’ll head out. We try to avoid the major big box stores since they’re usually pretty picked over by late in the day. I love to check out small shops and do my part in the #ShopSmall movement. As an Etsy shop owner, it’s become incredibly important to me to support small, local businesses. Not that I support my family with my shop, but some people do, and the products they carry are often of better quality than anything you can find at the mall. And because of their unique nature, the people on your shopping list will appreciate items from these shops more than another movie, sweater or tie.

We love to end the day by pulling out the Christmas decorations and getting started on the decorating. This is the kind of tradition that I want my kids to remember. Not the time that mom was gone all day and came home cranky and tired! I want them to connect the day after Thanksgiving with warm family memories that they’ll want to continue with their families, too.

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