Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Friday Shopping {Serenity Now Style}

The morning after Thanksgiving will find me happily sipping a hot cup of coffee and decorating our Christmas tree while singing along to holiday songs!  “Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?? . . . “  Sooooo excited to put up the tree- this year I’m going with blue, silver, white and red ornaments.  I can’t even wait to see what James thinks of our 9 foot faux wonder.  He’s already crazy for the garland on the stairs!


Later in the day, I will probably join the masses and do a little bit of shopping because once I actually pull out all of our holiday decor, I will be able to see what I’m missing.  Since we lived in a small townhouse until now, I really don’t have that much Christmas decor.  It all fits into 3 large plastic bins- does that qualify as “not that much”?  This year, I have already done some shopping, including purchasing a beautiful Nativity scene that I can’t wait to display!!

But since I’m not really doing Black Friday justice, I wanted to introduce you to Amanda, a gal who does Black Friday right! 


I first found Amanda’s blog Serenity Now last year when she wrote about her plan for Black Friday shopping.  I loved the article so much, I asked her if I could run it this year here and she kindly said yes!  (So funny that when I first read her post, I didn’t even have a clue that I would have a blog myself one day).  Keep reading to hear Amanda’s wonderful and practical tips to make your shopping a success . . .  she had me at Starbuck’s!  


I love to frolic with the bargain-happy masses, participating in Black Friday shopping.

What is Black Friday? Let me enlighten you...

The day after Thanksgiving is usually a huge day for retailers, who bend over backwards to get customers in their doors so they can make a profit, or be "in the black." Some people love to shop on Black Friday to save money on Christmas gifts. My friend Kelly saves hundreds of dollars on that 4th Friday in November. While that's certainly a plus for me, I tend to fall into a state of complete and utter bliss when I survey Target's finest wares and hear the cheery Christmas tunes they pump out over the loudspeakers. I'm a sucker for commercialism, it seems.

Here are a few tips to get you through the day if shopping isn't your favorite thing and you're braving Black Friday out of necessity. If you're a shopaholic like me, who doesn't mind the crowds, then these ideas will be icing on the cake to help you get through the day.

Have a Game Plan-
I like to keep a printed list of "who to buy for" in my wallet during the Christmas season.

This is especially helpful on Black Friday, so you aren't caught on the accessories aisle in Macy's wondering, "Didn't I already buy Aunt Mabel a green sweater?"

I was trained by some of the finest shoppers the retail world has ever seen, but the thrifty side of Christmas shopping sometimes eludes me. My friend Kelly is an expert, and advised me to keep an eye on sales and coupons the week of Thanksgiving. You can do this by browsing your local stores' circulars (buy the Thursday paper!), or check out sites like or

By comparing circulars to the sites' listings of store sales, you can make a good effort to find things on your list for excellent prices. I found some of the best deals on holiday decor at Target last year, and I plan to hit Hobby Lobby too.

Not into big box stores? That's okay...Wal-Mart sometimes gives me hives too. The area I live in has a beautiful "Olde Towne," with cute little boutiques lining the main street. Local shops like these have to compete with the big guys, and they often offer a free gift with purchase or some other incentive for shopping there on Black Friday. At best, you'll come away with some distinctive finds. At worst, you'll miss the mad rush on Barbie Jeeps on aisle 15 at Toys 'R Us.

What Not to Wear-
I love to dress in my cutest ensemble when I leave the house sans children (skinny jeans, anyone?), but Black Friday is not the day to debut your fabulous yet painfully uncomfortable purple ruffled booties...unless you want to pop Motrin all day. That said, you don't have to look like your three year old stylist dressed you. Wear something you know you'll be confident and comfortable in. Nice jeans, a sweater coat, a cute pair of flats, and some statement jewelry will go a long way.

Bring Reinforcements-
The conquest is so much more fun with friends or family. I loved shopping with my sister-in-law the year before last. We laughed at the frantic people standing outside Target at 5:30 a.m. while we sat in the toasty car and planned our morning. That being said, some members of the family are best left at home, and by "some members" I mean husbands and children. (Megan says:  Amen Sister!)  Unless you plan on doing some shopping for the kids with your significant other, have mercy on him and let him stay home and watch football while the kids trash the living room.

Listening to my children beg for crackers and Barbies and trying to keep them contained in a cart or stroller isn't really my thing, but if you're up for it don't say I didn't warn you. (This year, I plan on hitting a few stores before the rest of the family wakes up, and I may be forced to head back out with one or more children in tow if T won't sign on for kid duty. This could be disaster.)

(FYI, the blonde in the stroller is Natalie at age 2 1/2...I know what I'm talking about!)

Fuel Up-

Black Friday shopping is an excellent excuse to indulge in some Starbucks (may I suggest the Peppermint Mocha?) or a lunch out somewhere that does not have a playland outside the dining area. If stopping for coffee is not in the budget, bring a travel mug with a snack or two in your bag. Just be sure to keep your energy up so you don't pass out in the check-out lines. Speaking of check out lines...


You can be more efficient at check-out if one person stands in the never-ending line reading the latest issue of People and the other scans the shop for any last minute purchases. Take turns so nobody gets bored. Another time saver? Instead of driving aimlessly around town, fighting traffic, plan ahead of time which stores you'd like to visit. If your shopping list contains "must-purchase" gifts, you may want to decide ahead of time which stores to hunt in for those specific items. If you're familiar with the area, try to steer clear of heavily traveled roads and take short cuts!

With a little bit of planning, you can survive Black Friday Shopping, and maybe even enjoy yourself. (You can see how I did last year!) I'll wave if I see you sampling lotions in Bath and Body Works!

{Are you a Black Friday shopper? If not, do you do something special with the family that day?}

***Megan says:  Great post Amanda!  Thanks for sharing!  And I have another very special guest post up tomorrow--- MY HUSBAND will be sharing his picks for “Holiday Gift Guide- For Him”.  Should be interesting! 

And Decor Chick is giving away a $50 Visa gift card.  Go here to enter!!


  1. Great post....we laugh about black friday in my family b/c we say my grandmother started it. She trained my mom and me to a tee. One weird and somewhat odd feature is the needed toadie. :) Someone who doesn't mind standing in the line while you buzz around shopping. My little minion has been my bf from HS to my younger cousin to one of my former students. It amazes me how enticing a free lunch can be for someone. Hahah...seriously we always have good bonding time....and in the end..ALWAYS a story to tell.


  2. Such a fun post!! I usually don't shop on black Friday but my husband has been making an early run the last couple years for a few things. Then we go find the perfect tree to bring home. With that, decorating the tree and watching Rudolph the day flies by!

  3. Super hilarious!! I am loving the part about dressing right . . .and not like your three year old styled you. So true. I have gotten out of the house so early sometimes on Black Friday, only to find myself without makeup, not cute, schlumperdink style and running into everyone I know. Not this year!! I have a plan!

  4. Hilarious post! I don't usually go shopping on Black Friday but my boyfriend has to be at work at 4am (meaning a 3am wake up call) so I just might make it out this year! Fingers crossed I do as well as Amanda!

  5. What a great post! I am pretty crowd-adverse (long lines and my lack of patience aren't the best combo), so I tend to avoid shopping on Black Friday (at least at the "hot spots").

    Can't wait to see your husband's post!

  6. Black Friday in Chicago is a full contact sport.

    I may be sticking to the internet this year...

    Your hubby as a guest poster! Can't wait to read...

  7. Hehehe what a great post! So clever and funny! I can't wait to go out shopping Friday morning...I usually shop by myself because I have three boys and they hate to shop just like my hubby...I usually do no buy a ton of stuff just little things here and there and this year I'm going to meet up with my sis-in-laws for pumpkin lattes! I really enjoy reading your posts and added you to my "blogs I love"!

  8. I have never shopped on black Friday, but in reading this post I got a great idea of what to expect haha, Love it!

  9. Thanks for the feature, Megan! :) I loved sharing my post with your readers. :)

  10. Haha what a fun read! She's great : )


  11. I've never done shopping on black friday and always wonder if I am missing out! We plan to start our decorating too. Can't wait to see your tree - sounds like it will be very pretty!

  12. This was SUCH a great post! Thanks for sharing.
    Sadly we go to my dad's every year for Thanksgiving and there is nothing but Walmart and Home Depot. :-( It kills me to miss Target (and Starbucks) on black Friday.

  13. I don't do black friday anymore, but these are great tips!!!

    And I can't wait to see what your husband puts on his list...maybe he'll have an idea what to get my husband! Is is just me or are they so hard to shop for?


  14. Busted out laughing at this post! The pictures of the kids...priceless! I love to hit the stores with the masses early Friday morning, this post makes me feel a little less crazy...glad to know I am not the only one!

  15. Ha! So, James like to eat his greens!! LOL Can't wait to see what you've been up to. And, yes...3 totes qualifies as not much (our wreaths for the front of the house take up that many)Told ya we do Christmas in a big way around here!!

  16. lol we can fit our Christmas decor in three tubs too! I actually don't want too much becuase we hardly have any storage!

    I love this Black Friday guide, and ya give me a Starbucks and I will survive!


  17. GREAT POST! And great advice! I am thinking I may try to brave the black friday storm this year. and this HELPS! :)

    And can't wait to see what your hubs posts tomorrow! :)

  18. Great post, I love your little guy, I am a little nervous to put up the tree this year with our little one running around. I completely avoid Black Friday, cannot stand the crowds!

  19. great post!!! my husband just doesn't understand the 4am start -
    perhaps one year we'll do a mini vacation over your thanskgiving weekend just so we can take advantage of black friday!!! :)

  20. I really needed this post, i will be Black Friday shopping on for the first time this year with my girlfriends and don't really know what to expect. This post really helped.

  21. great post! I am always scared to death to go out in the trenches on Black Friday! LOL.
    stop by I have an adorable giveaway that I posted yesterday.

  22. The only time I ventured out, was the Jcrew Factory Midnight Madness. Managing the store was okay, but the parking and traffic was ridiculous. Now retailers run so many sales before Thanksgiving, that I don't feel pressured to get out the weekend after.

    I did just download the new Black Friday app though....pretty good!

  23. Great shopping tips - even though in the UK we dont have black friday :-(

    With you on the peppermint mocha though and am loving the gingerbread latte too!
    Lovely blog
    Rachie xo

  24. Just popping in to say nice site.

  25. Thanks for sharing valuable shopping tips. I would like to add more points here,

    1)Decide what you want in advance.
    2)Check Price Matching Policy of stores.
    2)Buy Only what you need.

    Thanks once again.

    black friday 2012 ads


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