Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday: Yay or Nay?

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I'm still in my robe at home this morning, and I love feeling relaxed rather than frantic. While I am drinking coffee, my husband and I are shopping a few of the Black Friday deals--right in our living room, on our computers. Did you know you don't need to get in line at the wee hours of the morning to snag a great deal? You can get the same deals online. Sure, a few things are out of stock, but I was able to find the LEGO Ultimate Building Set I wanted from Walmart for $15 at  The Crayon Maker is out of stock at my local store, but will ship it to my house for a mere .97 cents! No waiting in line, no frazzled rush to find it and snag one, just a peaceful easy feeling, to quote an Eagles' line.

After today's shopping, we're pretty much done. I wrote extensively last Christmas about not getting caught up in the commercialism of it all and the frenzy toward the big day to buy more and more. While we don't follow it exactly, I love the idea behind the 3-present rule: a "gold" gift (a bigger item), a "frankincense" gift (a gift that matches the child's interests), and a myrrh gift (something that helps them grow in their spiritual life). Sure, I still need to purchase a few gifts for extended family and make a few gifts, but overall, I want to remain intentional about enjoying a peaceful Christmas season and letting the peace of Christ dwell in my heart richly (Philippians 4:7).

By the way, my favorite find was an Iron Man costume for $3 at! My boys' love to dress up as super heroes, and if yours do too, I encourage you to check the costumes Target still has available online only.

Do you shop Black Friday--in-store or online? If so, what was your best find of the day? What steps do you think we can take to remain intentional about not getting caught up in a buying frenzy this year, and celebrate instead time with family, making special memories, and focusing on the true meaning of Christmas?


  1. I did quite a bit of Christmas shopping on October/early November. Today I was all about finding things that we "need" for ourselves at a good price. I purchased some crazy cheap Dockers for my husband online (5 for the price of 2 normally). It's so cold and snowy here that I don't leave the house unless I have to. I really like your idea about the three gifts and their meaning for Christmas. To be intentional and have fun, I was trying to make an advent calendar out of felt, but I might have to wait for that until next year. Thanks for a nice post.

  2. Hi Bitterroot Mama! Good deal on the Dockers.
    I was going to try to make an advent calendar too. There is a pattern in the Gooseberry Patch Christmas book. Do you have it too, or is there a different pattern somewhere?
    I would love to get it done too. I think I am going to take an intentional chunk of time on a Saturday, probably, to work on it as a family. Maybe next Saturday :)
    Have a great weekend!

  3. I think it's great when people decide to make Black Friday into a "buy nothing" day. However, I looked online and decided to chance finding what I needed in the stores (we live 5 minutes away from a big mall). I ended up buying three things I had been contemplating buying--replacement drinking glasses, a winter coat for my daughter, and a shirt for myself. I was happy to save over $20 by purchasing them in the store yesterday.

    Still, I don't want to join in the consumerist frenzy. I've committed to buying nothing beyond groceries and basic household supplies until 2011 begins. Celebrating advent is far more meaningful than any shopping I could do.

  4. Hi Aiming4Simple,
    Glad you found a few things you needed and saved some money on those items!
    I like your idea of buying nothing but the necessities until 2011. I have just a few more things to round up & a few stocking stuffers, and then I think I'll follow your idea too!
    I really want to make an advent calendar with our family, and host a Christmas tea for kids and moms, plus bake for neighbors and friends. Not taking time to shop affords time for these other, more meaningful activities. Thanks for sharing!

  5. We don't have a lot of money, but personally I HATE the three gift idea. It seems like the rich peoples way of being cheap and nasty at Christmas when we know they can afford to spend some money on their children. For the record, our kids are only getting four gifts each this year, but that wasn't planned, it just happened. I picked out several things I knew they'd love that were within our Christmas budget without pretending to spiritualize being cheap and nasty.

    I tend to do my Christmas shopping during the year if I can because I don't like to rush around in December doing it with everyone else and finding out all the stuff I wanted to buy has already been bought by everyone else.

    I only spent about $25 on the one year old, and I got him stuff I know he will love. I spent about $55 on my disabled 2 year old on stuff I know he will love, and I spent about the same on the three year old on stuff I know he will love. So I shopped for three kids and spent less than $150, on stuff they will love, without making up silly gifting rules (3 gifts for gold, frankincense and myrrh) to try to get away with being cheap and nasty.

    The key is that apart from their birthdays, we don't just go and buy them toys during the year. We don't have the money to do that, and we want them to appreciate what they have. We also buy only classic kind of toys, we don't let them have superheros, or movie merchandise, or disney stuff, all of which is totally unnecessary, and which costs a fortune, and which makes kids idolizes stuff they have no business idolizing. I want my kids to develop their own personalities, not be hung up on some character on TV. Also a lot of that merchandise is just very expensive junk that breaks very quickly.

    I've seen other cheap and nasty parents lately doing the all home made gift thing, which can be nice if you make nice stuff your kids will love, but if you make each girl a pillowcase dress and a book bag from a pillowcase simply because it's easy and cheap, and not because they'll like it, that's being cheap and nasty, and unfortunately I know more of those kinds of home made gifting parents than the other.

    We can't afford to do a lot for our kids, but there is a difference between having fun and giving gifts and doing it relatively inexpensively, and being cheap and nasty. A BIG difference. Christmas is a time of year I want to have fun with it with my kids and give them a couple of lovely new things to show them I love them, not to show them they mean nothing and so I made them crap they hate.

  6. Hi Katy-Anne,
    Thanks for sharing. We, also, don't have a lot of money. Like you, and most parents, my husband and I love finding gifts that our children will love, and that will bring a great look of joy to their faces. That is a gift for us, also.
    I don't look at the three-gift rule as "cheap and nasty." I mentioned we don't follow it exactly. Our kids are getting more like 6-8 gifts each, within our budget. Plus, they receive gifts from grandparents, aunts, etc.
    What I like is the principle behind it: being intentional about what you're giving--really thinking about gifts they will like and matching the gift to the child, not just buying a lot of meaningless toys just so they can have more gifts to open.
    The lady who shared the 3-gift idea in an e-book has 6 children, and to fit it all in her family's budget, she has to be intentional about what she and her husband give (plus, they get gifts from relatives).
    I think it is helpful for everyone (myself and my children) to learn how to be gracious recipients of gifts--whether we get one gift or ten. So many people feel jilted if they only get a few gifts, like they should be entitled to more.
    Sorry to hear many people near you are being, as you say, "cheap and nasty" with Christmas with their kids. While there certainly are exceptions, I think the vast majority of parents still aim to provide the nicest Christmas they can for their children...but again, the true meaning of Christmas is not in buying and giving gifts but in celebrating the birth of Christ.

  7. I like the principle about being intentional too. But I also like not having a particular pattern. It's also odd that our children are all getting the same amount of gifts this year. Sometimes, one child gets a few more than the others because we found stuff he would love. But, the kids so far don't mind (and we want to teach them not to) because they absolutely love what THEY were given. I have put many hours of thought and work into choosing the gifts for my kids to suit each of them, and I am excited about Christmas and love it.

    Yes, I think a lot of people try to just give their kids a nice Christmas. The people around me aren't necessarily being cheap and nasty, but on a lot of the blogs I read the kids are being given home made book bags or home made crayon holders or such. That wouldn't have excited me as a kid but I still would have said thank-you.

    The thing I'm not sure we'd agree on is the birth of Christ being the true meaning of Christmas. :) We don't know for sure when He was born, but I doubt it was in December. We tend to be more secular about the holiday just because we don't want to teach our kids it's Jesus' birthday when it isn't, or that Santa is real when he isn't. But I know different families do different. My best friend and her family don't celebrate it at all for other reasons, but they make a big deal of their kids birthdays to make up for it. So they aren't doing it to be cheap and nasty, but because they honestly believe it is wrong.

    Anyway sorry I got on such a soapbox. I am chatty and pregnant LOL.