Okay, I know this first day of Christmas post may seem a bit odd, given that I just did an entire post ranting over the distortion and commercialization of Christmas. Well, I'm sort of clinically insane, that way.
So, while seemingly a bit odd, the first of the 8 Anderson traditions is actually Black Friday! In the time BK (before kids), wild horses could not have dragged me out in public on the day after Thanksgiving. All fattened up and still sluggish from the tryptophan, there was nothing that struck terror into my heart like the crazed and unshowered masses at Target, Wal Mart, or (insert store of choice here). Then came the dawning of the era of time known as AK (after kids).
As all of you that are parents can attest, once you have kids it is extremely difficult to have an intelligent conversation with your spouse without hearing at least one of the following statements: "I have to go to the bathroom. Mom! I think someone has a dirty diaper. Mom! Tell him/her to stop touching me. I'm thirsty. Mom! I'm hungry. I'm sleepy. Mom! Oh! Can I have that? That's not fair! Mom! Are we there yet?" Anyway, you get the picture.
So, Black Friday has become the one day of the year where my husband and I get to spend the whole day together--just us. No kids. Period. Ever. Simply NOT ALLOWED!!! It is the one day of the year that I can mark on my calendar a whole year ahead of time as DATE DAY!! I get a whole day--just me, Dave, and the other 100,000 or so crazy people in Amarillo, TX that have decided to brave the cold and hectic chaos known as Black Friday. I know, I'm really romantic that way.
Since my parents decided years ago to always spend Thanksgiving in Texas, we have had the luxury of built-in babysitters for 10 years running now. It's fantastic! My kids get quality grandma time, and Dave and I get to practice what it's going to be like when we are empty-nesters. We also have the luxury of being able to shop for the kids without them around. Not to mention the natural deadline for buying and wrapping gifts is always the following Saturday morning. I am forced to plan, execute said plan, wrap the plan, and then load my plan up into the Ransom Express delivery car (complete with free shipping) to finish off the weekend! It's a win-win-win-win!! I'm done by cyber Monday, my kids little "love tanks" are full from grandma and grandpa, my husband and I are finally able to eat 2 whole meals together without interruption (yes, we do breakfast and lunch), AND I get free shipping for my entire family!
The thing that I like the very most about our little "tradition" is that for the remainder of the Christmas shopping season, I am free to enjoy the little things. I am no longer stressed about what to buy that person who has everything. I am not tired from waiting in line after line after line in the weeks following Black Friday trying to purchase the multitude of things that still need to be purchased, when I am in an actual hurry. I can stop and enjoy the twinkling of everybody else's pretty Christmas lights (because, as my kids will tell you "We don't do Christmas lights because it's bad for the environment". I guess one of these days I should actually tell them the truth--that I'm just too cheap to pay the excessive electric bill. It just sounds more noble to credit the environment, though.) This one little "tradition" of ours has really freed me up to do a multitude of other fun things without the added pressure that the prolonged buying of presents seems to bring.
The other added benefit has been the camaraderie between Dave and I. We are really intentional in the days leading up to Black Friday. We spend time (after the kids are in bed, or while they are in their own little tryptophan-induced comas on Thanksgiving afternoon) thinking about and planning for each and every gift that we need to buy. We don't wander aimlessly through stores looking for heavily marketed "inspiration". Nor do we impulse-buy items under duress. We have a budget, and we have the massive Black Friday marketing machine with which to find the biggest bang for our buck. It really is a good thing for this extremely type-A girl to have a plan that works.
So, there you have it. The Anderson Family Tradition of Black Friday!! I kind of secretly hope that you don't decide to incorporate this one, as it will just make my Black Friday shopping experience even more crowded! But Merry Christmas, anyway!