Your Black Friday Shopping Checklist

shopping02Black Friday shopping has become an odd sort of tradition for many families. Historically speaking, Black Friday is the single day of the year when businesses which have been in the “red,” meaning slow in sales, can finally get back into the “black” with profits going up, as shoppers clamber to be the first in line for this bargain or that special. Most stores offer Black Friday specials – specific items on sale at deep discounts – to attract as many shoppers to their doors as possible.

Many Black Friday shoppers consider the day as an event of sorts. Some can even be found napping in a tent or sleeping bag outside a particular store, hoping to be one of the first in as soon as those doors open. For others, it’s more of a people-watching occasion, with some good deals to be had if they’re so inclined.

If you’re one of the brave souls who will be ready to drive to a store at 3 a.m. to get that one special something for Christmas, here are a few checklist items to prepare yourself.

Get some sleep. Some stores open in the wee hours of Black Friday morning, long before sunrise. If you plan to be up way before the crack of dawn, go to bed early so you’ll not only be refreshed and ready to shop, but you won’t be a danger to yourself or others, driving half-asleep in the dark.

Dress warm. Needless to say, we’re in the thick of winter now, with Christmas only a month away. It’s cold during the day as it is but, in the early hours before the sun comes up, it can be absolutely frigid. Dress in layers that can be removed if necessary, as you go from one place to the next.

Wear comfortable shoes. There are no two ways about it; you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. Go for comfort over style.

Coffee up. Why not bring a thermos full of liquid caffeine (in whatever form you prefer). It will not only help you wake up but, if it’s hot, it’ll stave off the chill that’s waiting out there to catch you in its frosty grip.

Make a list. Think about what you want to buy, and for whom. Organization goes a long way to reducing holiday stress. Check off your list as you go, and keep track of your budget as well. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself while you’re at it, but be careful not to overspend!

Have a plan. Are you looking for a special item that has been advertised? If it’s something popular like a toy, a game or something electronic, you can be sure that a thousand other people want it too. Get to that store early, get in line, and get comfortable. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to have what you’re looking for, but waiting until the crowd clears almost guarantees that you’ll miss out.

Remain calm. Christmas can be a stressful time of year. Try to keep in mind that the purpose of being out on Black Friday is not to fight someone for the last Hatchimal or the latest camera drone. You’re out there to find something special for someone who is important to you, and you’re out there to enjoy yourself. If you’re faced with frustration, take a minute to calm yourself. No material thing is worth getting in a fight.

Be kind. This is easier than you think. Remember that this is the holiday season and, although you can’t control the action or attitudes of other people, you can certainly control your own. Wish strangers a good morning. Hold a door for someone else. Let someone who has fewer items than you go ahead of you. Don’t be in a hurry. These small gestures may not seem like much but, to someone else, they can really mean a lot.

Enjoy yourself. Remember – you’re shopping. You’re not trying to solve the world’s financial crisis. This should be an enjoyable experience. Take a break after a while, have lunch, figure out where you stand with your list, do some window shopping instead. Stretch, breathe. And when you’ve had enough, call it a day.

By Ann Luongo