To Black Friday or Not…

Last year was the first year in probably close to a decade that I did not attend Black Friday Festivities.

It was hard. I was sad.  Besides just the pure and simple tradition it had become – who doesn’t love pouring over the sales ads, making a plan, getting up no later then 2 am, standing in the freezing cold by 3 am to be close to the front of the line?!

Ok, well when put like that it doesn’t sound so glamorous…

Who doesn’t love to have a set amount of cash, knowing you have to get 20 presents – and finding something perfect for every single person at a discount of at least 50-75%, and be home by 10 am completely done with Christmas shopping?!  That sounds better.

Back to last year – do you know how many wicked awesome deals I missed out on?!  Anyone that knows me knows how much I like to get the most for our dollars – and how excited I get when I succeed.  And I always succeed – we may have to wait a little bit, I may have to get creative, but I will succeed.  I was extreme couponing before it was ‘cool’ for goodness sakes!  Of course that pours over to Christmas shopping.

Last years miss was forced.  It was the skinniest Christmas we had ever had.  Being in Texas, months without sufficient income, we had just changed things up and decided I would go to work.    If it wasn’t for a Christmas Eve Blessing from a stranger at one of my two jobs, we wouldn’t have even had such a wonderful feast to enjoy.

We have come a long way from where we were a year ago.  Who would have seen this in our future.  No longer just a dream but actually happening.  And I survived without shopping on Black Friday.

Now, here we are again.  Black Friday is next week.

And I am soo torn!

I can think of a lot of stuff we “need”.  Like new pots and pans – we actually don’t have any that are not of the camping variety, but we also haven’t used any in over a year (while we were in Texas we used electric skillets).  Or bedroom stuff for the children’s rooms.  Or bathroom stuff.  Stuff that we have gotten rid of over the last 4 years (like real dishes) and stuff that would make our tiny house pretty AND efficient for our little family.   I know I will find those “needs” at a wicked good price on Black Friday.  Buuuuttt…

Do I really *need* that stuff or is it the consumer in me?  The shopper that gets a thrill for scoring a great deal.  Not to mention all those gifts we need to get for our large extended family…  Which I am very picky about anyway.  No “sit on the shelf collecting dust” items or “play with it for 2 seconds and break or forget about it” toys.  Each gift must be a useful, quality, highly discounted  gift.

Old habits die hard.

Is it possible to have a good Christmas with mostly homemade but useful gifts??  Is it possible to do an entire homemade Christmas??  Does homemade equate to prudent or just cheap?  Do I care if it is seen as cheap – after all, its not the receivers finances or values that are affected (and if they do care, they don’t need a gift anyway, right!).  Who determined the best gifts had to be factory made and store bought??  Why is it so easy to change my consumer habits the rest of the year, be more purposeful, more simplistic – then the Christmas season rolls around and I struggle to keep the same thinking??

Ugh!  Its enough to hurt my brain.

Here goes – keeping the focus of Christmas simple – on Christ, on family, on experiencing the season purposefully and simply – with the challenge of few (no?) store bought gifts… and its going to be wonderful!

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