black friday and winterfest sensory overload

much like years past, black friday for us does not involve getting up in the wee hours of the morning (or nowadays it's more like staying up until the clock strikes 12).  well, except for my husband who has to work the day after thanksgiving.

we are not fans of the whole black friday thing anyway.  the madness and long lines just to save some money?  don't get me wrong, i'm all for living frugally and managing your money wisely, but i don't think it's worth the craziness of black friday.  and it makes me cringe a little thinking about what that whole day represents (at least to us).

i just don't see how i can support a shopping day where people fight each other for the same item to the point of injury (or ignoring someone who needed help).  it's appalling.  and what about the workers at these big box retailers?  you have some stores opening up at midnight or even on thanksgiving day.  some of these people are missing out on family time just so that they can serve the needs of consumers hunting for bargains on things they probably can live without?  i know what that's like.  i'm married to a man who has a job where the busiest time of year is this time of year.  the weeks before christmas mean longer hours (for the same pay).  the days leading up to christmas day means our kids don't see him at all (one day he was at work at 5 a.m. and didn't get home until almost 9 p.m.), and i am left with an exhausted husband.  we have dealt with this every year for the past 8 or 9 years, and i can't say that i've gotten used to it.  i've learned to expect the worst in december, but it doesn't get any easier.  while i am thankful that he has a job, and that the busy season means money coming in for his company (which means he can continue to get paid), it's hard to find joy in the reason why he's busy: consumers doing what they do best.

maybe instead spending money on more stuff, we learn to live with less.  maybe instead of buying the xbox or flat screen TV at a huge discount, save your money and wait for the item to go on sale at another time of year.  or maybe consider not getting it and be content with that smaller TV or the more dated game system.  or buy used and create less waste.  what do our actions represent on black friday when we choose to participate in all that madness?  what exactly are we supporting?  i'm not saying you shouldn't go shopping at all, but maybe re-examine the intention behind choosing to shop on that particular day.


so what did we do on black friday?  well, we did spend a little money.  but instead of heading out to the chain stores at midnight and fighting the crowds we hit the local shops.  as i mentioned here, room service had their made in the 216 holiday shoppe opening that night so that's where we headed.

like years past, i have never been disappointed at the quality and variety this store has to offer.  their holiday shoppe always features a nice selection of local artists, from clothing, jewelry and other accessories to paper goods and kids' toys.

then we hopped over next door to say hello at another local favorite, salty not sweet.  i found thee perfect gift for someone.  and i mean perfect (at least in my opinion).  and it worked out because i didn't have a clue yet what to do for this particular recipient.  i'm just a little excited over the find.  just a little.

the following day, we decided to check out winterfest in downtown cleveland after aaron got off work.  when we went last year, we had a great experience checking out the gingerbread homes and tooling around downtown that we figured we'd try that again this year.  note to self, if we go downtown for winterfest again we need to go in the morning or early afternoon.  by the time we arrived, the streets were blocked off and there were TONS of people.  tower city was packed.  people spilled out into public square.  there were people, people and more people.

oh yeah, and we saw some lights, and i think some gingerbread houses and more people.  while it's fantastic to see such a great turnout for cleveland's tree lighting event, being crammed like sardines and worrying that my little ones are going to be swept away by a sea of people is not my idea of fun.

it was definitely one of those experiences where you were glad to be able to go do it once (so that you could say that you did go), but probably won't do again in the future.  as emma so eloquently stated about her winterfest experience (and i think she spoke for all of us): "i'm ready to go home."

so we did.


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