We stood in the crowded parking lot, the darkness just turning to dawn, steaming cups of coffee in our hands and laughing with the others what idiots we were to be waiting for a store to open at 4 AM.
Are you the avid bargain hunter who crawls out of a warm, cozy bed and braves the cold, black night to drive to your favorite shopping spot? My mom thinks it's stupid; I think it's sorta fun. But I don't have to scan the newspapers for sales and do my Christmas shopping on Black Friday every year.
But here's a life-saving, mentally healthy tip: keep your kids home. They do not need to be drug out of sleep, hastly dressed, and plopped into a cold van just so you can find a bargain. Puleeze, take 'em to a trusted relative or friend the night before if you must hit the stores early. As I share with my parenting audiences, shopping is an adult activity. Don't take a kid to the store, stuff him in a cart, and constantly tell him to stop crying or to be quiet. It's no more fun for a kid to do adult shopping than if you had to spend the day in the colored ball pit at a McDonalds.
Let's make Christmas shopping fun for everyone.