The Saturday before Black Friday I hit the shopping mall with a friend to buy gifts. She needed a specific pair of pants in a certain size and I needed a certain top in a specific size. After scouring the store she ended up with the very last pair of pants in the size she needed and I got the very last top in the size I needed. Had we waited until Black Friday I'm sure both of these items would have been gone. Finding the exact size of gift before it sells out is just one of the reasons I refuse to shop on Black Friday.
Black Friday creates a false sense of urgency, as if the stores will never have a sale again or the items you want will disappear before you have a chance to buy them. This kind of competitive shopping atmosphere leads to news stories showing shoppers stampeding into stores and trampling innocent bystanders, sometimes to death. I love a great deal but I won't risk my life for one. It's the holiday season people, stores will have nothing but sales going on through New Years!
Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn and joining the shopping stampede on Friday, shop from the comfort on home on your computer. By avoiding the high pressure environment of a retail store you can take your time with your purchases and seriously consider which ones are worth buying.
Hitting the shopping malls on Black Friday can lead to buying too many boring assembly line gifts. Instead of buying the same items everyone else is buying, consider shopping at small independent stores that carry hand crafted merchandise, like Ten Thousand Villages. Instead of hitting the mall, hit the kitchen and bake up some goodies to put in jars or cookie tins to give away. Or find a grocery store with a good bakery section and stock up on goodies to give. For the person who has everything and then some, you could donate some money to one of their favorite charities or buy them tickets to an event you know they would enjoy.
The best way to handle Black Friday is to sleep in, develop a personalized shopping strategy that fits your schedule and your budget so you can relax and focus on having fun this holiday season.