I love shopping on Black Friday. Even when I was a newspaper girl and had to work the day after Thanksgiving, I’d sneak out over my lunch for deals–it’s how I got my 6-foot pre-lit tree at CVS for $20 and how I found my white gold right-hand ring for more than half off at JCPenney.

Since I got with my husband, we’ve been splitting Thanksgiving and Christmas between our families, taking turns. This year, we’re spending Thanksgiving with my family out of town, and I’m a giddy bird. The kind that gets smothered with drippings-made gravy and drowned in canned cranberry sauce. Oh, yes.

And Friday, Mom and I will shop, as we’ve done whenever we’re together my adult life on Black Friday. And we don’t really have trouble, despite the crazypants look I can get from friends who swear off Black Friday like some questionable fruit cake.


But it can be done, and stress-freely. Here’s how:

  1. Avoid the mall. Avoid the mall. For the love of God, avoid the mall. If you HAVE to go to the mall, wait until the evening. You’ll miss the BIG BIG BIG DOORBUSTER sales, but you’ll save your sanity, and that’s more important.
    bfA Black Friday at the mall in 2007, from Time. No. No no no. No.
  2. Speaking of timing, go ahead and ignore those technology-related doorbusters. In most cases, there are limited numbers of those items, so unless you’re one of those 4 a.m. crazies, you’re going to miss the 800-foot flat screen for $169.99.
  3. Start around 8 or 9 a.m. The really big crazies have retreated by then, but it’s still early enough that most morning sales are still going on.
  4. Bring a friend. When lines wrap around the store, my mom and I will take turns saving our place and running to look at one more thing.
  5. Give Kohl’s a try. The store has managing that unwieldy line down to an art. Yes, the line may endsomewhere in the rear corner of the store, but it moves pretty fast. Again … bring a friend to make the time pass.
  6. In fact, stick solely to stand-alone stores: Kohl’s, Target, a non-mall JCPenney. Fewer people. Just as good deals.
  7. Browse the ads before you go. It can be handy to have what you want in mind so the utter abundance of deals doesn’t make your brain bleed out your ears.
  8. Keep a cheery face. Yes, it can get a little crazy, but if you’re not having fun, and you’re not thinking of how happy your gift recipients will be to receive your gifts, you’re missing the whole point.
  9. If you feel like you HAVE to go to the mall, still don’t–just buy online. Last year, my mom picked up some amazing black riding boots for me from Macy’s on Black Friday, all from the comfort of her own computer, sipping coffee in her PJs.

Black Friday at a Macy's in 2011. Nope.

To you fellow Black Friday shoppers out there, do you have a game plan? Or are you of the, “Leave me alone, I’m still in a turkey coma” variety?