Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Our Black Friday Tradition

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Every family’s got it’s own plan for Black Friday.  For many of my friends it means getting up early to brave insane crowds while looking for deep discounts.  It’s a time for holiday insanity, something I really have never agreed with.  How does buying things for lower than the cost to make them in order to get you to buy really help the economy?  Well, it doesn’t.  However, companies are hoping that offering sales will encourage you to buy more than you’d really planned on (including impulse buy items that aren’t on sale, or accessories) and that makes up for it.  Either that or you’ll talk about this great gift you got for your family when you were shopping and someone else will run out to buy the same thing at a higher price.

When I was little our Black Friday tradition meant cleaning up the house from top to bottom.  My sister and I scrubbed the floors, the walls, things that hadn’t had any attention all year.  All of this was in hopes of netting a few bonus points with Santa before the year was out.  We didn’t have much time left to make our impression on Santa.  Every year Santa filled the bottom of the tree with so many presents it boggled our minds.  It never really phased us that we didn’t get presents from our parents.  Our family would give us gifts, but our parents never gave us anything.  It was all Santa at home.  Because we were treated so well by Santa, we felt like we had to act especially good just to deserve it.

Moving out on my own meant much the same as far as rituals.  We did Black Friday shopping once with a friend of mine, but I swore never to do it again.  The deals weren’t that good for what we bought and I did better on Amazon.  We went back to our usual tradition from when I was a child.  Black Friday became all about getting ready for Christmas.  We’d bring out the tree, dress it up pretty, and pull out the Christmas toys and books.  It’s been that way ever since.

This year our holiday preparations were a bit lacking, though better than last year at this time.  At least we have a tree.  We got rid of our old tree after (in a moment of early-labor insanity) I decided to remove all the prestrung lights because half the tree wouldn’t light up, and whenever I found the magic bulb that was loose to get it to work, it would only stay on for a moment and I had to go find it all over again.  Being in labor with Sander at the time I decided as a part of my nesting routine I would take care of our little light problem.  I was about two-thirds of the way done with the tree when I ended up going in to the the birth center, then the hospital for Sander’s birth.  That should say something about how long it took to get the tree set up.  He was born December 19th.  I ended up in the hospital until December 22nd.  That meant I was finishing up the tree while watching Avatar.  The next night I wrapped presents, our usual Christmas Eve ritual.  We lived with room mates that had their own tree the next year, and last year we ended up having to order a new tree on Amazon that didn’t arrive until the beginning of December.

Now we’ve gotten most of our Christmas decorating out of the way already.  Our little white tree is set up by the window in our living room.  It looks so small now that it’s no longer living on my sewing machine table against an empty white wall with plain white blinds.  The lights were still on it from last year so all we needed to do was fluff the branches and put the base back on.  We don’t know what happened to our ornaments, so the only thing decorating it are candy canes I bought as an impulse buy on our pre-Thanksgiving grocery trip, knowing we wouldn’t be back to shop until mid-week at best.  We couldn’t find our tree skirt so I wrapped a white, sparkley shawl I made for Corde years ago to protect her when she was scared.  I told her it was a magic shawl.  Now it’s turned into Linus’s blanket under our sadly simplistic tree.  It looks plain and very stark, though I know it will look so much better when we finally get it lit up.  It’s kind of lost in our living room, too small for the space.  It would have looked much better up on Corde’s dresser, replaced by a real tree, either a live one in a stand, or a fake one that better takes over the space.  Green would be a nice contrast to the stark white backdrop of our living room.  I’m even considering getting a $20 potted indoor evergreen to liven up the space and use as our Christmas tree.  It would solve one of my complaints, not enough house plants, and it would work as a functional, if odd shaped Christmas tree.  Of course, that’s so small it wouldn’t do anything about the space requirements right now!  We’d also probably have to groom it into a nice Christmas shape, if we really want to worry about something like that.  Either way I’ll probably have to groom it.  My plants have a tendency to overgrow.

In other Christmas decorating, we’ve set up the Fisher-Price Little People Play n Go Christmas Wonderland on our coffee table for the time being. It’s a great place for it to be displayed and the kids can take it down to play with at any time. Beekee got it for Christmas last year, and while it never got put away with the Christmas decorations last year, it’s still a Christmas themed thing. Sander got the Fisher-Price Little People Musical Christmas Train for Christmas last year, so that’s being set up under the tree.  Right next to that we’re putting the Fisher-Price Little People On-the-Go Christmas Shop next to it on the same black trunk. Both of those are in great reach for the kids to get down and play with them. We’re going to have to move them to make room for presents, but for the time being they can stay there. We don’t exactly have any presents to put under the tree right now.  There are three cute snow globes sitting under our television, and we have a few other holiday toys to set up and display.  We should be done by the end of the day, which is really strange for me as we used to spend at least two or three days on decorating alone when I was a child.  Our finishing touch is usually to bring out the Christmas dishes, but we’ve been using those all year so far.  Most of our Christmas toys have been mixed right in with the regular toys, so it’s made them all a lot less special.  Now we’re finally starting to fall into a rhythm where decorations are put away after each holiday, which makes them more special in my book.  I can’t wait until we have separate boxes for each holiday.  It will make the whole process so much easier.  However, I think if we had enough storage space for it we’d probably have several boxes for each holiday.  We love to decorate around here!

Of course, you can’t have Christmas decorating without Christmas music!  Oz isn’t a fan of Christmas music, especially as he’s had so many jobs where they play it all the time since before Halloween, but he even got in on the spirit of things.  We watched some of the videos of synchronized light and music shows done by that one crazy family.  You can find them at Never Enough Lights.  If you’ve never seen them before, check it out!  They do some truly fantastic stuff.  On top of that, they take donations each year for a local food pantry.  One of these years we want to drive out and support them.

Our holiday work is far from done.  With the neighbor’s clothes taking over my bathroom and Corde’s new, massive bed, I’ve got a lot of work to do.  We have to sort, organize, and shuffle things around.  It’s going to take a while before our home is anywhere close to ready to celebrate a holiday, but we’re getting there.

In the mean time, if you’re doing any holiday shopping on Amazon, please, please, please, use Amazon Associate links!  Oz and I have discussed it and we’ve decided that any purchases made through our Amazon Associates link from this blog will go towards a sustainable/wildlife garden project for the kids.  This will not only help us reduce our dependence on GMO food products and stretch our food stamp dollars, but will also benefit the natural world around us.  We’ll be providing natural resources for bees, butterflies, and other insects, which will draw other birds and animals.  It’s one small way we can help ourselves and the environment at the same time!

If you don’t go through us, there are tons of other bloggers, podcasters, and other families that make a little extra on Amazon Associates.  It costs nothing extra and each purchase from a referral link nets a little extra cash for the associate.  It may not be much, but every little bit helps, and that money would just end up in Amazon’s pocket anyway.  Why not see it go to someone you know?  Each time you visit through an Amazon link it accredits any purchase made for the next 24 hours to that associate.  Make sure your shopping goes to help someone you know, or a podcast, blog, or project you love!


Author: Fox

With four kids, who has time for much? We spend a lot of time together, which translates to a lot of knitting time for me when we hang out. We've been trying to get back to our unschooling roots. We watch a lot of videos, play a lot of games, and pay attention to the things we notice in our everyday life. It's been quite the big adventure!

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