Friday, November 24, 2006

Memories of Not-So Black Fridays

Before I begin, let me warn you that close family members have often commented on the...fuzziness of my memory. It's not that I can't remember stories. It's that my interpretation of events is often...questionable. I have a tendency to occasionally re-write the occasional detail. So what follows is my memory of the day now known as Black Friday. However, I make no claims as to its accuracy.

The Friday after Thanksgiving always marked the official start of the holidays in my family. We'd get up, pile in the car and drive out to the Toys R Us on Route 4 in Paramus, New Jersey.

I don't know how early it actually was, but it always felt pretty early. I don't think we were getting up at 5am, but we were usually one of the first ones in the store. I know because by the time we were getting ready to check out, the store would slowly be filling up with other holiday shoppers and the whole family would have this sense of relief that we were getting out before the madness began.

I have memories of walking up and down the aisles, loading carts with what would become Hanukkah and Christmas gifts.

In the game aisle, mom would search for whatever new games had been designated as Best of the Year by Games magazine.

Mom also had a list of gifts that we needed to purchase for cousins and other children.

I'd always spend as long as possible in the Barbie aisle, fantasizing about putting the entire collection in the cart. Then I'd wander over and marvel at the bikes - even though I didn't really ride one.

Once or twice, after Toys R Us, we went to Kids R Us and I even have memories of walking around an early incarnation of Woodberry Commons.

What I don't remember is massive crowds of people camping out the night before. What I don't remember is people pushing and shoving and trampling each other in order to get an extra 30% off. What I don't remember is the mystique of what has now become known as Black Friday.

Seeing as I was merely a child interested in presents, there very well could have been the consumer madness that I have been witnessing all morning on the news. I just don't remember.

But I do know that today always has and always will mark the official start of the holidays season for me.

Happy Holidays!