Oh my gosh, you guys, I hate shopping. I can’t relate to people who are inspired by the thrill of a bargain, the people who set their alarms to go shopping. It’s just not my cup of tea. But I understand the desire to check stuff off the holiday To Do list. I’m sure that if I ran out and bought two-thirds of my list in a single day, I would feel like a superstar. So in that way, I understand the temptation.
But seriously, let me beg you just not to go shopping at some big ol’ store on Friday. They’ve been creeping the opening times earlier and earlier, and now WalMart and Target and other folks are trying to intrude on our Thanksgiving? Um, no. That is family time. And as a rap on the knuckles for trying to force us into a crazy-ass frenzy that will continue until, oh, about 11:45 pm on Christmas Eve (along with ruining Thanksgiving for their employees), I think that we should snatch Black Friday back, too. What if we used Black Friday as a time to chill out with the family? Digest our food, hang around, enjoy the day, appreciate this brief-but-lovely intermission between one big holiday and another holiday season?
This is easy for me. We traditionally go to a huge Thanksgiving dinner with extended family, then spend Friday with a slightly-less-huge gathering of my siblings. But you could just as easily enjoy your little nuclear family. Or even get together with close family friends and dish about the latest family drama to each other.
Anyway, I wrote up a little article over at KidsOutAndAbout to share with people at several locations, but here’s basically the same thing with some Capital District-specific information & links, and a couple of pictures from the archives.
We could all use a little activity, and we’re heading into winter. Take a pause from the rush and embrace the weather as it is now, with your family as it is today.
- Go for a hike–here’s a list of Capital District family-friendly hikes
- Play a game of touch football or soccer
- Rake your neighbor’s leaves. Or possibly your own.
- Go skiing! Jiminy Peak is already open, and Belleayre, Bromley, & Gore are planning to open Thanksgiving weekend! Here’s a list of ski places within driving distance Update: the bad news is that Belleayre is now reporting that their opening is going to be delayed. Stay tuned on that one. The good news is that the Empire State Plaza Ice Skating Rink opening has been moved earlier, to Black Friday. So now you can skate for free! Yay!
Putter & Snuggle
Recover from the cooking and the traveling and fortify yourself for the busy weeks ahead by unplugging from the devices and hunkering down for some mellow, cozy family time.
- Make a fire in the fireplace
- Snuggle under the blanket with a stack of books —here’s a list of some of my favorite Girl Power Picture Books
- Build card houses or work a jigsaw puzzle together
- Have a board game or card game marathon —here’s a post about Sleeping Queens and other favorites (check comments, too), and here’s a post about Small World
Get Active Indoors
You’ve got to work off all that food, but it’s too cold outside for you? Try something new–or an old favorite–with the whole family.
- Roller skate–Rollarama’s advertising a Black Friday Skate over on KidsOutAndAbout
- Rock climb–Albany’s Indoor Rock Gym is open on Black Friday
- Bowl–I checked several places, and they all seemed to be open
- Ice skate–I’m pretty sure that Union is open, here’s the list of rinks they made a Albany Kid a while back
Prepare for the Season
I get it, I get it–the To Do list. But you can do something fun at least, right? Something that you can all do as a family? That’s the spirit!
- Cut your own Christmas tree–here’s the post I did for All Over Albany on cutting your own tree in the Capital District
- Craft holiday ornaments or decorations–paper ring garlands, cutting snowflakes or bending them out of pipe cleaners. . . .
- Ponder cookie or gift recipes to try–I’ve listed a few on my Christmas fun page
- Gather greens to decorate or make a wreath–easier than it looks and immensely satisfying, I promise!
All Right—If You Must Shop
Consider alternative gifts beyond what you’ll find in tv ads or behind the automatic doors of the national retail chains.
- Shop museum gift shops for unique items–What do NY State Museum, miSci, CMOST, Albany Institute, and Ten Broeck all have in common? All of them have awesome museum shops and are open on Friday!
- Consider charitable giving options–looking for something local? My church has a Heifer, International-style alternative gift program for area charitable organizations in the Capital District
- Stroll Main Street–last year All Over Albany had several posts of Local Holiday Wish List, as well as a series on Capital Region Etsy finds, and Mamatoga has Saratoga-local ideas for Black Friday this year
- Seek out experience gifts, like tickets to a show, memberships to a gym, or lessons–tickets to shows at Proctors or the Palace (if you’re looking for theater, check out Gail Sez) or a museum membership are great family gifts
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!