It’s just the last thing I would like to be doing on that day. The crowds. The lines. The fights.
And don’t even mention the early hour.
I just don’t get it, really, though I do know people (some of my extended family included) who really enjoy it and get a lot accomplished. So, each to his own, I guess.
My lack of motivation probably stems from the fact that I make gifts for my family and for the last number of years they’ve all made gifts too, and I LOVE it. It’s really fun and meaningful to see what everyone comes up with. I do buy things for my children and nieces and nephews, but those I can find on sales at other times. And I think of our gifts as “family gifts” for both spouses, so I don’t have to drive myself crazy getting individual gifts (that’s what birthdays are for .
So Black Friday is a little wasted on me.
If you’d like to take the “anti-black Friday” route like me, here’s a list of some of the family gifts I’ve given in the past to give you some ideas and inspiration. I’d like to say that these are my “Top 10,” but to be honest, they’re just the ones I can remember now.
1. Italian food basket*: A jar of homecanned marinara sauce, dry pasta, a head of garlic, dried tomatoes, kitchen towel, wooden spoon and a homemade spiral bound photocopied recipe book of my favorite Italian recipes. Ten years later, the people who received these tell me some of their favorite recipes came from this book and that they still use it.
*I always go to thrift stores to find baskets for .49 to .99 cents. They’re usually sturdier that the ones from the dollar store.
2. Rustic Clock: I used a round piece of plywood you can buy at Home Depot (about 12″), covered it with a tan colored grout, placed rusty square nails on the spots where the numbers are, and put a craft-store clock mechanism in the center (we drilled the hole before covering with the grout). Everybody loved them, though the grout proved long-lasting only for the people who haven’t moved from their house since then (or didn’t have a ball hit it).
4. Homemade Cleaning Supplies: Fill a metal bucket with dollar store bottles filled with cleaning solutions (green, please!) and a microfiber cloth also found at the dollar store. You can find numerous recipes for all-purpose cleaner, toilet cleaner, etc. on the Internet. Wrap the whole bucket in a section of old cotton sheet that can be used as rags. Include some cards with the recipes you used in case they’d like to make more.
5. Flax-filled neck relaxers: Cut heavy-weight material in a long rectangle and sew up three sides. Turn right-side out and fill 3/4 full with whole flax seeds (much better than grain fillers- it holds the heat longer and doesn’t have a grain smell when heated) and about a 1/4 cup of dry lavender (find at Mountain Rose Herbs). Sew up the opening. Fold in half and tie with a wide bow for a pretty presentation.
6. Basket of Homecanned goods: Can garden produce and put the jars in pretty baskets along with some recipes to use the items.
7. Breakfast Basket: Find recipes for mixes online or at the library and put some pancake and/or waffle mixes in a basket with store-bought or homemade syrups, some fruit, and a whisk and spatula.
8. Cookie basket: same idea as above, just find cookie recipes. In the basket with two or three different cookie mixes add some cookie cutters, spatulas, and a wooden spoon.
9. Basket of toiletries: Make simple melt-and-pour soaps from the craft store, and find recipes for bubble bath, lip balm, bath salts, and insect repellent online or at the library. Package in inexpensive containers (one of my favorite places to find herbs and containers is Mountain Rose Herbs).
10. Truffles and candles: Make several kinds of truffles and fill a 1/2-pound truffle box from the craft store. Tie with a ribbon and give with a couple of candles in a pretty container or basket.