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Black Friday Essentials: Must Have Gear for Doing it Right!

Updated on November 4, 2013

Black Friday Essentials: My "Must Have" Gear for Black Friday Christmas Shopping

Do you roll out of bed first thing in the wee hours on Black Friday, searching for your glasses, hurriedly putting on your sweats and hustling out the door, ready to join the masses in finding the hottest deals to fill your children's wishlist requests? If you've faced the crowds, you know that common sense is the most important piece of protective gear you can have, as no deal is worth being trampled for. Nevertheless, many folks thrive on the crowds and activity. Featured here are my recommendations for safety strategies, and relevant products that will help you to stay safe while you shop!

Leave Your Little Peeps at Home

The most important thing you can do on Black Friday is to have someone watch the little ones...in a massive crowd, they are just as vulnerable as the turkey chicks pictured above, and will do better to have a babysitter, whether it's your spouse, a grandparent, or a trusted teenager whom you hire to babysit.

Kids, or no kids, that is the question!

I remember going out on Black Fridays for kid-centered activities, as a child, in spite of chaotic crowds. This is probably my number one reason for leaving them home on any busy shopping day.

Do your kids accompany you on Black Friday?

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Have a Plan

Whether you've pored over Black Friday boards for months, or whether you just saw the ads on Thanksgiving Day, develop a plan for your shopping before you leave the house. If you function well with an electronic list, then put it together on your smartphone, but if you need written confirmation of your plans, then a small notebook is helpful. Keep a pen handy for crossing things off as you go. Organize your list of stops, based on times of openings, and priorities. If there is a must have doorbuster, you will want to be early, and realize that you still may miss out if there are only a few of the hottest items per store. Prioritize!

Black Friday Essentials: Communications and Organization - The right smartphone can make a big difference!

I love my iPhone, and it's a 365 day organizer and tool. It keeps me connected with babysitters, it makes my plans more flexible, and it's a great way to take notes, check sales and availability, compare prices, verify color preferences, and more, when I'm out shopping.

Black Friday Essentials: A good notepad for making your list, and checking it twice!

Lavender Embossed Celtic Knot Faux Leather Journal - Lined
Lavender Embossed Celtic Knot Faux Leather Journal - Lined

I need a written chart, with my gift ideas written down, so that I can have a visual idea of what is needed, what I have, and what changes I need to make in the plan. One page isn't enough. I start planning well in advance of the season, and having a journal or notebook dedicated to my holiday agenda is helpful in keeping me on track. I pick a notebook or journal that is easy to identify, and easy to carry.

 

Black Friday Essentials: Reliable Writing Implements - The Fisher Space Pen

As you peruse the stores on Black Friday, you'll want to easily be able to jot down information in your notebook...take a reliable pen with you.

Fisher Space Pen Bullet Chrome Finish, Gift Boxed (400)
Fisher Space Pen Bullet Chrome Finish, Gift Boxed (400)

My husband received his first Fisher Space Pen as a groomsman's gift, 11 years ago, and it's one of the best gifts he ever received. The compact bullet pen carries well in a pocket, and writes in awkward positions. Refill cartridges are easily available, and last him approximately 6 months. If you tend to carry too many pens in your purse, knowing that at least one of them will work at a moment of need, then think about replacing your stockpile with a Fisher Space Pen, and saving yourself the headache of going through every pen in your purse when you need one.

Fisher Space Pens are also outstanding gift choices for both men and women, perfect as stocking fillers, or as Secret Pal gifts. There are a variety of colors and motifs, along with the simple, silver bullet pen.

 

Black Friday Essentials: Warm Clothing Layers

If you expect to wait outside for a while at a popular store, in order to score a doorbuster, then you will more than likely face the chilly November night air, and you will want to be dressed appropriately. Layers are very helpful, especially if you will later be spending most of your time indoors. You can shed your coat, and unneeded layers, shopping comfortably throughout the day. Gloves and hat can stow in your handbag or shopping tote.

November in Southern Nevada often sees chilly North winds during the Black Friday shopping day, and yet indoor temps rival the desert summer thermometer readings. Hence, it's necessary to adjust.

Black Friday Essentials: Caffeine!

The wee hours insinuate little sleep, and thus, a good travel mug is essential. The Brugo Travel Coffee Mug, featured here, is temperature controlled, with an insulated chamber to keep coffee hot, with only a sip at a time being cooled to drinking temperature.

Executive Mediterranean Thermodynamic Travel Mug in Dark Green
Executive Mediterranean Thermodynamic Travel Mug in Dark Green

Pick this lovely evergreen colored Brugo mug, and sport the colors of the season while you sip the flavors!

 

What's in Your Mug?

As you venture out the door, into the icy November air, which hot beverage fills your travel mug?

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Black Friday Essentials: Stone Mountain Bucket Purse

A good purse is essential for the woman who is serious about her Black Friday outing. Not only do you need lots of space for your lists, wallet, gift cards, and related tools, but you need a safe place to stow smaller purchases. Hat and gloves will be able to stow safely as well. Make sure you tidy up your bucket purse before you head out the door. Crossbody style is an outstanding selection in a bucket bag, for safety and comfort's sake. I prefer carrying my purse crossbody style, so that the bag is in front, and not so easy to snatch. Also, this keeps the bag in view, whereas a side carry handbag is a little more vulnerable. This is the season for caution, when it comes to personal safety!

Black Friday Essentials: Protect Your Glasses!

You may not be headed to a stampede at a department store, but if you are eyeing a hot doorbuster that is limited in quantities, don't be surprised at unruly groups of shoving, pushing shoppers.

Lady Elegance Dual Eyeglass Case- Pink
Lady Elegance Dual Eyeglass Case- Pink

When I was young, Black Friday was probably laden with great sales and deals, but my family always focused on the arrival of Santa, at varied locations. There were a couple of particularly fun arrival events in those days, with several different stores staggering their event times through the day. This meant that my Mom, Aunt, siblings, and cousins, could drive to the next store and see Santa arrive again...and again...and again. Why the fascination? Prizes!

Wonder World would have him arrive via fire engine, and throw ping pong balls into the crowd. If you were able to catch a numbered ping pong ball, you would be able to exchange it for a prize. I remember lots of crowds, lots of ping pong balls, but only one prize...a Fred Flintstone transistor radio. That funny radio cost my Mom her glasses, as they fell from her face in the mele´┐Żand were broken. If you wear glasses, a good carrying case, tucked into your crossbody bucket bag, might be wise for any restless crowd scenes!

Our other favorite Santa arrival event was less contentious, but lots of fun. Vegas Village hosted a Christmas parade in its parking lot, with entrants creating small floats with their big wheels, bikes, wagons, or other creative moveables. Our family would spend Thanksgiving Day preparing our entries, and make the rounds to the various Vegas Village parades the following day. One year, we won a grand prize, and had a wonderful time spending our gift certificate in the toy department of the now defunct store. Following the parade, Santa would be flown in by helicopter, and be driven around the parade route, tossing candy to the bystanders. Much less contentious, and safer than the pushing and shoving at Wonder World!

 

Black Friday Essentials: Avoiding the Crowds - Shopping from home!

If you don't want to brave the crowds, but do want to score the great deals, many stores offer their Black Friday sales online, and though you may not find some of the doorbusters there, you may also be pleasantly surprised at special online-only sales.

My last Black Friday outing in the wee hours was actually in the mid 1990's. I stood in a LONG Toys R Us line, which extended to the middle of the parking lot. When the doors opened, there was a bit of shoving, though no trampling stampedes. There was little freedom to move to the part of the store I needed to explore, as the line was so tightly packed that there was little wiggle room. I found one item that I wanted...the $5 Etch a Sketch, of which I bought 2-3. Beyond that, I didn't find my desired doorbusters, nor anything else that I needed, and spent a long time in line to check out, as well. It wasn't worth the trouble, and I haven't wanted to venture out like that again.

HP Mini 210-2090NR 10.1-Inch Netbook (Red)
HP Mini 210-2090NR 10.1-Inch Netbook (Red)

I enjoy online shopping for Black Friday, and a netbook is high on my personal wishlist, so that I have an ultra portable computer for my late night work, whether it be Black Friday shopping, writing, or interacting on Squidoo! My laptop is just a little bulky, and I'm so ready for the size of a netbook!

HP is my favorite computer producer, as every computer I've had has been an HP, and we have always been pleased with the performance and quality. It only stands to reason that an HP netbook will be just right for me, and while tablets are tempting, I'm more comfortable with the laptop style, in a smaller size, for sturdiness and familiarity.

HP netbooks are available in colors, and at times, with limited edition special designs. Regardless, a good netbook can provide you with an outstanding means of scoring great deals, without braving the elements of a cold November morn!

 

Black Friday Trends

It's interesting to see the focus of parents during a Black Firday outing. I remember when portable DVD players were the ideal holiday gift. There were some serious incidents in the news related to these devices, and getting that stellar deal at a low price was the goal of lots of parents. Now, with tablet computers for kids being priority gifts, there are many alternatives and interests. Some everyday pricing makes it reasonable to think about pre-Black Friday purchases in order to avoid the craze. A glut of big screen televisions makes it likely that there will be some movement of older versions. My normal philosophy is that the current hot trend will usually fade and that it's worthwhile to be patient.

How do you deal with Black Friday?

Will You Be Shopping on Black Friday?

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Do You Have Any Great Black Friday Memories? Advice? Weigh in below!

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    • profile image

      ErHawkns7100 5 years ago

      Getting out in the afternoon crowds puts me in the Christmas spirit.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

      When Black Friday was new we used to enjoy the early morning crowd. Now that it is an event and crowded, we stay home and watch them on the news. Congrats on the purple star.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 5 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Black Friday hasn't really reached here, but your list of suggestions is great fun. Congratulations on your purple star, and blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Congratulations on the Purple Star. What a fun shopping lens you have created. Blessings!

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Omaha, NE

      Blessings to you from a Squid Angel and fellow Purple Star Contest winner! Your lens is very creative and I love it!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      Not only are you clearly perfectly prepared for Black Friday, I can see that you are an elegant shopper too! Congratulations on your Thanksgiving purple star win!

    • profile image

      dellgirl 5 years ago

      Congratulations on getting the Thanksgiving Purple Star and $25 Amazon Gift Card! That is a really awesome honor.

      Thank you for sharing this information, this is a great lens you have here.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 5 years ago

      I have not been a big shopper on Black Friday, the disadvantages outweighed the small savings involved. I shop online now that one can make use of this method. I agree, it would be a mistake to take small children with you to shop on Black Friday. See you around the galaxy...

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      My husband is the Black Friday-er in this house. He is an early riser, so in years past he has done the shopping for the deals. I do the wrapping. This year is different, though, with so many of the stores opening before it is actually Friday. We had decided to do most of our shopping online or at local small businesses.

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 5 years ago

      Great advice you're giving here. Personally I love the beginning of the "shopping season", as the holidays only get better from here.

    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 5 years ago

      I hear the stories, see the lines and I know if you go planning on spending $100 it will be two or three hundred. And if you are lucky you will still have that "holiday spirit" when you're done.