I haven’t done the early Black Friday morning shopping in a very long time, but I really wanted to be in the mist of the hustle and bustle today despite being 7 1/2 months pregnant and having our three year old daughter, Celeste, along for the ride. But I’m not crazy enough to think I’d be doing this at 6am.
Instead, after our daughter woke up and I got ourselves ready, we decided to join my mom, cousin, and her 4 1/2 year old daughter to some breakfast at Corner Bakery. Then, once our tummies were nice and full, we walked across the street with our girls in tow, happily taking in the Christmas decorations from the comfort of their strollers.
The mall was mayhem!
I was excited to see all the people, take in all the Christmas decorations, and as I strolled around I had the hugest grin on my face. Hardly the look most people had, most of whom I’m sure had been in the mall for a few hours already. But here I was, just arrived, and smiling like a little kid, despite being intercepted at times by rushed shoppers. I couldn’t help it, especially not with all the beautiful bright red and sparkly decorations around every corner and hanging from the ceiling.
Our first visit was Macy’s, where I managed to get one gift purchase in, which was completely okay by me. Then Celeste decided she wanted to see the Christmas tree just outside the store entrance leading to the mall. So we told my mom where we were headed and made our way to the enormous tree where my daughter looked up in awe and admired all the ornaments and decorations. We had some fun taking some pictures and eventually made our way around the other side of the tree where there was a gentleman playing the flute and another accompanying him with a keyboard. I sat there for a while as my daughter smiled and asked me questions about the instruments they were playing and danced gleefully to the Christmas music. After awhile of waiting, Celeste started to get a little restless and my mom, cousin, and her daughter hadn’t caught up to us yet so I gave my mom a call and told her we were going to walk towards the carousel so my daughter could see Santa Claus. Yes, of course the thought of getting a picture of her with Santa Claus crossed my mind. The Christmas delight and excitement had completely taken over me by then!
We took our time heading to the spot where Santa sat and wouldn’t you know it, as we turned into the line I had the amazing luck that there was only 3 families ahead of us and as we made our way to the end of the line, one of the families made a U-turn out of the line. Nice!
The last two years have been unsuccessful with getting a picture of our daughter with Santa Claus. The first time I took her she had just turned 1 and was all dolled up in her Christmas dress. My dad was holding her and as he approached Santa Claus my poor dad just stretched his arms out and handed Celeste to him, of course she let out a huge shriek and immediately started to cry. It was almost comical. Last year when she was two went pretty much the same way, she took one look at Santa and clung to me, so we smiled, waved, and walked the other way.
This time she was a little more excited as we waited in line and I showed her some of the picture frames of kids that had taken pictures with Santa Claus. We walked up the little entrance to the area he was sitting and all was going well, she very courageously approached him and claimed “Santa Claus I want a pony for Halloween!” Gotta love it! Yes, she said Halloween. Love it!
Then I suggested she take a picture with him and she instantly moved closer to me and as far away as possible from him. So instead I improvised and her and I took a picture together with Santa. This was already a huge improvement from the year before! We had our turn, I bought 4 wallet size prints of my favorite shot as a keepsake, and as we were waiting to get the prints and Celeste and I were chatting, she got more and more excited at the prospect of taking a picture alone with Santa. I asked the assistant if we could take another and he squeezed us in the next available turn. Celeste was hesitant about sitting on his lap so I sat her down next to him on one of the green chairs beside his seat and low and behold, I got a very nice smiling picture of her with Santa! After that she kept waving to him and saying “bye Santa!”
All in all we were only at the mall for maybe all of 2 hours. The girls had a blast walking around with us, and then as we began our walk home, Celeste fell asleep in her stroller.
For not having done this in quite a few years it was the sweetest Black Friday experience ever because it wasn’t so much about getting Christmas shopping in. Sure I wanted to see and feel the crowds and be a part of that for a little bit, but mainly I had enough sense to know that I would be enjoying it in a different way with our daughter. And I sure did!