It seemed like the lead-up to the holidays took… for …. ever…. And then, suddenly, it was Thanksgiving and everything kicked into high gear. We blinked, the meal was over and Black Friday was upon us. Actually, Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving, with stores like Target, Walmart and Kohl’s opening before the sun has set or the turkey digested.

I miss the old-fashioned Black Fridays. When our now 20-something children were young, we would ask them to write out their Christmas lists on Thanksgiving Day, often using the newspaper inserts as their inspiration. My husband and I would set our alarm clock for 4 a.m. and by 5 a.m., with a neighborhood babysitter ensconced on the couch, we would be standing in line to get into the North Olmsted Toys R Us.

The Black Friday trip was completely insane, but in a weird way, it was the beginning of our Christmas season. With the trips to the toy store followed by mad dashes to Best Buy and Target, we had all the presents bought within a few hours. We’d then drive home and I’d pay the babysitter and distract our very puzzled and barely awake children while Brian sneaked the bags and boxes into a small basement room.

Once the children were dressed, we would all make a trip to IHOP and drown in the sugar heaven of pancakes dripping in whipped cream Santa Claus faces. All except our son, who would order the sampler platter and eat chicken fingers. But that’s another story.

It’s just not as fun anymore. We didn’t like shopping on Thanksgiving evening, and we certainly couldn’t hide the trip from the children. The “Door Busters” were usually gone by the next day and, sadly, the crowds were meaner than in years past.

The newest holiday traditions seem to be be Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. It’s not the same, sitting in front of a computer on Monday for your bargains instead of braving snow, sleet and desperate parents bound and determined to get the dramatically discounted Beanie Babies or Spider-Man web slingers. And guess what: We work, and it’s not cool to be shopping during work hours.

This Giving Tuesday, a co-worker and I were about to smash our phones against the wall. Either my phone or hers buzzed every few minutes with a reminder to donate to everything from The Cleveland Clinic Foundation to our mutual alma mater. Definitely not ho, ho, ho’ing fun.

Oh the golden days of Black Friday. We miss you.

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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