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10 Family Fun Activities to try this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time to take advantage of having the family come together for some quality time.  Try these 10 family fun activities from Ruth and make the most out of your Thanksgiving family time!


fun family activities thanksgiving

10 Family Fun Activities to try this Thanksgiving

Once a year we have an opportunity for structured thankfulness, Thanksgiving. We gather together, work hard to clean and prepare a meal and then fight sleep from turkey induced comas. While many are thankful for their families, lives, jobs and so on… We tend to focus solely on that day and then for many the ominous and potentially daunting Black Friday adventure. As a mom and a teacher, I think it’s important to explore Thanksgiving a little deeper and have some family fun while you’re at it. Thus I have created a bucket list of ideas so you can do the same.

#1 Read the Story

Read up on the history of The First Thanksgiving. You can check out a book at the library (check with Mid-Continent Public Library to see if they have it) that is family friendly and talk about what happened during that time. One that I found, The Very First Thanksgiving Day By Rhonda Growler Green is a kid friendly non-fiction book geared for kids pre-k to grade 5.

#2 Take in a Classic 

Watch or rent A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving by Bill Melendez and Phil Roman. It is not fully historically accurate but it does make the story a little more palatable for little ones and of course an Emmy Award winning family classic!

#3 Support a Solider 

Support a soldier and/or their family this holiday season as a way of thanking them for their service. Here is a link to get your started.

#4 Learn a Prayer 

Learn a new Thanksgiving Prayer to share at the dinner table. Each year I have my kids recite a prayer to share at the holiday meal. Here are some ideas:

#5 Take Time to be Thankful 

Start a family thankfulness jar. Each day until Thanksgiving or you can add into it for the next year to read on Thanksgiving in 2018!

#6 Try a New Recipe 

Learn new Thanksgiving recipes to share at the family meal. Check out some retro recipes for fun too!

#7 Learn About History 

Visit the Mahaffi Stagecoach Farm and learn about living in the 1860’s. This experience can give you a sense of appreciation for all of the fancy amenities we have these days. The day after Thanksgiving they are opening their doors to families for exploration from 12pm -4pm.

#8 Do some Thanksgiving Yoga with Yoga Stories 

Thanksgiving yoga is a great way to burn off some post-dinner calories with your family!

#9 Spend Time Outside 

Play in some leaves! Get outside and make a leaf pile and have a little fun. You can be thankful for all the fun memories!

#10 Play a Thanksgiving Game 

After dinner, you can play a Thanksgiving game! This is another great way to bond with your family and friends, make memories and just have a little fun!

No matter how you slice it, Thanksgiving is more than just a big meal. It is a time for family and friends. Take some time and share the love and thankfulness this year.

From iFamily to Yours,

Make The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner With These 5 Great Apps

Thanksgiving is nearly here!  Which means plenty of cooking, entertaining and spending time with loved ones.  Here are 5 Great Apps that will help you prepare a Thanksgiving Feast that will knock everyone’s socks off!  Take a look…

thanksgiving dinner

Make The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner With These 5 Great Apps

Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is almost here, which means Christmas and all of the other holiday seasons are just around the corner. I’m excited, aren’t you?  It also means it’s to get your pots, pans and ingredients together get ready to dig in and spend hours of cooking to create a Thanksgiving banquet that everyone will enjoy. I love to cook but the challenge with Thanksgiving meals is that it is so much work and it is always a challenge to come up with different meal ideas because frankly turkey and stuffing can just be boring.  This year, consider turning to cooking apps.  The Internet is full of them and many can help you plan your meal, create shopping lists and help you find new recipes to try.  Not sure where to start? Check out my five favorites:

#1 Yummly

Looking for Thanksgiving meal to fit your lifestyle eating habits, Yummly has your back. You have a ton of recipes to choose from, but Yummly allows you to customize your food searches so you can prepare a meal that fits your family’s dietary needs. Doesn’t matter if you have food allergies, are on a diet or want to plan a vegetarian meal, Yummly will make it happen. The added bonus is Yummly will learn what types of foods you like and make recommendations based on that.

#2 Butterball Cookbook Plus

I think most of us who is eating turkey for Thanksgiving will be eating a Butterball. In addition to that great turkey is a pretty awesome app that offers hundreds of recipes based around … you guessed it turkey.  The app great ideas of how to cook ole Tom Turkey in addition to tips how to create a feast fit for a king or queen. If you struggle with what to do with all of that leftover turkey, Cookbook Plus has a ton of recipes that will help you create meals that won’t have you burned out on Turkey after the holiday has passed.

#3 AnyList

Getting organized is important to make sure your Thanksgiving meal goes off without a hitch. That’s where AnyList comes in. This useful app allows you to easily make shopping lists and helps you organize your recipes. You can import recipes from popular food web sites and you can share your shopping lists and recipes with family and friends.

#4 Epicurious 

This app has been offering online recipes since 1995. Geared for those who love to cook at home, Epicurious makes it easy for you to find Thanksgiving themed recipes, cooking tips and videos that you can pull up on your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

#5 BigOven

Offering 350,000 recipes, BigOven not only allows you to find recipes for Thanksgiving.  You can also use the app and web site to create grocery lists, map out your Thanksgiving meal with the meal planner, and find ways to turn those leftovers into great meals.

Is your Thanksgiving Feast planned?  What processes do you use to create a Thanksgiving meal experience your family and friends will love and remember? Drop me a line, I would love to know.

From iFamily to Yours,


Want to keep up with the latest tech tips and cyber security alerts? Subscribe to my YouTube channel ‘Burton Kelso’ There are hundreds of videos designed to help you get the most out of the technology you use in your home or business.

Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


Thanksgiving TO GO in Kansas City: The Only Way To Go!

Don’t let the pressures of the holiday season overwhelm you!  Kansas City has some great Thanksgiving To-Go options that will give you some peace of mind and your family some full bellies!  Take a look…

Thanksgiving Meals TO GO in Kansas City: The Only Way to Go.

I always thought the day I hosted Thanksgiving dinner was the day I’d become a real, certified adult. To be honest, it’s the sole reason I registered for china when we got married. Well, spoiler alert, I still don’t qualify for my official Adult Card. Place settings, stuffing a turkey, double ovens going around the clock, real cranberries, homemade pies? Let’s face it, I’m never going to be an adult.

Of course, the downside is, if I don’t cook, I don’t have any leftovers. Wait, is that good or bad? I suppose that’s why I always have 4 servings of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving every year so I’ll be so stuffed I won’t want them again for another year.

Regardless, if you’re looking to get your adult card the easy way (CHEATER!!!) or you want leftovers without any of the hassle, here are some places in KC offering turkey dinners to go:

Fritz’s Meats & Superior Sausage

10326 Stateline Rd, Leawood KS  66209


Home of the smoked turkey. This place always has a line wrapped around the parking lot the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving, so you know it’s good.

French Market

6947 Tomahawk Road, Prairie Village, KS 66208


This isn’t your grandmother’s Thanksgiving meal (no offense, grannies). This place is packing up dishes even Martha Stewart would salivate over. Creamy butternut squash with Hazelnuts and Sage, anyone?


8301 W. 135th, OP, KS 66223

(913) 499-0135

For those who think turkey is overrated, Stroud’s is taking orders for just the sides like, mac and cheese, chicken or turkey gravy, yams, corn and cranberry fruit salad. Yes, their famous mashed potatoes, too. Duh!

Hen House

Turkey (or Ham), traditional sides, rolls and a Tippin’s pie to boot, starting at just $59.


Get even more bang for your buck with Hyvee’s affordable turkey, ham or prime rib Thanksgiving dinners to go. Although their 4-person meal only comes with “one small-size of mashed potatoes” which would not be something I would be willing to share with others.


For those looking for a healthier option, Sprouts has natural turkey dinner with sides like creamed Kale & Spinach for 6-8 starting at $69.99.

Whole Foods

A little something to please everyone on this menu, including your vegan cousin Fred— like vegan pumpkin pie and Rutabaga-Potato Mash.

Williams Sonoma

Ok, for the ultimate cheat, you don’t even have to leave your house because you can get your (supposedly “world’s best Willie Bird”) turkey and all the fixings delivered right to your door. I mean, even I can do that.

From iFamily to Yours,

Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog

Things NOT to Do on Thanksgiving

We all have that hectic Thanksgiving To-Do list… from cooking to entertaining.  It’s important that in the middle of all of the chaos that we remember what the holiday is truly about… enjoying your loved ones and all of the things that you have to be thankful for.  Here is Garbrielle’s list of things NOT to do on this Thanksgiving holiday.


Things NOT to Do on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday.  I love it for several reasons.  It almost always guarantees that I’m getting a four-day weekend.  I get to enjoy time with friends and family, and there is a huge turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  That being said, there are a few holiday traps involved that you should try to avoid. Here are a few things you absolutely should not do this holiday:

#5 DON’T Spend all your time shopping

A few years ago, it was all the rage to start Christmas shopping immediately following the Thanksgiving meal.  That’s not the case this year, as many stores are closing so that their employees can enjoy time with their families.  The “bad” (actually AWESOME) news is that means you get to spend time with your family, too.

#4 DON’T Spend all day cooking and/or cleaning

I usually cook Thanksgiving dinner.  My stove only has two burners (don’t even get me started!) so, this means I usually get up at 4:00AM to start meal prep.  This is not recommended.  You’ll be so tired by the time dinner is served, you won’t be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Also, it is absolutely ridiculous to expect one person to cook the entire meal, and expect that same person to have to clean up when everyone leaves.  Consider potluck options, ordering pre-cooked holiday meals, and supplementing as necessary.  I know your grandmother did it all.  But you are not your grandmother!

#3 DON’T Sleep the day away.

I know the tryptophan hits us all.  I am the last person to deny anyone their afternoon nap, but please don’t spend the entire day napping.  Watch the parade.  Try to figure out the recipe for grandma’s rolls. If you doze off during the game, just know that smart phones are everywhere, and someone is bound to catch you with your mouth wide open, and your eyes wide shut.

The next two traps are an incredible balancing act.  You will likely find yourself teetering on the edge of one or both.

#2 DON’T Count calories.

This is a set up for certain failure. Thanksgiving is not the time to go on a fad diet.  Leave your calorie counting apps at the door, the macaroni and cheese I baked a few years ago had something like a gazillion calories per serving (and it tasted amazing).   It’s a time to enjoy yourself.  So do just that!


#1 DON’T over-indulge.

Try to get a small amount of all your favorites, and if there is room after that, go back for the rest.   Leave room for dessert… because dessert is awesome, and somebody will make a peach cobbler, and a pumpkin pie, and an apple pie…

Seriously, the best thing about the Thanksgiving holiday is that we all have so many reasons to be thankful.  Do not let these little things ruin a perfectly good day, and a perfectly delicious meal.  Spend time with the people you love, and be grateful for the chance to do just that.

From iFamily to Yours,


30 Days & 30 Ways to Give Back in November in KC

Autumn weather is upon us here in the metro area and the month of November offers the ideal opportunity to jump start a season of giving back to others. Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team shares 30 ways to give back in 30 days across Kansas City today on the blog. Take a look…

give back in Kansas City

30 Days & 30 Ways to Give Back in November in KC

Hey there KC! Can you believe it’s already November? The last week and a half, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some much-needed time away out here in the beautiful Ozarks with my family! The temperature has been consistently cool, the leaves are in a wide variety of colors and Fall is definitely in the air. Pretty soon we will be waking up to bare trees, rainy days, and chilly air every day. I honestly couldn’t be more thankful to have this time with my family!

If you didn’t already know, November is National “Be Thankful” month and, with practically every day in November being centered around Thanksgiving, I can see why it is! So, in honor of this wonderful fall season and the month that celebrates thankfulness, I wanted to share a different way you can participate in a fun and caring way. So here are 30 ways you can give back in 30 days!

Ways to Help Others:

  1. Volunteer at a shelter
  2. Carry someone’s grocery bags for them
  3. Buy the person behind you coffee/ lunch
  4. Pick up trash in your neighborhood
  5. Volunteer at your child’s school
  6. Bring treats for co-workers
  7. Write a handwritten letter to a friend or family member
  8. Run errands for a busy mom/dad
  9. Spend time with those at a nursing home
  10. Give away blankets or jackets to the homeless
  11. Donate clothes to a shelter or Goodwill
  12. Volunteer to read a the library or your kids classroom
  13. Help a new mom or dad with chores around the house
  14. Send get well cards to the hospital for strangers
  15. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  16. Babysit for a night for free
  17. Leave a bigger than usual tip
  18. Organize a can food drive/ donate to one
  19. Pet sit for a friend or family member
  20. Invite someone new from your church/ neighborhood to your home for dinner
  21. Donate toys your kiddo no longer plays with to a family in need
  22. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  23. Say something nice to someone
  24. Tell a manager about the wonderful service you received from their employee
  25. Compliment a stranger
  26. Send someone an anonymous small gift
  27. Give someone a “thank you for all you do” note
  28. Offer a warm meal to someone homeless
  29. Invite someone to Thanksgiving Dinner
  30. Bring a coworker coffee

There are so many different ways to give back to those around you, or even to simply spread kindness. Giving back is not only limited to November, so you can implement these ideas all year long! Whenever you give back, you naturally feel better! It truly does something to us and in return, it encourages others to do the same. I can’t count how many times an act of kindness from myself or my family has inspired someone else to do the same and vice versa! So, the next time you are about to get that much-needed pumpkin spice latte or you see someone down in the dumps… think to yourself, how can I give back to someone and inspire them to do something kind as well.

From iFamily to Yours,


An Extra Thankful List from a Kansas City Mom

Happy Thanksgiving, Kansas City! There’s so much to be grateful for, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin has a great list of things she’s particularly thankful for this year. We here at iFamilyKC hope you all are spending these few days off relaxing surrounded by love and family.

An Extra Thankful List from a Kansas City Mom

An Extra Thankful List from a Kansas City Mom


Looking back this year, I have so much to be thankful for as a momma! Here are a few moments I thought I’d share with you all:


I am thankful for my 22 month old son who pries my eyes open at 6:30am every.single.morning. and whispers “Mommy” 549 times until I wake up.


I am thankful for my 7 year old daughter, who I sit with every night to get her to go to sleep because she’s still somehow afraid of monsters in the dark. She kicks her brother out of her room, for the love of sleep, why not me?!


I am thankful for Saturdays so I can sleep in. Wait. Children have no idea what day it is. 6:30am it is! Well, I’m thankful for Saturdays when my bed transforms in to the ultimate bouncy house and my adorable 2 year old starts chanting “toons, toons, TOONS!”


I am thankful that my husband is able to sleep through the mass chaos that happens every morning in our bedroom. He works hard to provide for this family, yes. Am I a tad bit jealous that I cannot just shut my eyes and ignore the wild beasts gnawing at our feet? Yes.


I am thankful my son can feed himself at the table, like the rest of us. When he decides he is done, he spits food out and then proceeds to throw his food away, including the plate, silverware and sippy cup. Oh how I love to rummage through the half eaten mac and cheese searching for buried treasures!


I am thankful for the wakeup call I get to find a long lost binky at 2am that the bed has somehow devoured while we slept. Oh well, I needed to use the bathroom anyway.


I am thankful for our family photos. They offered cookies and punch to the kids and then proceeded to tell us exactly 2 minutes later that they were ready for us. Ok, who wants the job of prying a cookie out of my son’s tight little fist? Nope. Cookie looks good in the pics. It adds character!


I am thankful for my sweet little daughter, who loves all things Christmas, and knows very well that I am not a fan of Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. She kept the Holiday Hits channel on my tv, so that when I turned it on, Bing Crosby came blaring through the speakers. Love her and her love of Christmas.


Hey moms! I’d love to hear what you and your little turkeys are thankful for this year! Drop me a line in the comments!


From iFamily to Yours,



The Life That This Kansas City Mom is Thankful For

We here at iFamilyKC are continually blessed by and thankful for our Mom Squad Ambassadors. Brigette is one of our newer members and I think we can all agree, she’s fit right in. Today, she shares with us a heartfelt and honest look into being thankful for the very air we breathe. She overcame an extremely difficult time, and talks about finding gratitude through it all. Take a look…

Check Out What This Kansas City Mom is Thankful For


For many, this time of year seems to bring out our love for one another, our compassion for the less fortunate and our thankfulness to the ones we love. And that is great! We should all make sure that we spend time thinking about others and the things that they go through or how we can help.

When asked to write about something I was thankful for, so many reasons flooded my head. I have my husband that is my rock, my kids who are my “why” and of course my family for all they have done. It was obvious! But there is something else that I am just as thankful for, and to be honest… probably more thankful for. My life.


Just hear me out.


A few months ago, I was in my very first severe car accident. Sure I had been in a few fender benders (1 was my fault) but never anything serious. As my husband and I were moving our things back to Kansas City after living in Dallas for years, we got caught in some pretty icky weather. There were no flash floods, no lightening or severe weather warnings, just enough rain to slick the roads and make you want to curl up and watch movies. Long story short, as my husband and I were headed back into town, we hit a slick spot and it caused our car to hydroplane. Everything happened so quickly and all I could do was scream out for my husband as we spun out of control down the highway. Thankfully, no one else was close enough to be effected by the mishap and we only walked away with a few sore spots and headaches.


After going through something so terrifying, I couldn’t help but think. What if that was it for me? What if my time on this earth had come to an end? How would my husband get a long? Or, how will my kids be able to comprehend that mommy wasn’t there? My family means the world to me and if something were too ever happen to them, well… I can’t even imagine what that would be like.


Sure I always wake up thankful for another day, thankful for those around me, but knowing that my life could have ended that day has made me even more thankful for my life. Thankful that I have another opportunity to strive to be the best wife I can be for my husband. Thankful that I have the opportunity to be the best mom for my kids and Thankful that I have another opportunity be someone that family, friends and even strangers can trust, to help when I am able, pick them up when they are down and to be encouraging when things get tough.


Yes, I will always be thankful for those around me, but I am even more thankful that I still have the opportunity to be a part of their life and the chance to do my part by filling their life with even more love.


From iFamily to Yours,



Holiday Reflection: Thanksgiving with Grandma

The holidays are such a great time for reflection — whether it’s on remembering what you’re grateful, reflecting on memories, or thinking about loved ones that are no longer with us, it’s a moment to pause and invest in this beautiful life. Our Mom Squad Ambassador has a beautiful piece reflecting on Thanksgiving with her grandmother and what still sticks with her. Take a look…

Holiday Reflection: Thanksgiving with Grandma

Holiday Reflection: Thanksgiving with Grandma


Growing up, Thanksgiving was always very special. My late grandmother who was like my best friend would always let me help in the kitchen. She would teach me her secrets to pie pinching, making her delicious sweet potatoes and even let me help “clean the turkey”.


One of my most fond memories for this time of year were us baking together. We would make pies, cookies, rollie polies, and other baked goods. I loved making the pies and rollie polies with her. I would roll the dough out as even as I could, place it gently in the pan and try very, very hard to fix all the cracks I had made lol. When our pies were all done and in the oven, we would move on to the next best thing! Making rollie pollies! Ahhh one of my favorites! My dear grandmother would let me roll the remaining dough out once more, and then the fun would really begin! I remember taking a stick of butter and covering the entire area of dough with it! I would always try to touch it because it looked so slippery and gooey! Once we finished with the butter we would sprinkle what is in my opinion one of THEE best smells ever, cinnamon and sugar. We would cover the dough with handfuls of the sweet mixture and then roll it up! I remember after we had rolled the dough into one long log, she would hold my hand and guide me to cut even pieces. I was so excited to make all of it… every year! Also, she would always let me “taste” our baking creations!


Once we were all done baking and the food was finishing its last 45 minutes of cook time, I would the “grown up table”. I LOVED setting the table, my grandparents had this beautiful gold set of cutlery. Every time she would open it (it was in a special trunk) I would feel like I was setting the table for royalty! She would get out the nice glasses and table cloths too. I remember her showing me how to place the lace covering on the table just perfectly. My cousins and I would always do our very best to make it as neat and clean as possible!


Once the food was cooked, we would all set the dishes and bowls on the table, take our seat and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Even though I didn’t get to sit at the “grown up table” I would always look over to see everyone’s reaction to all the food we had made.


Even though this year won’t be the same since she passed last December, I try to think of the positives. All the things she taught me, all the traditions we had, I can now do with my daughters this Thanksgiving. I can teach them how to set the special table, how to bake our family favorites and so on. And even though these are just memories, they all make Thanksgiving even more special.


From iFamily to Yours,









This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana

Thanksgiving is a great time to catch a flick, and Disney holiday fashion, they’ve released their new animated movie, Moana. So, after eating all that turkey, and catching a few Zzzz’s, why not head to the theater and enjoy this family movie. Check out Holli’s review and insider look of the new film below. Happy Thanksgiving!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana



This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana


Release Date: November 23, 2016
Run Time: 103 min
Rating: PG
Director: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson



Thanksgiving is, for me, a time not only to appreciate life’s incredible blessings but also a time for reflection. One of my favorite childhood memories, and a tradition that I carry on with my own daughter, is experiencing the new Disney movie that comes out around Thanksgiving each year (like “The Santa Claus” in 1994 and “101 Dalmations” in 1996). This year, Charlotte and I had the chances to celebrate early at the advanced screening of Disney’s latest movie “Moana” and we were not disappointed.

“Moana” follows the story of a special little girl who feels called to the sea. As she grows and learns about her community, she feels compelled to do something different from what is expected of her from everyone she knows. Her father, the Chief, has long rooted beliefs that the sea is not a safe or friendly place for their people and that fear drives him to forbid Moana (and her tribe) from passing the reef located just off of their island.

Even when their food supply begins to diminish, his overwhelming fear of the unknown keeps him from venturing away from home. Moana, however, was chosen by the sea for an unforgettable journey that will restore her island and her people’s long rooted history with the ocean. Along the way, she encounters struggles and situations that force her out of her comfort zone and into the woman she was meant to be.

What I loved most about this movie is the message that it sends to little girls across the world – To be who you are and to not be afraid of the challenges that you might face along your journey. Disney has done it again and moviegoers can expect to fall in love with the stunning animation, fun characters, and incredible sound track throughout the feature film.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the digital short before the movie – It’s a good one!

From iFamily to Yours,



Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping

The hour is upon us. Thanksgiving week is here. How insane is it that 2016 is almost over? It is still boggling my mind. We all have a million things on our to-do list for this upcoming week, and a lot of us probably have some shopping to get done as well. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some a great tips of how to survive (and thrive) during your Black Friday shopping trip!

Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping



Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping


Black Friday…so ominous right?! I will throw a little history lesson at you; give you something to talk about around the Thanksgiving table. “Black Friday” was coined in the early 1960s to mark the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Referring to the time when retailers would go from the red to the black when entering in accounting numbers (red for a loss, black for a profit). For a little extra credit; “Black Friday” also refers to a financial crisis in 1869. Regardless of the definition it is practically a holiday in and of itself, making for long lines, excitement, some disappointment, and has been fulfilling wish lists for a long time. But how do you survive this one day? I will give you some tips that are sure to make your day (or night) of shopping easy and successful!


Stay Home

Let’s get the elephant out of the room first. If you really want a successful shopping experience stay home; set the alarm for 2AM and hop on the internet. It may take some time for the site to refresh and it will most certainly be slow, but you will have a fairly good chance of being successful and you won’t have to venture out in the cold. But where is the sport in that?! My husband goes out in the below freezing weather to walk through a field looking for that one perfect deer, then drags it back to the truck where unimaginable carnage takes place to put deer meat in our freezer. This is the same thing people! I am going out in the freezing cold to stand in line for four hours to “hunt” that one toy that is on my daughters’ list only to drag it home wrap it and place it under a hacked up pine tree!

Start Early

We will start around November 1st. Why you may ask? Because that is truly when Black Friday ads begin to make it on the internet and we can see them. Take a look at TheBlackFriday.com, there are plenty of others but this one always seems to get all of the ones that I want. These aren’t leaked either, some sites may say they are but retailers want you to look at their ads, they want you getting excited as early as possible. Another option is waiting until Wednesday or Thanksgiving Day to go and get a paper with ads. If you do this, make sure to go early—like before putting the turkey in the oven! They will sell out quick. And now comes the fun part!

Make a Wish List

Once you have claimed the entire dining room table or living room floor, whichever you prefer, make sure that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on for the kids and get focused! Get a pen and paper, if you have wish lists or lists of those that you need to buy gifts for, get those out too. I like to remove all the ads that I know I will shop at and then go from there to stores that maybe I won’t go to but they may have that off the wall gift for husband or father-in-law. Now, check times on all your favorites and put them in order from earliest to latest. A couple years ago some stores started to open on Thanksgiving Day—I really hated that! Oh no, not because they were opening on turkey day, if someone wants to skip dinner to go stand in line all the power to them, it just messed up my timing! Now we start to scan, looking at each page and thinking about the people on your gift list, write down (DO NOT CIRCLE or DOGEAR) on your paper the name, gift, price, store, and open time. You will probably find this same item at several stores so make sure to leave room for that, it will come in later. If you really want to get type A you can take this list at the end of your scanning and make it into an Excel file! (Insert: Type A control freak aka Sarah)

Map It Out

Now that we have gone through each ad and we have written down every gift, we are officially ready for Black Friday (or Thursday) ad reading. Now you have to have your plan of attack. Go through your list and look at each store you have to go to. Let’s say its Target, Wal-Mart, Old Navy and Toys R Us, for example, then you know from your list (or excel sheet) that Target opens at 6PM on Thursday, Wal-Mart at 6PM on Thursday, Toys R Us at 5PM on Thursday and Old Navy at midnight. You see what I am saying about moving everything to Black Thursday? Messes with your method! You plan to head to Toys R Us first since it opens at 5 then weigh what you want to buy at Target and Wal-Mart and whichever one has the most important “get” on the list then go there first, then Old Navy at midnight. If you haven’t ever done Black Friday shopping then you know from news reports that this isn’t something you just walk into, there are lines—lines city blocks long in some cases just to get in. Take a look at your list and really ask yourself what the most important thing on the list is—focus there. Because unless Target and Wal-Mart are right next to each other (which I am going to guarantee you they aren’t) then you will have to pick your battles, theoretically speaking of course.

Day Of Morning

The day has come! Or it is several hours later because you just looked at ads this morning! Imagine you are going on a four hour hike, then pack and dress for that. I would recommend leaving the kids at home, for obvious reasons if you are buying gifts for them but for the pure agony they will feel about 10 minutes in. Take a big purse, no we aren’t stealing anything or planning on hitting anyone on the head! This is for putting in gloves, hats, anything that won’t fit in pockets. Don’t wear a coat, a vest would be better, less bulk and little easier to manage once you are inside. Take some coffee and granola bars for energy and caffeine and store in the big purse. And finally, wear tennis shoes for goodness sake, I have to say this because I have seen women in heels and two hours into waiting in line they are complaining about their feet hurting! If you can it is always a good idea to bring someone along with you. Its makes the time move quicker but also comes in handy, more on that in a minute! Don’t worry you will know when the doors have opened, usually screams of joy erupt and the line starts to move quickly. I have never been in a line with pushing but I have heard it happens (insert sarcasm!) This is the point where I don’t care how cold it is, take off the hat, gloves and put up the coffee!

Day Of Action

When you get in, have your plan of attack on where to go. Sometimes those pesky stores mix it up and put the TVs in the clothes section so keep a keen eye! SKIP THE CARTS! Everyone always goes for them and it takes up time. Unless you are getting a big item, you can come back or you may have to awkwardly carry smaller items through the store. Back to that person who came with you, have them stand in a different line now, head to the registers and when the line starts to get long have them save a place. I know this is the worst and I am not a fan when people do it but let’s face it—brilliant idea! Please, don’t push and shove for your item, no one likes that, but you should be aggressive and forceful but polite—it is the holidays anyway! And no pressure, but the “Hallmark moment” you imagine when your daughter opens up that one desperately wanted toy of the season depends on your ability to be a little aggressive.

So you have scored your item! Head to the registers and check out, looking at other things as you go along, or sending said “line holder person” back for more things! If you did not score the item—do not fret! Pull the store website up on your phone find the item and place in your shopping cart, and then head to an open spot and purchase. You may be asking—why didn’t we just do that in the first place from our nice warm house? Sport my friend; it’s called the sport of it! Happy hunting!



From iFamily to Yours,