By Erin Erenberg
Originally published on Fox News.
We had a family tradition around Black Friday when I was young. With our cousins in town for Thanksgiving, my mom would load us into the car to head to the “big city” of Columbus, Ohio.
We shifted into the Christmas spirit while checking loved ones off our gift lists. Some of my favorite childhood memories were made on this day, amid twinkling street lights, looping holiday anthems, and commiserating, bag-laden dads camped out in the pit of City Center Mall. Between stores, we’d make a detour to the suburb of Dublin to sip glogg while my mom drank in inspiration for that year’s tree. It was crisp, cozy, wintery, idyllic Christmas bliss. But those were slower times, decades before shop.org handed us “Cyber Monday” in 2005.
Now that I’m the mom and we have three little ones, I’d rather avoid the manufactured urgency of Black Friday and take time to enjoy making holiday traditions that don’t center around buying. But don’t get me wrong: I still love to get and give gifts. So it was last year, when I gave birth to our third baby two days before Thanksgiving, that I learned the true beauty of Cyber Monday for mothers.
This year, instead of falling for the tempting promotional emails and Instagram ads that seem to know my every thought, I’ve been taking a minute to keep a list of all the retailers or manufacturers who are tempting me. Beside their name, I list the items I’d like to purchase, and for whom. My plan is to go online on Black Friday to see if there are deals on the things I’ve listed. If so, I’ll make the purchase then. If not, I’ll wait for Cyber Monday.
To all my busy moms out there, here are my top ten favorite things about Cyber Monday.
1. I can shop in sweats and no makeup, while using the loo if so inclined.
2. It can be a team sport. My mom, sister and I shopped together using our own laptops at my dining room table last year, and it was really fun. We called out good deals to one another, gasped when we saw something we wanted, and made purchases for one another without having to hide the evidence.
3. There are no (visible) crowds.
4. Ditto no pushy sales people.
5. My stroller isn’t in anyone’s way.
6. I don’t have to repeat “look with your eyes” to my children roughly 5,249 times per store.
7. We can access every store around the world without spending a dime on gas or worrying about our carbon footprint.
8. I MAKE BAD SHOPPING DECISIONS IN REAL LIFE SINCE BECOMING A MOM! Truly, I either break the bank or leave with nothing. I don’t think straight about purchases when I’m more worried about whether my child is going to touch something made of glass.
9. It seems like the deals are better. I’ve found that many stores will allow stacked discounts and promotions, often with free shipping
10. The gifts can be shipped directly to the recipient and to where you’re celebrating the holidays. This not only saves money but (more importantly for me) also the opportunity costs associated with the time and risk of shipping gifts yourself. If the retailer misses the Christmas deadline, you’ll wind up with a refund and maybe some future discount codes. That’s a lot better than what happened when I tried to ship all my gifts from California to Ohio, only to find out that they were misrouted to Milwaukee and lost until Easter. #neveragain
Here’s to helping you maximize your time and budget this holiday (but hands-off the Anine Bing bag in my shopping cart on November 26.)
See you online,