Santa? Is that you?
Yesterday, was the big Shop-O-Rama at my sister-in-law's house. My sister-in-laws, niece and daughter all went to North Arkansas for Thanksgiving, and ever since I have been in this family we have gone shopping the day after Thanksgiving. We used to hit the 6:00 a.m. sale . . . then we used to hit 5:00 a.m. sales. . . then we used to hit the 4:00 a.m. sales. . . .
Last year we didn't hit the early sale, but there were plenty of other deals to choose from all day long. So getting up at our regular 4:00 a.m. and getting to the stores around 5:30 a.m. was still okay. There were plenty of deals to still be had and plenty of shoppers around.
This year Wal*Mart started at 10 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. for their EARLY sales. We did NOT go to Wal*Mart at 12:00 a.m.
When we got up at 4:00 a.m. to drive an hour away to go shopping, we were late.
It was eerie.
We drove into the parking lot to find about 10 cars . . . and no line. There was literally NO ONE there.
One of the great things about Black Friday shopping for me, has been dressing up in my Christmas shirt and reindeer antlers and telling busy shoppers, "Merry Christmas!" Spreading holiday cheer the very first day of the season. Seeing little kids' eyes light up when they sit in Santa's lap. Watching them wave to Santa's reindeer . . . it always put me in the Christmas spirit.
There was no one to tell.
The aisles were empty, as well as the shelves.
We went right through the checkout without waiting. We went to the mall and there were a few more people, but nothing like the mad-house we were used to in years past. We had our picture made with Santa like every year, and decided we needed to get lunch because we would probably have to wait in line for an hour.
We walked across the mall parking lot to Olive Garden, and there were some people there, but there was NO LINE! It was 12:10 p.m. and we walked right in and got a table for 7!! We had a wonderful lunch . . .(unlimited soup and salad and breadsticks . . .mmmm).
It was really weird.
As you know, our lead reindeer passed away just a few weeks ago, and it was already going to be a different experience without her to lead the prancing through the mall. But I never expected THIS.
This morning as I watch the news, I am shocked at the number of deaths and injuries and craziness that was involved. Some people in NYC actually LOOTED a Hollister store. They just stole the merchandise. The great deals weren't good enough . . .these people just took the stuff.
I have an awful feeling that Black Friday is going to be banned and our tradition of Shop-O-Rama will really be a thing of the past.
The thing that put me in the Christmas spirit was Santa! The mall Santa!
He was AMAZING! I don't think I have ever said/typed that sentence in my life. This Santa had a real beard and was
This man was so genuine . . . I thought it might be Santa.
He took time to talk to each child BEFORE he asked if they would sit in his lap. Therefore, no tears.
When we took our group picture. He took extra time to make sure we were all in the picture and smiling, and was so patient with all of us. It was AMAZING!
I was standing in the mall later that day and waiting on some of our reindeer to come out of the restroom. Santa was going on break and was walking toward us. I couldn't help but watch to see what he would do. He stopped and talked to each child and hugged them on his way to the restroom.
Amazed I watched each child smile and wave as he left them.
I promise I have never experienced anything like this in 20+ years of Black Friday Shopping. But this Black Friday at the Turtle Creek Mall in Jonesboro, AR I saw the true spirit of Christmas, at least for a little while.