family, kindness

RAK Friday 2019

As many of you know, I LOVE to go shopping on Black Friday. Seriously. I love it! There’s something so energizing about being in the midst of the crowds starting their holiday shopping. It’s a tradition that I’ve participated in as far back as I can remember and still brings me such joy each year!

When my children were small, I would get up in the wee hours of the morning, bundling up in three layers, to wait outside in the freezing cold lines for a store to open at 6 AM. My goal? That elusive “must have” toy that one of my children added to their Santa list. For me, it was worth the suffering of being cold and testing my patience to hear the squeal of excitement on Christmas morning when gifts were opened and surprises revealed.

I learned in those early years that shopping on Black Friday was a much better experience for me if I was kind to others. I would chat with people in line and learn more about what items they hoped to find inside. I would inevitably say something to make them laugh, even if it was simply lamenting the shared misery of inching forward step-by-step towards the store entrance.

My family said I was crazy to do this year after year, but it didn’t keep me away from this once-a-year shopping day. I was determined to get as much Christmas shopping done in one day as humanly possible.

Now, with the ease of online shopping, I can accomplish that same task from the comfort of my home, snuggled in warm pajama pants, sipping on a hot mocha latte. One click here, another click there, and voila! My shopping is done!

But what’s the fun in that?

I don’t shop online on Black Friday. I still set my alarm early and leave before the sun rises prepared to shop the day away. But now, instead of tackling the crowds on my own, I take a friend.

I bring my daughter to share in my joy.

See, my shopping goals are no longer limited by getting the good deals and buying as many gifts as possible. It’s about spending quality time with my best girl. It’s about showing kindness to others on a day that is long and tiring. It’s about remembering when I used to work in retail and how tough the busiest shopping day of the year could be.

This year Katrina and I started our #RAKFriday adventures at Kohl’s and leisurely strolled through the store. I had a few coupons with me, so I strategically placed them throughout the store to be discovered by others later in the day.

Time to get this #RAKFriday party started!

I treated us to breakfast at Chick-fil-A (which we ate while we drove), then we headed across town to Short Pump Town Center, a local mall for all things shopping. I was excited to leave a copy of A Passion for Kindness as a surprise gift for a stranger, so I quickly jotted a message on a post-it note then left my book on one of the many benches near the Christmas tree.

Chicken minis and orange juice to fuel our shopping!
Can you even see my book for the size of that Christmas tree?

When we passed by the bench again about twenty minutes later, my book was gone and the bench was empty. What a thrill to know another seed of kindness has scattered to someone new!

Our shopping day continued from store to store and I continued to do acts of kindness in small, but meaningful ways.

I complimented every cashier who rang up my purchases.

I hung up clothes that had fallen on the floor.

I smiled at strangers and held open doors for shoppers carrying packages.

I left little notes of affirmations on dressing room mirror and in pants pockets.

Do you realize how many times a retail clerk has to bend over to hang yet another piece of clothing that has fallen on the floor? It may not seem like much, but the little things make a huge impact on someone else’s day!
It was such fun to leave little notes all around! I wrote several on a post-it note pad before I left home to make it easy to share a smile.

I had a few coupons for Bath & Body Works, so we entered the store to scatter them about. Imagine my delight to see my nephew’s girlfriend shopping inside! We made sure she got a coupon, too. She was so appreciative!

Love sharing coupons with others who may need them!
A free gift for a beautiful gal!

We eventually left the mall and continued our shopping elsewhere, visiting Shoe Carnival, Michael’s, Target, and Burlington Coat Factory. Everywhere we went we greeted people with a smile and enjoyed our quality time together.

My school collects gifts for children in need, so I made sure to pick up some art supplies and a huge journal of nice parchment paper for drawing and painting.

As we finished up our day, I made sure to stop by Starbucks and pick up some cookies for everyone at home to enjoy. It was a sweet way to end our day!

Snowmen cookies for the win!

To read more about my RAK Friday adventures through the years, click on a link below!

RAK Friday 2018

RAK Friday 2017

RAK Friday 2015

RAK Friday 2014

RAK Friday 2012

Whether you shop online or brave the crowds, may your holiday season be filled with joy. Keep smiling and spread good cheer wherever your travels take you!

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