I had my very first Black Friday shopping experience this year.  In previous years, I thought there were no deals good enough to warrant me fighting the crowds on the Busiest Shopping Day of the Year.  But this year, I stalked the Black Friday ads looking for artificial, pre-lit Christmas trees.

My husband and I have been married for 12 years, and every year we have bought a fresh tree.  For the last several years, however, the idea of an artificial tree has been growing on us.

Our reasons for getting an artificial, pre-lit Christmas tree:
  • They don't require water or shed needles.
  • No messing with the frustrating tree stand, only to have the tree be crooked.
  • No messing with the frustrating lights.
  • They don't turn into kindling in three weeks (aka a FIRE HAZARD).
  • We don't have to spend big bucks to get a fresh tree every year.
I'll admit that I had an ulterior motive for getting an artificial tree-- namely, saving money on not getting fresh trees every year makes it more likely that eventually I will get to have multiple Christmas trees.  This is my goal.

So, I armed myself with a game plan and prepared to do some Black Friday shopping.  I set the alarm for 5:15 AM (yikes), got up, got dressed, and headed out into the dark morning.

Garden Ridge
My first stop was Garden Ridge.  They had advertised that their 7.5 to 9' trees that were regularly $299 were on sale for $99.  The store was scheduled to open at 6, and I arrived there five minutes early.  When I got there, the store was still dark (with only the ghost lights on that they keep on after hours), but I noticed that there were already people inside.  I walked up and found that they had opened the doors and people were already loading up Christmas trees into shopping carts-- in the semi-darkness.  So I grabbed a shopping cart, fearful that I had already missed out.

Fortunately, there were a lot of trees on sale and most people were interested in the 7.5' ones.  I was after a nine footer.  As I was looking at the trees, the store lights came on.  A lady standing next to me said, "well, I thought I knew which tree I wanted until the lights came on-- but now I'm not sure!"  I hope all the folks who had grabbed trees in the dark didn't get an unpleasant surprise when they got home!

I bought my nine foot tree and had it loaded in my car by 6:15.  My next stop was Home Depot, where they had several trees that were originally $129 on sale for $49.  Oh yes, folks, I was going for a second tree!

Home Depot Berrywood Pine
When I got to Home Depot, there was hardly anyone there.  I was met at the front door my no fewer than six friendly salespeople.  I asked where I could find the $49 trees, and they kindly pointed me to them and offered to put it in my cart for me.  They had three trees on sale for that price, and I picked the Berrywood Pine.  It's a seven foot tree, and it has pine cones and little red berries on all the branches. 

I bought the second tree and the nice Home Depot staff even put it in my car for me.  Dear Home Depot, I love you.  You are friendly and helpful.

From there I went to Panera to get breakfast for my family and was home by 7:30.  I was very pleased with my Black Friday experience.  It went so smoothly that I wouldn't mind doing it again, but only if there was a specific item I was after.

I have already put up both Christmas trees.  I had to make do with the ornaments I already had for both, but I'm very happy with the way they both look.  I'll be taking pictures once I have the rest of my decorations up.  I'm planning to participate in The Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes on December 13th, so be on the lookout!

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