A few years ago my family started a wonderful tradition of NOT getting each other Xmas gifts. I know I've mentioned before on this blog how much this one decision has enhanced my enjoyment of the holidays. Fighting through crowds at stores with a long list to purchase in a ridiculously small amount of free time is not my idea of the Christmas spirit! Plus my husband and I work very hard not to acquire unnecessary "stuff" thus getting a bunch of well-intended but hard to store presents is not ideal! So our list of people to buy for this year numbered five- 3 nephews and 2 nieces- and all have been purchased.
One wonderful consequence of this present-free Xmas is we are free to spend Black Friday however we want. This year, my family was kind enough to make the drive into the city to visit. And, yes, we entered retail stores, but without any pressure of "having to buy things". Mom, Anna-Lisa, Jason and I made the short trek to Macy's on State to look at the Great Tree and window decorations. This is the 105th year that Macy's (formerly Marshall Field's which traditional Chicagoans like myself preferred...and it will always be the Sears tower, forget Willis), assembled the 45 foot tree. There are over 1200 ornaments on the tree and 25,000 lights. Just think, at the first lighting of the Great Tree, people arrived in horse drawn carriages and there was probably no line for dinner at The Walnut Room! Back when the tree used to be real (they changed to artificial a few years ago), they had firemen on hand 24/7 just in case!
|Mom and I|
|Jason, A-L, and Mom|
It was fun to people watch the folks in the Walnut Room from above. It was an eclectic group of children, elderly folks, families, fairies (employees, we suspect) and people dressed as elves (turns out they were patrons). It was also fun to watch other visitors take photos in front of the tree. Many of them (particularly the pre-teen boys but a surprising amount of adults who one would think made the tree trip under their own free will) were BORED and GRUMPY looking! Maybe they spent the morning fighting over door-buster deals......So we decided to take some grump photos of our own:)
|Slightly less blurry grumpsters|
We didn't really shop- did some fragrance smelling and some animal print vest perusing, but nothing serious. I was surprised to find that being in the huge eight floor store actually made me WANT to do a bit of shopping, a task that I usually abhor. Maybe it was all the Xmas decorations? I might even try to convince my husband to wander around the store with me later this week. Without any "must buy" items on the agenda, it might be fun!
We then walked all the way to 900 N Michigan and stopped at Lululemon Athletica and then over to WaterTower Place for stops at 2 quick stores. The area wasn't any busier than a usual Saturday - I think the ridiculous crowds were probably in the suburbs- at least that's the impression I got from Facebook!
After our 4 mile urban hike, we enjoyed a lovely dinner of ravioli casserole (thanks, Mom!) and left over apple pie from T-giving. Adam and I had rushed to get the tree and other decorations up before my family arrived and were successful- my Mom helped by putting up the final ornaments.
Overall, it was a nice, relaxed visit. A little walking, a little eating, a little chatting and a very little shopping. Happy Black Friday to us!
Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!