“I don’t care where we go for Thanksgiving as long as we can go Black Friday shopping,” Cooper said.

My son overheard a conversation between my husband, Ron and I about the holiday. Ron’s youngest son, Max lives in Austin, Texas and called to see if we’d spend the holiday with him and his girlfriend.

My three older children will be with their father for Thanksgiving. And Ron’s oldest son will be with his girlfriend for the holiday, which leaves Ron, Cooper and me home for the holidays. Or perhaps on a road trip.

Cooper’s a saver and has quite a cache of spending money from his dog walking and neighborhood watering jobs. This will be the first Black Friday shopping experience for my fifth grader and it’s all he talks about.

Sadly, when his twin brothers were his age, Black Friday actually began on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We lived in Star Valley and would set the alarm for 3 a.m. so we could drive to Idaho Falls to stand in the long lines that wrapped around stores. The anticipation was half the fun. Would we get there in time to get a ticket for the hot electric item the boys wanted? Or would they run out? My best friend, Kris, who lived in Jackson would meet us there. By nine o’clock when we’d meet with our kids for breakfast, we had almost finished our Christmas shopping. The adrenaline rush and fun of watching fellow holiday shoppers was electric.

So much has changed. Ron and I recently walked into a store and the window decal announced, “Black Friday Starts November 22.”

I turned to my husband. “That’s not Black Friday. That’s before Thanksgiving.”

He grimly nodded.

Many stores are opening their doors on Thanksgiving and that just feels wrong.

I’m a traditionalist. The inevitable annual shopping chaos is supposed to happen after an incredibly long day of feasting.

Still, this will be Cooper’s first Black Friday shopping event so despite retailers changing the rules, there are some Billiter traditions that will not go gently into the good night. For instance, Madonna’s “Holiday” is the go-to car music. Followed by Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas.” These amazing rock goddesses know how to set the holiday mood.

Besides key music blaring in the car, there’s always a stop for coffee and cocoa. Nothing says Black Friday shopping quite like navigating a shopping cart, lines and throes of people with a hot beverage.

And lastly, breakfast. It may be noon, but artery-clogging bacon, eggs, hash browns and copious amounts of coffee is tradition.

All I want for Black Friday is sharing these family traditions with my son.

Happy holidays to you and your family!

Mary Billiter can be reached at marybilliter@ymail.com

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