Archives du mot-clé expatriation

Black Friday, how to start your holiday season

For the uninitiated, the term Black Friday refers to the day after Thanksgiving. It traditionally kicks off the Holiday season. People line up in the cold and dark outside of the major retailers in the hopes of being in a good position (when the doors open before dawn) to take advantage of all the crazy sales. If you are determined enough, you can find savings anywhere, from 20% to as much as 60% off. Unfortunately, you will have to spend of your Thanksgiving on a long line with total strangers, freezing your butt off. In some cases, you might even have to fight with someone to take that special stuffed Elmo you needed so badly.  All of this seems so cliché, yet the temptation of savings is very great.

I’m a woman who can’t say no to great deals. I worked very hard all year, saved as much as I could for this very specific day and kind of prepared myself for all of the insanity. Unfortunately, this year, I got the flu and it was impossible for me to get out of the house with a fever to line up for hours in freezing weather. I admire those people for their patience, courage and tenacity, but I personally had to pass on it.

This year, I went shopping online (I’m so thankful for the internet), and was able to get almost everything that was on my list. I got a backpack for my husband that was worth 130$ and paid 50$ which I consider one of my biggest shopping success this year. I also bought a dog bed worth 120$ and paid 60$ and a winter coat that was worth 150$ for 80$ to name just a few… Needless to say that this shopping addict was feeling pretty good. After a little research I realized that the online sales were not as good as on site sales. Obviously retailers are trying to inspire people to come to their stores instead of shopping online.. Is there a big difference?

Over the last few years, the growing trend as been toward shopping online. The overall convenience combines with the saving as made it hard to resist. However, with the brick and mortar stores facing real threats from this, the retailers are now trying very hard to lure their customers back. For me personally, I could not go to my shopping mission this year. However, the fact that I was sick in bed, and was still able to get everything I needed without leaving my bedroom at significant savings speaks for itself.

Balck Friday mania doesn’t only happen in the U.S. Countries like Canada, France, United Kingdom and Mexico… to name just a few.

In 2010, Small Business Saturday, was founded to help promote local businesses and communities. The idea is dedicated to promoting and supporting community businesses.  Also, the following Monday, there is something called « Cyber Monday ». Which is like black friday but online. You’ll probably find kind of the same deals than during black Friday.

Did you ever experience Black Friday in NYC? what was the craziest deal you found?

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Normally, I’m not a person who is drowned to events with crowds. But three years ago, I was giving an opportunity to full fill a life long dream and see the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The opportunity was all about the location, because it is a very important aspect of the experience of viewing the parade. We were invited to a building on Broadway and 60th street, which for me and my roommate at the time felt like winning the lottery. It was the perfect spot to experience our very first parade.

If you are a fan of American Tv Show and movies like myself, you might have a picture in your mind of what the parade would be like. Every year, the world famous department store  Macy’s organized the world’s largest parade. This tradition started in 1924, one of my favorite aspect of the tradition is that they give the employees the choice to march alongside in the parade. They all march together down to their flagship store on 34th street with the final part of the tradition having Santa Clause close out the parade and welcoming in the Holiday season.

The other part of the tradition that makes the parade so famous are the beautiful gigantic balloons and displays. Some of these balloons can be as long as a football field and high as 3 stories. To give you an idea of how huge these balloons are, they need 90 people to handle each balloon.

I should add one of the other fun things to do is you should go uptown to the museum of Natural History and watch them blowing the balloons the day before the parade. Kids are always amazed and this is something that they will forever remember. This is a great opportunity to create a family tradition like thousand of New Yorker.

I think this is such a unique event, I’ve never seen that before. I’m adding a picture of this year route so you can have an idea of where to go if you decide to join the fun next year. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph your location is very important. The crowds can get very large and the weather can be cold so dress warmly and bring snacks. The reason I was so lucky is that got the chance to watch it indoors from a building. It was warm, there was food and we had a great view point. It felt like we won the lottery. Not everybody will get the opportunity to see the parade that way but it is still a lot of fun.

To give you an idea of how popular this parade is, there are over 44 million people watching it every year on television. Since 2013 it has been broadcast simultaneously in Spanish and had won 9 Emmy Award for outstanding achievements in special event coverage since 1979.

As a lot of you know, Thanksgiving is a very big holiday in the USA. If you live here, you can’t miss, especially if like me you are married to an American. This is part of their traditions. We usually spend Thanksgiving cooking but if you have kids or if you are visiting NYC during this time of the year, the parade is something you definitely can’t miss if you want to discover their culture. This is something that they are so proud of. It is a fun day in the city before the craziness of Black Friday.

Have you ever been to the parade? If so What was your favorite balloon and memory of it?