LOGAN – Historically, Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving, but this year some stores have chosen to start the holiday shopping earlier this year by opening on Thanksgiving Day.

LOGAN – Historically, Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving, but this year some stores have chosen to start the holiday shopping earlier this year by opening on Thanksgiving Day.

Stores are normally filled with chaotic shoppers trying to find the best prices for those much-wanted items on the Christmas list, no matter at what cost.

But for others such as Erin Marchand Gibson and her family, it’s a time to gather and have fun. Each year, while most are still nestled all cozy and warm in their beds, Gibson and her entourage are up and out the door no later than 4 a.m. the morning after Thanksgiving.

This has become a family tradition that began back in 1982 with her mother, Karen Marchand and grandmother, Charolette Kornmiller.

“We don’t eat breakfast,” Gibson said. “There’s far too much shopping to do to let breakfast get in the way.”

This die-hard group of women doesn’t bother with breakfast until they are ready to unload their first cache of Christmas joy, and then they are right back out the door for more holiday cheer.

According to Gibson, the key to effective Black Friday shopping is to be familiar with the store, so they begin their 16-hour day at the local Walmart where they are more familiar with the store’s outline.

From Walmart, the entourage may venture to Target or another store depending on the needs or wants of the majority in the group.

“However, there are some stores that we know to stay away from,” she noted. “Because they are not as prepared for the number of Black Friday shoppers and we can’t afford to waste 45 minutes of valuable time standing in line at the checkout counter.”

The reason Gibson and her group fight the crowded stores this time each year is for the great deals, but more than that, it’s the fun they have as a family.

“People have the misconception that everyone is fighting on Black Friday, but that’s not the case,” Gibson explained. “We have never had an awful experience or even witnessed a fight. There’s a difference in attitude between your seasoned Black Friday shoppers like us and the newbies.”

“The seasoned shoppers are friendly, help each other and have a different mindset,” she added.

Although Gibson and her group have never witnessed any injuries from pushing and shoving on Black Friday, Gibson did have a small mishap over a television one year. However, after a stare-down, the man saw the determination in Gibson’s eyes and knew it would be a wise decision to let go of the television then to tangle with the likes of the die-hard shopper.

While she is normally quiet, Gibson remembers breaking out into an impromptu hula hoop contest one year in the middle of K-mart. “Odd things can happen when you’ve been up too long and have been shopping for 12 hours,” she laughed.

To make sure they can find one another during their 16-hour shopping spree, they all have matching T-shirts. The front of the shirts say, “Black Friday Shopper Since 1982” or whatever year the person started shopping with the group. People often recognize them by their shirts from previous years.

Like many who shop Black Friday, Gibson and her family have developed a game plan. On Thanksgiving Day, the family gathers not only for their Thanksgiving Day feast, but also to review the leaked ads together and to make plans for the following day’s chaotic adventure of Black Friday shopping.

The multi-generation event includes family member Charlotte Kornmiller, known as the matriarch of the family. She is 70-years-old and still a dedicated Black Friday shopper. “Don’t let her age fool you,” Gibson joked. “Grandma can spot a good deal from three isles away.”

Kendra Squires typically has most of her shopping finished prior to Black Friday, but often lays back and waits for an exceptional deal and then pounces on it, according to Gibson.

Karen Marchand is the calm member of the entourage. “When things get chaotic, she can lighten the mood with a good joke,” remarked Gibson. “Silliness comes easy when you’ve been shopping that long.”

Amanda Clark has been noted to wander from the group in order to find that hidden good deal. “We’ve discussed having a tracking device implanted in her for this reason,” chuckled Gibson. “Amanda would be quick to point out that she’s gone Black Friday shopping not once, but three times pregnant.”

Gibson is known as the methodical one of the group. She is the one who has a game plan and is always watching the clock to keep everyone on track. “If missing, I can normally be found trying on random funny hats or telling others about my natural curly hair,” she laughed.

While they are serious about finding their holiday treasures on Black Friday, the group is focused on having fun and more importantly, having fun as a family. “I wish more people focused on having that valuable family time, whether it’s spent shopping or not,” Gibson said.

“We never shop on Thanksgiving,” she added. “We save Thanksgiving for eating great food, playing games and relaxing with family. We realize that this means we may miss out on some deals, but it would be far worse to miss out on that time with the entire family.”