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Black Friday Tradition Means Quality Time For Milwaukee Mother-Daughter Pair

Rachel Morello
A few of the custom Black Friday sweatshirts Amelia Frankum and her daughter, Alexis, have made throughout the years.


For some families, Thanksgiving means turkey or football. For others, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without Black Friday shopping.

Amelia Frankum falls into the latter camp. The Whitefish Bay resident makes a pilgrimage to the stores every year -- but it’s not a solo mission.

“My daughter and I have been Black Friday shopping together since she was about 4 years old, and she is 18 this year,” Frankum says. “It’s kind of our thing! Nobody else can come, just she and I every year.”

But the annual holiday tradition wouldn’t be complete without a touch they added years ago: custom-made sweatshirts.

Frankum got wind of the idea one year, when she saw a group of friends donning their own matching shirts. So she and daughter Alexis began designing their own, picking different colors, graphics and slogans each year.

Every t-shirt and sweatshirt is different, save a bar code, the year and “Black Friday” emblazoned across the back.

And Frankum has kept them all.

There’s the pink t-shirt they made as Texas residents -- when it was warm enough to wear short sleeves in November. When daughter Alexis entered her “sassy” teen years, Frankum came up with matching designs that read, “I love shopping with my daughter!” and “I love shopping with my mommy!” in big, bold letters.

But this year’s sweatshirt is special.

Credit Rachel Morello
Amelia Frankum poses with this year's mother-daughter sweatshirt.

“This year, she’s at military school, so we had to incorporate a rifle,” Frankum explains, holding up a brand-new black hoodie. “We have someone shooting, and it says ‘Bargain hunting!’” she laughs.

What’s changed this year, is Frankum won’t see her daughter until Thanksgiving, when she visits from West Point Military Academy.

Alexis has already been able to come home twice during her first semester, but normally West Point students only get vacation about three times a year.

Frankum is used to the military school schedule; her son, who’s a few years older than Alexis, attends the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

“Those schools are really intense, so the time is limited,” Frankum explains. “They will get up at four in the morning, go to bed at midnight. And if you get to talk to them, you’re lucky, because they’re pretty busy. It’s really difficult.”

That’s what makes the mother-daughter Black Friday trip so special, Frankum says.

“That’s the one thing we do together every year, no matter what. So it’s wonderful that she’s able to come home and we get to do it together,” she says. “And it’s more than the shopping. We always go to Starbucks, and then we actually stay up all night and wrap everything we buy. So that’s part of the fun, too. I get real quality time with her. When your kids are teenagers, that doesn’t happen a lot.”

And this year, some of Alexis’ new training may come in handy.

“We strategize!” Frankum says, with a smile. “When we first started [Black Friday shopping], you really had to almost be mean. If we wanted something really bad, and there were only like five of them, I would send Alexis in. She’d cut through the adults and run through their legs and grab whatever we needed!”

“Maybe she can knock people out of the way -- she’s still small, but now she’s a lot stronger!” mom laughs.

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