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Every Black Friday, my mother and I strap on our boots and mentally prepare to tackle the hustle and bustle. The goal – to check off gifts on our list as quickly as possible. To achieve that, we needed to head to North Hills. The convenience of so many shops in one place can’t be beat. With that in mind, and help from multiple peppermint-infused caffeinated beverages, we took on the task.

We first made a game plan. Shopping for my friends and family is difficult, as their personalities, lifestyles, and interests span many broad categories. In my family alone, there is my brother, the football fanatic college freshman; my father, the world traveling businessman; and my mother, the health conscious do-everything and be-everything supermom. Since I was with her, I figured she’d be the most logical person to start with.

At Monkee’s, Kendra Scott, and Scout and Molly’s, my mother hinted at jewelry pieces she’d wish to find under the tree. Each time, I had to be sly, picking up the items when her back was turned and sneaking over to the checkout counter to make a purchase.

Liles was our one-stop-shop for my Dad. His love for unique clothing makes him feel stylish and  presentable when he’s with his European business associates on corporate trips. Liles is also the one store in Raleigh where we have been able to find his favorite brand of reversible two-in-one styled shorts. (The ultimate dad-item in our house.)

At Lululemon, we entered under the assumption that we would find pieces to add to each other’s lists. Instead, we walked out with purchases for my brother, who requested new jogger-style sweatpants and stylish athleisure to wear to his classes. (I’d say I’m surprised by this request, but I’m not.)

In addition to shopping for Christmas presents, my family takes advantage of holiday sales to buy everyday essentials. It is the one day where rarely discounted items can be found on markdown. With that in mind, we ventured to Target, Omega Sports, and Anthropologie where we receieved up to 30 percent off our total purchases.

After nearly seven hours, we were done. Our Black Friday shopping at North Hills was marked with a check for success. Not only was I able to find something on my list for each of my family members, but I also scored some unexpected deals. (Much to the delight of my budget-conscious wallet.)

Next week, in our final installment of this shopper’s guide series, a young professional shares how North Hills helped wrap up his gift list just in time to head home for the holidays. For additional insight into holiday shopping at North Hills, read how this time-crunched mom tackled her holiday shopping in less than four hours.

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