My husband and I begin the holiday season each year on Black Friday. We have been doing this since we started dating (again) 6 years ago. It used to be fun. We always started at Target. There was coffee and donuts; a silly security guard; and always one woman trying to be in charge that everyone else laughed at. My husband and I never looked at the circulars before hand or knew what was on sale. We just went and people watched .... if we got a good deal thrown in all the better.
This year was no fun at all! The stores now have corrals and barricades around the stores, keeping people not only in a straight orderly line, but also keeping them from stomping each other when the stores open. Gone are the coffee & donuts, random Christmas carols and comradery. Black Friday has become instead Dante's 5th Circle of Hell! It is sad really. But at least from now on my husband and I can sleep late the day after Thanksgiving because I do not think we will be doing this again. I feel like Christmas has become Whoville at the beginning of the Jim Carey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! And this year I feel like Cindy Lou Who!
We like tradition. Spending time with family. Lots of lights and decorations - some of which my husband and I have had for a long time. Letters from Santa. A Charlie Brown Christmas. I think you get the point. But it does not seem like tradition (or Jesus for that matter) has much to do with Christmas this year. Bigger TVs cheaper TVs .... faster more expensive computers ..... car commercials changing lyrics to Christmas carols ... and the very few people practicing the fine art of Christmas cards .... I could go on and on about what is wrong with this Christmas. But I won't!
Instead I will talk about how fabulous it is to sit here and watch my Christmas tree all aglow - covered in ornaments I have been collecting since I was 16 and worked in a Hallmark store. We needed a new tree this year. My husband searched far and wide for one we loved. We looked at all the new fancy prelit, easy assemble, rotating, outrageously expensive trees. What we found was an old fashioned - no lights - tree for a quarter the price of all the outrageous trees! And we love it! It fits almost all the ornaments, but we have several other small trees in our very small house to take care of that. Our house actually looks like a gingerbread house outside, with a Santa perched on the chimney.
I have found some really great gifts this year that I am proud of. But still have no idea what to get the husband or the teenager! I really should get on that with only 9 days to go!
And in all the bustle I found this article on being destressed during the holidays. Usually I read articles in women's magazines for a good giggle this time of year. They talk about handmade gifts and decor and fabulous extravagant dinners with plates on chargers with handmade name cards. That is just not my world and I can never figure out where people who do this find the time. Usually this time of year I think paper plates and napkins with gaudy poinsettia prints are just fine for me! As long as there are lots of people to share it with.
So I shall end with one of the best holiday traditions .... I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
As I was about to post this blog about the lack of Christmas spirit in the world I heard music .... Christmas music. I put down my laptop and went to the front door and outside was a band. Decked out in full holiday gear .... playing Christmas music for the man next door who has had a really rough year, both economically and medically. For a moment rekindeling my faith in the holiday season.