Today is an important one to our family. Long before Black Friday was called "Black Friday," this was the day the Norris family pulled boxes of decorations from the garage and "dressed" our house for Christmas.
I came to cherish these few hours each year. As a pastor, I have spent much of my life bucking tradition. Family Christmas decorating has been a glowing exception for me.
Cathy's mom has sold Avon since the year after Columbus landed. Okay, it was a couple of years later, but Joyce started presenting us with special Christmas tree ornaments early in our marriage. When we started a family, we received ornaments for each child. Sometimes they came with our child's name already engraved, but usually my organized wife neatly printed the name and year on the back of the ornament with a permanent marker pen.
As the years flew by, each child developed a collection of ornaments and all got to hang their own on the tree. Meanwhile, a large pan of fresh, hot wassail would be waiting on the stove. Sometimes we even had a fire crackling in a fireplace. The other ambiance enhancement was always Christmas music.
To this day, I think the whole family dislikes (despises, hates, is disgusted by -- you get the picture) the Burl Ives rendition of "Holly, Jolly Christmas." Now I'm certain (?) we all deeply respected Mr. Ives as an actor and musician, but that song? Well, let's just say we would all start singing it in a most obnoxious way and end up in fits of laughter.
In recent years, decorating is back down to where it started -- Cathy and me. It takes a bit longer, still includes wassail and (sometimes) Ives, and usually brings me happy tears as I remember. Those memories are some of our most precious treasures.
On this Black Friday, Cathy and I will laugh, dance and play with Molly. The house can wait!
How will you spend today?