Friday, November 28, 2008

It's A Holly, Jolly Christmas

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?


Tony E. said...

No black Friday. No shopping today. I'm spending time with the family still as we wander around Sea World lazily and I'll spend time watching people today. A big goal today is to just practice patience and joy in the midst of angst.
We do need to start some Christmas traditions as a family besides racing December 25th to see which comes first, our tree or Christmas.

J Trout said...

Now that I read your post I may just pull out the Christmas box.

C. Beth said...

For the third year in a row, The Engineer and I have gotten up early to go to Black Friday sales. I really love this new tradition! Since we spend Thanksgiving with Mamma and Papa (usually in New Mexico but at our house this year) we don't have to bring the kids with us. So we get an early-morning "date," some good prices on things we've been wanting, and the "thrill of the chase" that is bargain shopping.

After that, we came home, and I made some muffins from a mix Mamma brought. We ate those while The Engineer did a little more shopping by himself. Mamma and Papa and I played a card game, and Mamma made turkey soup and cornbread.

As all this was going on, I was trying to fix some computer issues...marring the loveliness of the day somewhat.

We ate the turkey soup (a delicious tradition!) Then the kids and Mamma went down for a nap; The Engineer headed out to see a movie; Papa read the paper; and I sat down to catch up on my computer which is blessedly behaving normally again.

What a nice day.

Sam said...

Tony and J, Go for it! May God bless you as you do.

Beth, I'm sure glad you got your computer going. I love your blog AND your comments on this one.


Sandra said...

Sam -- I just can't get into shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. I don't mind the crowds other times, but I just find the ones on that day particularly aggressive and not much fun.

We spent time with grandchildren yesterday -- a much better use of our time!

We started our Christmas decorating today with Hubby's new "tradition." Taking the pre-lit wreaths to be made to light again!