Ah, Black Friday. The most important day of the calendar year for retailers. The focus of our Winter holidays has become all about the biggest sales and the earliest times that sales begin. I remember as a child, I just looked forward to Thanksgiving for two other reasons. It was a long weekend off from school. And it also meant the start of the Christmas season with all the Rankin/Bass holiday claymated shows (I am really surprised with computer animation that these shows have not been re-animated).
As an adult, every family Thanksgiving dinner began the same way, plotting a strategy to hit the stores for bargains as early as six in the morning. As years went on, the time shifted earlier and earlier that at one piont, our dinner concluded this year, with a starter’s pistol to signify the departure on Thanksgiving night. The majority of us remaining would not even know they had left as we were now glued to the television set for the third pro-football game of the day. Ah yes, good times.
For me, this holiday weekend means a lot different to me. Being married to Mrs. Kringle, I will be spending a lot of time in the green. No, not money. Bushes and trees. Since I have no depth when it comes to creativity and design in decorating the interior of the house, I do the outside.
When we first moved to Sugar Valley, the darkness took quite some time to get used to. With all of our wiring below ground, we had no street lights. Our neighborhood was unique in that for the most part, the development was all original homeowners. Wendy and I were one of the first of the second generations to move in.
Getting back, the neighborhood was fairly conservative even when it came to decorating for the holidays. This was not going to do for Christmas Wrapping Wendy. So we introduced ourselves to the neighborhood with a bright idea, literally bright. In a page right out of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I decorated the outside of the house with every light we owned. Two holly trees, a maple tree, a firebush, an oak tree, and a whole bunch of shrubs, the fence, 2 light posts, both awnings of the house, around the garage door, and a couple of lawn ornaments.
In the next year, a couple of our neighbors added to their wreaths with some net lighting and other outdoor Christmas ornaments. And just last year, not to be outdone, one of our neighbors built a 30 foot cutout reindeer. On Christmas Eve, the majority of our neighbors will continue a tradition that has existed long since before we moved in, putting luminaries along the curb. The task of coordinating this display has changed hands a few time over recent years, but it remains one of the coolest displays of neighborhood bonding. With near maximum participation, it is a spectacular sight to pull onto our street and see all the luminaries as far as can see. For the last several years, our daughters even believe that Santa uses these lights to guide his sleigh to our house. This is why no matter what, rain, snow, wind, sleet, Madison and Emmalie make sure I get out and light those candles.
So it is official. Thanksgiving has come and gone. It is Christmas Time.