Black Friday is a bit of a big deal in our home. I honestly have no idea how or why it started. I think the girls noticed it through the incessant advertising and wondered what it was all about. Greg, being in retail, took this interest as a teachable moment and took them out to explain what is truly a bargain and what is just slick marketing with a pretty bow. It turns out the three people I live with love to be out in the hustle and bustle, jostling through the crowds caught up in the hunt for a “perfect” gift.
Not me. This is the girls’ time with their Dad. They stay out ‘till all hours, sipping hot cocoa and snacking on some mall food that I am sure I don’t want to know anything about. They text me and Instagram me throughout the night, although by 11:00, I no longer notice, since I am snuggled up cozy in my bed with my own dreams of the perfect gift dancing through my head.
Girls, your Daddy may work in retail and our livelihood depends on his store selling lots of products, but the reason for this season is not found in a mall at midnight. It is found in our hearts, in our beliefs, and in our faith. It is found in the history and stories that began 2,000 years ago and are still passed on today. It is found in the celebration of the birth of a very special baby boy.
The perfect gift may in fact be found at a mall. We give gifts to those we love to share our love and joy of Christmas. In church we shake the hands of our neighbor and proclaim “Peace be with you.”. When we gift a gift, we are saying, “May the joy of the season be with you.”
I don’t personally find joy in a mall at midnight. However, I am given a gift on Black Friday. I get to see my girls growing up, staying up late, spending time with their Dad. I get to see the excitement build from the circular planning stage, to the store scheduling phase to the “can I please have some coffee to stay awake?” phase. I get to watch hours of Big Bang Theory uninterrupted. Last night I saw the tiara episode for the first time. Youtube the clip of it.....it made me laugh in a way only a girl could understand.
This season I am taking the time to find gifts that will bring joy. Through Pinterest I have found items that are either handmade through Etsy or made by start up companies here in the USA. Most of my shopping is done via Internet in the comfort of my home. I have jars of vodka infusing with thyme for some homemade skin spray. I will also share my homemade deodorant and my new favorite granola recipe with those I love.
Last year I wanted to do a Jesse Tree with the girls for the first time. My Aunt sent me a beautiful book with readings and pictures for copying and placing on the tree. I waited too long and this activity went undone. I have read the book, the readings and know that on December 2, the first Sunday of Advent I will being this project with my girls. I am prepared.
This season of Advent will truly be one of preparation for me and my family. My girls just finished their required reading books from Moving Beyond the Page. They won’t have to begin a new assigned book until January. For now all reading is purely for pleasure. We finished our audio book and will spend the next month using the app Tales 2 Go to listen to short Christmas stories when we are out and about. The girls asked me if we could read a Christmas picture book a day for 25 days. Again this is something I always wanted to do in the past but never prepared the 25 books. This year, I will. Last year we were a bit lazy and did not put up our entire North Pole Village like we have done in the past. This year I realize my girls want and need this tradition to continue. We are putting up the entire village.
There will be cookie baking and LCC meetings. There will be volunteering and lots of piano playing. There will be pageant practices and movie watching. There will be hot cocoa and fires. There will be card making and art journaling. There will be popcorn popping and knitting. There will be mass attending and well wishing. There will be advent calendar opening and Elf searching. There will be advent wreath making and candle lighting. There will be praying and thanks giving. There will be honoring and remembering. There will be tradition keeping beginning with Black Friday and building up to a big birthday celebration, keeping in mind always, that Jesus is the reason our family celebrates this season.