And what about Black Friday? Well, it didn't exist like it does today, instead many of the local stores had a short period of high discount sales, usually for three or four hours to get things kick started. And there were none of the brutality in the stores that we see today as respect for the law and for our fellow citizens ruled the day. It was by no means perfect, but it was a kinder and gentler time and we were much better off for it.
In our house back in Newport News,Virginia, Mom was the task master. After seeing so many decorations up and shining brightly the night before, she directed the bringing down of the Christmas decorations and getting them in order. The tree wouldn't come for another week since early up meant early demise, but we did start to decorate the house itself. And there was one special living tree outside that would get some special attention later in the day. There was, however, an annual problem that bringing the boxes out cause; it was the dog, first Laddie, then later Radar, getting into the decorations and making a mess of what remained in the box. Mom quickly retired the box under lock and key in a nearby closet.
Now, I don't know when Mom did her shopping for us, but it must have been after we went back to school the following Monday. She and her good neighbor friend would do it under the guise of going to Nachman's Department Store for lunch (everybody loved that place) but we all knew what she was up to. And Dad, well, since his office was downtown he just slipped out when needed to carry out her instructions. We made sure we slipped little hints while they pretended to ignore us.
That Friday after Thanksgiving when Dad came home was the highlight of the day. We had a large evergreen in the front yard and he loved to decorate it. Big, oversized decorations and large bright lights adorned it. Mom thought it was way overdone but Dad told her that he didn't have much of a Christmas as a little boy and,by golly, he was going to create a masterpiece the way he liked it. She always relented and chuckled while he muttered under his breath as he moved the big ladder around to adorn that big old tree. She knew he loved it and she loved him dearly so we all stood out after dark and admired his handiwork, tackiness and all. We kids just thought it was the greatest tree in town.
Then we'd have a late bite to eat before a group from the neighborhood would go out for Christmas caroling. The cold, brisk air was invigorating and we hoped it was an omen of snow to come. Only once that I remember did that happen. When we got home, there was hot chocolate and then, what a surprise, we found ourselves sleepy and a great day came to a close.
It's very true that we had a lot more than sugarplums dancing in our heads in our sleep that night and even though we hated the thought of school on Monday, we knew what the near future had in store. Christmas, glorious Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year would not be long in the coming and it was a subject of many discussions in the days to come.
Black Friday? Who needed it. We did just fine without it. The season was upon us and we were taught the true Spirit of the occasion, something that sadly we seem to have lost. Maybe, just maybe, we can screw our heads on and get back to that way of thinking, even today. Miracles do happen, you know.