This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday: A Look Back

I’ve never been a “Black Friday” fan, I worked at least twelve years in some form of retail and saw more pushing, shoving and herding of hordes than anyone should have to. I remember the last Black Friday I was working. I knew I would be leaving retail after the first of the year. I was sooooooo excited. I was probably merrier then, than all the previous Day after Thanksgivings before.

After I did leave retail my mother and I did start a little tradition of our own on the day following Thanksgiving. For almost fifteen years (we missed one or two) we would get up early and drive to two very tiny towns (populations less than 500, I suppose) near their home. It was all very sweet and the pace was as slow as we liked. The crowds were in the malls at the city and we got the fresh air and cozy atmosphere. Both towns were decorated simply and in an old-fashioned manner.

The first town is an antiquing town. The main street has stores filled with antiques and craft shops. Sometimes we would start at the bakery with a pastry. And often we would warm up at a small coffee and tea shop about halfway through our shopping. There was a store with one floor devoted entirely to Christmas. That was mandatory to visit. Also a must stop shop was the Victorian shop—so small it could fit into my living room, but packed with delicate and beautiful ornaments, tantalizing scents and peaceful music. Every store was filled with holiday cheer and even though it was, technically, a retail environment it was just different and special.

The second town is filled with many Danish descendants. We would head first to the local craft fair. My mother worked with the public for a long time and knew so many people. She would take at least twice my time in getting through the stalls & booths because she would stop and talk to everyone she knew. And she knew everyone. Then we would go to several other shops, including the one in the windmill and finally straggle toward home. If we had any energy left we might stop at the town square in my parents’ hometown to visit three shops we were particularly fond of.

Then I would spend most of the weekend decorating her house. And there were lots of things that followed just because “that’s how we did things.”

Because this is our first holiday without my mother, and for a few reasons, this year isn’t going to be like that. Maybe some year in the future I will retrace our steps alone or with one of the children (none of whom seem to have inherited the “browsing gene”). Maybe I will find something nearer my home for the day after Thanksgiving.

Which brings me back to my search…for ways to bless our families during the holidays. Please join me and share your ways to make the holidays really holy days.

What was your “Black Friday” like today?


DebD said...

I dislike shopping so the lure of Black Friday is mute to me. Today is a quiet day. We're doing a little school and preparing for a family birthday party for my FIL who turned 97 last week. Sunday is my son's 18th birthday and I'm racking my brains trying to figure out what to get him still. Its so much harder the older they get.

DebD said...

Ooops - I hit the post button before I could say (((hugs))) to you Julie. I hope you have a peaceful day full of fond and happy memories.

Leah in Iowa said...

Oh, Julie ~ your idea of Black Friday is so much more appealing to me than what most of the world considers it. You couldn't pay me enough to shop today! Not no way, not no how!! =)

We had Thanksgiving with Gary's family yesterday at my SIL's house, and tomorrow I'll host my family at our house. So today I'm just putzing around here, fixing, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. LOVE IT!!

How was your Thanksgiving without your Mom this year? Hard, I'm sure! It was hard for Gary, too, without his Dad. There seemed to be a huge hole at the table. =( But I'm sure you have so many fun and wonderful memories to think back on and remember... Thanks for sharing this one!

Barbara H. said...

I love your version of black Friday. I haven't shopped on black Friday in years -- I just can't stand the crowds and crowdedness.

Though we didn't usually spend holidays together (we lived 1,000 miles away), I usually called my mom the evenings of holidays after everything had settled down and company had left. That was one of the hardest things to leave undone after she passed and one of the things I miss most.

I do think it would be neat some time to retrace your and your mom's steps one future black Friday. It would be too soon now, but some day you will be able to do it with maybe a few tears, but with more fond memories than sorrow.

kim said...

Hi Julie--

I have only shopped on Black Friday once in my life and only then because my husband really wanted to. Today has been VERY low key. I got up at 10:00 a.m. and read for a couple of hours--then I ate a little bit of leftovers, talked to my best friend on the phone for a while and then got online to blog after being off for 2 weeks.
My husband and oldest son and son-in-law are going to a friend's house to play in a hearts tournament and the two younger boys and I are going out somewhere to eat and then to my friend's house to watch White Christmas--(a yearly after Thanksgiving tradition)

I hope you were able to find joy in your Thanksgiving celebration and that the hole in your heart didn't manage to steal all your joy. I wrote on my blog about my parents and watching them age--it is thoughts are with you and I will be posting soon about some of our Christmas traditions.


Ann said...

((Hugs)) on your first Thanksgiving (and Black Friday) without your mom. Your BF tradition sounds wonderful to me, and I hope you do re-create it with your kids someday, if they ever get the browsing gene kicked on :)

We went to my in laws, since the family was all there and my daughter and I missed seeing them yesterday. Relaxing and low key :)

Irritable Mother said...

I agree. Your tradition with your mom sounds wonderful, and one worth re-visiting with your own kids some day.
I didn't shop at all Friday. I've done it before and actually enjoyed it (with my MIL) but not this time. I hadn't gotten ads to see what deals were being offered, and even with the browsing gene, BF is not for window shopping!

Renee's Ramblings said...

I avoid shopping on Black Friday like the plague. I did it once and hope to never have to repeat the experience- LOL! Pushing/shoving crowds and I don't get along.

I really liked your ideal and would definitely consider going to a small town and shopping there. It sounds so peaceful and fun!

Actually, I do most of the holiday gift shopping by July/August if I can and then I just get a few "special" gifts during the holiday season.

sheryl said...

What sweet memories/times to have shared with your mother! That would be about the only kind of black friday shopping I could handle...small town atmosphere with a slowed pace...and with someone special!
Thanks for sharing the memories and (((HUGS)) as you are surely missing your mom this year.

Sonya said...

We went to my mom's for Thanksgiving. She lives in West VA and is a retail manager. She was only off on Thanksgiving so we didn't get to do the black friday thing. I would love to do what you and your mom did. It sounds wonderful!