One of my fondest memories of Christmas when I was a kid was Mom and Dad putting together the cardboard fireplace. It was about four feet tall and it had a red brick pattern printed on it and an orange light bulb that you plugged in and when it heated up it made a metal blade rotate causing the light to flicker. It was as close as we ever came to having a fireplace and I’d lay on the floor and just stare at the “flame” until Mom said it was bedtime. I remember our stockings were long beige socks that were part of one of Dad’s military uniforms. No fancy stocking, simple military socks and they were filled with hard candy, ribbon candy, chocolate Santa’s and oranges. And I remember listening to Sing Along with Mitch over, and over and over! I’m from the generation that grew up with Department Stores closed on Sunday’s and everything closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. We really didn’t mind because we had plenty to do at home, like play Mousetrap or join the neighbors for a good game of football. And we’d all gather for dinner and then sit side by side on the couch and watch one of the 4 TV channels we got.
This has all been on my mind the last couple weeks because of the incredible pressure everyone is under to leave the dinner table on Thanksgiving and head to the stores. And forget about doing anything at home Friday, that’s Black Friday and you have to shop all day for those great deals. And don’t forget Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. And when Christmas Day comes the #1 present will be gift cards, so everyone can head back to the Malls for more shopping the day after Christmas! Seems to me we’ve kind of lost our values while looking for values. We try to wedge in a Church service or family dinner in December so we can “Remember the reason for the season” but we’ll spend more time reading the ads than we will reading stories of the first Christmas.
I probably would be a club of one but I think it would be cool to call the second Saturday in December Family, Faith and Friends Saturday. Instead of rushing to the store we’d spend time together and enjoy one another’s company. We’d have dinner together, maybe go caroling with the neighbors and have hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. There wouldn’t be the pressure to shop because for this one day the gift would be each others company. And maybe before bed we could share a favorite story of faith. I know, that horse left the barn and you can’t go backwards. I have just reached the place in my life where I worry in our haste for everything being new and better we threw out things that were pretty good to begin with, and necessary to establish values that guided us. I heard today that 90 people were injured in Black Friday fights for bargains. What does that say about us?? I think it says Family, Faith and Friends Saturday might be more necessary than we think. And a sit in front of the old cardboard fireplace would do us all some good.