I have never been a Day-After-Thanksgiving shopper. My aversion to this particular event started decades ago when my sister worked in retail and related tales of what it was like from her perspective.
I’ve had friends who make “Black Friday” an all-day, all-out annual event! Searching for parking spaces, shopping, doing lunch, followed by more shopping, walking and lugging of bags. Me? I’m perfectly content to stay home. Besides, I had a head start, remember? (See “Halloween – Best Christmas Shopping Day Ever” – October 29). So, the last thing on my mind Friday morning, was venturing out in public. Anywhere. And I could hardly believe it when Hero, who is not a crowd person either, mumbled over his wake-up coffee about going out to find a Christmas tree. (Artificial, mind you…the story of how we made the switch from real to fake is best saved for another day.)
I wasn’t convinced we needed a different tree. This didn’t make much sense to Hero, since I was totally ready for a tree update two years ago. It was thirteen years old, then, and looked more than a bit lame. We’d put it in our garage sale that summer, but it never sold. So, you know what we did? We put it up again the following Christmas. But it looked awful. That would be its last vigil in our living room, I purposed.
[I need to explain that in our family, tradition has it that Hero puts up the tree and strings the lights. That’s his part – which I greatly appreciate – the rest of the tree decorating is up to the remainder of the family.[
So, back to our sorry-looking tree: After Hero loaded it with lights, I camouflaged it with every decoration in our vast collection – vintage glass balls from our own childhoods; oh-so-precious felt, clay and popsickle stick ornaments, constructed by our sons in elementary school, including a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green ball with purple felt mask (so ’80s); glittering garland inherited from parents…you name it, we put it on the tree. My goal was to load those flat and shapeless branches, and fill in every bare spot, providing a veritable mountain of distracting eye candy. It sorta worked.
That was the Christmas of 2006. Summer of ’07, we again put our tree in a garage sale. It didn’t sell. We took it to Goodwill. They wouldn’t take it, either. So, you know what we did? We put it up last year, too.
But this time there was a glorious transformation. It looked beautiful! And I could not understand why. After a bit of probing on my part, Hero finally admitted that he’d grown tired of assembling it branch by branch. And I thought, “It looked ugly last year because he didn’t feel like taking the time to fluff and shape the branches?”
Yep. After seeing his dad’s two-section, easy assembly, complete-with-lights tree, Hero was disillusioned with our ancient fake fir.
Which brings us to the holiday season of 2008, and this past Friday’s conversation over morning coffee. Why would we need a new tree when I saw from last Christmas how gorgeous our by-now-vintage tree could look?
The answer in a word – Mercy. I needed to extend it to Hero. In all those years of tediously assembling our Christmas tree, not once did I hear him complain. Nor did he grumble when he disassembled it. He did that for fifteen years! Didn’t he deserve for me to get beyond my thrift mentality and cut him some slack if he wanted to get a more convenient tree? He said none of this; I had to figure it out for myself. And, I finally got it.
In minutes, I was dressed, grabbed my purse, was out the door and into my sweet hubby’s pick-up, for my first taste of Day-After-Thanksgiving shopping.
P.S. All photos are of assembly of this year’s tree – our new, updated model.
And, they lived happily ever after.