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Friday 17 September |

Our Black Friday tradition

Simcha Fisher - published on 11/22/13

Hey, I don’t think it’s immoral to shop on the day after Thanksgiving, or even on Thanksgiving itself.  It’s depressing that so many people do it, but Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, so.  (Yes, I know that the first Thanksgiving feasts in the New World were to thank God. I just mean that it’s not a feast day or a holy day.)  Buying a nice present for someone you care about doesn’t mean you’re some kind of hardened consumerist swine.  Some people don’t have lovely family or happy associations with Thanksgiving day, so they’d just as soon be shopping — or working and making time-and-a-half.

That being said, I have never had any desire to shop on Black Friday or on Thanksgiving.

We just have a nice meal on Thanksgiving, and lately have started a new tradition on Friday:  we make Jesse Tree ornaments.  I know Advent is preparation time, but if we don’t prepare for preparation, nothing gets done.  Since we stopped homeschooling, it’s very hard to find time to do family activities; and yet somehow, when we have a day off school for whatever reason, we often end up just lying around playing on the Wii and eating cereal.  So, yay, a tradition!

There are any number of Jesse Tree readings and ornament patterns available online.  What we do is find one that has a reading for each day, assign a symbol to each one, and then the kids divvy them up.  Then I go to the “craft area,” which is a hideous jumble of felt, pom poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glitter, beads, etc., and just dump everything in the middle of the table . . . and the kids get to it.  Big kids make elaborate figurines, little kids make sticky bundles of junk.  No judging!   Anything goes, as long as you can hang it.  The purpose is not to have an artistic finished product, it’s to have a nice time making it together, and to help us move into Advent mode.  (And if any Jesse Tree ornaments come out especially nice, they get saved as permanent Christmas ornaments.)  Oh, and pro tip:  foam meat trays are versatile.

Then we put everything in a box, and when Advent comes, we take turns reading that day’s reading, and whoever made the day’s ornament gets to hang it up. One year, I cut a branch off an evergreen tree and stuck it in a pot full of rocks in the living room.  One year, we hung the the ornaments from the ceiling in a line, leading up to where the Christmas tree would be.  One year, very short on room, I cut a bare tree branch and bolted that to the wall.  It has that gloriously weird, almost-festive Catholic look that unmistakably says, “SOMETHING is going on, but it ain’t Christmas yet!”

What about you?  Do you have any traditions for the day after Thanksgiving?

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