By Mary Anna Violi | @MaryAnnaVioli
I have never understood the concept of Black Friday. From a business point of view, I get it: retail wants to make lots of money. From a consumer angle, however, I find it crass. The day after Thanksgiving should be a mellow day, basking in the after-glow of The Big Feast, possibly still with family and friends. Racing around with a carload of frenetic shoppers intent on being admitted first to big box stores for the available ten electronic items on sale, is absurd in itself. This resonates particularly well now that it appears retail is on sale year round.
While some people have told me, “It’s a bonding thing,” I fail to see how standing in long lines at some heinously early morning hour, clutching hot drinks, shivering in the Midwest cold, “bonds” one with family and friends. Making hot cocoa and a yummy coffee cake would make for more of a relaxing tradition. Engaging in spirited conversation about music such as Adele’s new 25 CD, and watching her on last week’s SNL would be fun. Another thought is to talk over a literary work, like Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, published in 1964, his “sketches” about his years as a struggling writer in Paris in the 1920’s, and how this book became France’s bestseller immediately following the massacre of 130 people in Paris on November 13, 2015.
Our newer family tradition is to put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Up until a few years ago, we had always gone Christmas tree shopping for a live one. Finally, I invested in a U.S. made artificial tree, and now we put it up early and decorate it. We pull out the garlands for the bannister and archways, hanging the big, red, poufy bows my sister-in-law helped me make. Next, we loop strings of lights and we commence to decorate the inside of the house. The Christmas china is brought down from the high cabinet shelves, as are the glasses. We play Christmas music and keep a look out that the cats do not gnaw on the garlands. Ironically, they used to attack live poinsettias and tree boughs. Having moved to fake flowers and trees, they indiscriminately manifest periodic interest in the faux décor. Later we make minestrone soup, bake a pecan or pumpkin pie with brandy, have a glass of wine, and watch a Christmas movie. After dining well on Thanksgiving Day and talking and laughing with our friends, the day after takes on an ambiance all its own in the pleasure of sharing hearth and home with one another. Shopping does not factor into the equation, yet to each his own, as my grandmother used to say, as the old lady kissed the cow.
Ciao for now.