"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
~Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I've been thinking about some favorite Christmas books and some memorable quotes in them.
Who doesn't recognize Scrooge's "Bah Humbug" attitude about Christmas at the beginning of Dickens's tale? It's funny how Dr. Seuss's Grinch shares the same attitude in his own grinchly style with his heart "two sizes too small." Yet by the end of each story, they both love Christmas. Ebenezer is shown many things by Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, then vows to change his ways. I like to think he became quite lovable. Mr. Grinch did all he could to wreck Christmas for every "Who in Whoville." But when he saw that even after he stole all their presents, decorations, food for their feast, including the "roast beast," they were still joyful. He heard their voices singing, "Christmas Day will always be, just as long as we have we!" And then "the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! 'Maybe Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!'" And then "the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day." Both Scrooge and the Grinch found the true meaning of Christmas in their hearts.
For many Christmases my late mother-in-law recited T'was the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. In her last few Christmases, my husband has taken over by reading the story. This is the first Christmas without her, and he's already mentioned he doesn't think he'll be able to get through it. I've been thinking about a new tradition with this Christmas classic. We'll see how it goes to get us to "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
My husband has also read many different picture books about the birth of Jesus, but as the grand-kids got older, he began reading the account of Luke in the Bible. Last year the grand-kids read it aloud as a Readers' Theater I put together for them to surprise their parents. When reading or listening to Luke's Gospel, I often think about The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. I love how Gladys Herdman as the Angel of the Lord says the only speaking part in the whole pageant, "Hey! Unto you a child is born!"
These are just a few of my favorites, but enough for now. And as I began with Dickens, so I shall end in the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, everyone!"
"I miss the good old days when Black Friday was actually on Friday."
As I shared before, I do not do Black Friday. I will admit a couple times I did Black Friday, but not because I really wanted to go. Fifteen years ago, my daughter "needed" a particular gift. It had been a rough year for her, so we decided we'd do this. We got up before dawn, fought the crowds, bought it, and headed right back home. "Never again," I said. The real kicker came a couple weeks later when I saw the same item in the same store at the same price it was on Black Friday! Are you kidding me?
A few years before that, I was hanging out with friends on Black Friday. After dining out, somebody said, "Let's go shopping." What could I do? Fortunately, it was evening, and the eager morning shoppers were either gone or mellowed.
Admittedly I have enjoyed listening to amusing tales of a couple sisters, Beth and Laura, who have made a tradition to get started early on Black Friday. They love it, and share entertaining details of their retail conquests.
But this year I noticed as early as 2 p.m. on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, some retailers were open to start Black Friday sales. Really? And it seemed by the advertising I heard or read that Black Friday lasted through the whole weekend. Also, my jammed and overloaded email box had tons of notices extending Black Friday deals beyond the weekend into Cyber Monday. But of course, Cyber Monday has now morphed into...Cyber Week! Again, really?
What's next? Perhaps "Black November" and "Cyber December." Heaven forbid!
But back to Thanksgiving Day when the shopping frenzy seemed to begin. I couldn't help thinking about retail employees who worked rather than spend time with family and friends. Did they mind missing their traditional gatherings? I wondered if retail employers asked for volunteers. Or if employees were told, "You're working on Thanksgiving!" And do the employees who work on Thanksgiving get holiday pay, or overtime, or a bonus? Or is it just another day's work in their paychecks?
By contrast I read of a retail company who closed on Thanksgiving, and gave their employees Black Friday off, with pay. Bravo! I'm guessing the company has many happy campers.
The opinions in this post are strictly my own. Thanks for reading my thoughts. But I do wonder if anybody shares my sentiments.
P.S. By the way, I completed "The Gratitude Challenge" in November. (See 11/6/17 post) There were a couple times I got behind and had to catch up. But I am grateful for that 30 day journey intentionally focused on attitudes of gratitude.