This is the day I wait for all year. Most people call it Black Friday, but I call it the first day of Christmas.
On the first day of Christmas you are allowed to get up and get dressed and start wearing Christmas shirts instead of hiding Christmas socks. You get to sing Christmas carols out loud instead of just in your head.
If you are lucky you get to decorate, which is always best when done with family and friends.
My very favorite day of decorating was when two of my god kids came to give me a hand with my parents’ place.
My sweet girl, who now has a baby herself, stayed inside with Mom where she listened to the tales of the babies whose faces peak out through a tree surrounded by animated toys that were not really off limits at Gigi’s house.
Then there was that wonderfully rotten boy who just had to get on the roof. My heart still catches to think of it, not just because his dad would have my head knowing I permitted it, but from the passing of the torch and the tales.
There’s more than a few stories of people trying to help Grandpa put lights on roofs. He was the only one who didn’t mind heights while everyone else wrapped rope around themselves and inch-inch-inched their way to the edge of the roof where thousands upon thousands of lights dangled, each representing a prayer.
Yes, we were that house.
The neighbors had to wear sunglasses to sleep in, and once the inflatables arrived, everyone in the community learned sign language so they could be heard over the roar of the compressors that kept the traffic entertained as they drove by to see what all the commotion was.
Our neighbors loved us.
The stairs were a hazard because of the Christmas Bears that welcomed each footstep. Not a tabletop was bare for the Santas, angels and whimsical figurines from our favorite holiday shows.
Before Thanksgiving was even over, we were ready to start preparing the wonderland our homes became throughout Christmas.
We tried to be ready to decorate by Thanksgiving, so that we could enjoy not just the social gatherings that take place throughout the season, but the fruits of our labors before we are too tired to even sit in the silent dim of a lovingly decorated tree.
It takes a lot of work to get to that point.
Before the first Christmas box comes out, the entire house needs to be clean. That’s what I thought Thanksgiving was really for; it’s the party you have to make sure the house is clean enough to decorate for Christmas.
Furniture has been moved so the floors could be thoroughly swept. Baseboards and mouldings have been dusted because the clean windows will show every little detail.
That’s also why we scalded our hands in hot soapy water dipping all the knickknacks so they were also dust free, even the ones inside glass cabinets.
Every bit of glass was spotless including the chandelier that hung almost to the floor. When it was all done right, the house sparkled by Thanksgiving so that it would be perfect on this, the day after Thanksgiving.
Not every year was perfect by Black Friday, but Grandpa had a way of making it OK that he had started while Grandma was out shopping. Completing three houses also made it a challenge to keep to my schedule, just like this year’s schedule is going to be off.
I know this year is going to be very off. There’s no going back home for the holidays. There’s no Grandma to light up at the traditions I have continued, no Grandpa to shoot the ornaments off the tree.
Honestly I’ll feel fortunate to give the house a lick and a promise, much less a thorough cleaning, but even if I manage to do nothing more than get my Christmas socks out of storage, I know I’ll be fortunate.
Being able to have those memories, being able to share those memories means everything. Some people are no longer able to take joy in their recollections; others never had the chance to celebrate such moments.
That’s why it’s so important to embrace the now. We are about to embark on a season of flurries whether it be snow or just activity. There’s a high chance of getting caught up in the busyness, instead of appreciating the love that is raining down.
I invite you to enjoy the preparations whatever that may mean for you. Welcome the young people in your life to participate and share the stories that come with each tradition saved in those boxes that sit in storage all year waiting for today.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.