I don't shop on Black Friday. Crowds make me crazy and I honestly don't like shopping all that much. Last year I did all our Christmas shopping online and at Target. And this year will probably be similar though I can't be sure because I haven't bought a single gift yet.
On Black Friday we took the Santa Express, a special subway line that takes Santa to the Gallery Mall for the official start of the Christmas shopping season. Then we march through the mall with a Mummers string band, dancing and caroling. Then we jet on over to the Reading Terminal holiday train display and then on to Macy's for the light show, Dickens Village and a hot date with Santa. It's a hectic way to spend a morning when we also host a leftover Potluck that evening -but I really value the tradition and hope to do it just this way for many years.
Noah is all too starstruck to smile when we sit with Santa, though he does realize he is not the one and only Santa. I like the magic of the Santa myth but I do my own version, explaining that there are armies of store Santas that report to the big North Pole Santa who makes all the deliveries on Christmas Eve. There are no Santa threats for behavior at my house, though we know that Santa does want us to be nice. And Santa only brings one or two special toys and fills our stocking, while Mama and Daddy buy a few extras.
After Noah asked Santa for a real monkey, a live penguin and the Hess truck, I was pleased when Santa explained to Noah that he can't really travel with live animals and that wild things don't make good pets. And then he said "I'm sure I will think of something special for you."
Ray already recognizes Santa - getting excited and signing for "more" when he sees them. Both boys really loved watching the Thanksgiving Day parade - Noah liking the floats and Ray delighting in the balloons.
We had two lovely Thanksgiving meals - a huge blowout for 27 at my Mom's place and a smaller family meal on Saturday with my Dad, Oma, my brother and his family. And our Potluck was fun this year - though noone ate. Everytime we have people over I debate with myself on whether to invite the families we're friends with or the old coworkers and drinking pals. This year it was a drinking crew that stayed later and got a bit more sloshed than the family bunch with which we normally spend time. But damn how I laughed. Since we don't get to go out to the bars anymore it is quite a relief when they come to us and we still have a good time. But damn did Noah have a hangover.