Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday - Old Memories

Traditionally in the US, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. The term originated as this was the day that retailers turned their red ink or losses during the year into the black profit margins.

When we lived in CA, this was our tradition. We headed out early in the morning and drove to a gigantic Christmas Fair in the foothills of Sonora. Entry was $3, but if you brought a can of food for the homeless shelters, you only had to pay $2. 

After spending hours at that fair making sure we covered every single merchant, we drove on to historic Jamestown, a former gold rush town. Jamestown combines history with holiday making it magical at Christmas time. Depending on our time, we may or may not have stopped at Columbia, another gold rush era historic village. 

On the way home, we stopped at an uneventful strip mall, because they had a wonderful, non-chain bookstore. I was not looking for books per se, but they had wonderful bookends that were never in other stores. They also had an unusual array of gift items. We did our best to make it a Black Friday.

Living in Budapest, the only way we could supplement the day is to go to the Christmas Fair here. We trudged out into the cold black night at 5:15 pm just to visit the same old-same old. After ten years, you can map out each and every booth and vendor. Surprise! There were three new booths this year, throwing off the schematic for all of the rest. 

Even here, they opened the fair non-traditionally early, on November 19th. In years past, the first day of Advent found the booths uncovering their goods. It was packed with people, but the hot wine could have been the main attraction in the cold. 

Later this evening, we had our first snow. Earlier than years past, the snowflakes looked barely formed they were so diminutive. It stuck to car tops, but the streets are just wet. My hopes are for no more snow until after the 19th of December when we skip town.
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