By Rick Ropelewski
One of my favorite family holiday traditions growing up was our family excursion the day after Thanksgiving. There was no Black Friday craziness with stores opening before you even had the Thanksgiving turkey on the table, and no big sales which had you lined up outside a store an hour (or more) before opening.
Everyone got bundled in multiple layers and went to downtown Hartford (I grew up in western Massachusetts not too far from Springfield). We’d walk around and check out the holiday lights and decorations with festive music playing in the background. Malls were just starting to dot the landscape so everyone was outside as they dashed between stores. At least for me the environment was more about the holiday and anticipation. It felt like a light switch being flipped, and from then until Christmas morning I was bouncing off the walls.
Those memories prompted me to establish a new tradition with my kids. I take each child on what we have coined “a special shopping day”. We cut out of school a little early (a major perk from their perspective), they shop for their sibling and mom, we have lunch out and then they get a little something for themselves as well. It’s been interesting to see how the tradition has evolved as the children have grown from toddlers to teenagers, and who knows what traditions they will create or adopt for themselves.