Opinion Photo

How was your Black Friday? 

If you were one of the brave souls who headed out to shop, I hope you survived the ordeal. It may be the season of giving, but the spending happens first. So many presents to buy and so little money.

Hmm, what are we to do? Evidently keep shopping, because the average American will spend about $1,000 on Christmas presents this year! Guess inflation will not deflate us!

Hey, the approaching holidays don’t have to be so stressful! We should be happy to give — and receive — a basket of homemade cookies. Well, that’s if we baked cookies. Actually, I do bake cookies, but with a husband and many grandkids who like my cookies, there will never be any hope of me giving a basket to anyone. 

My grandmother used to bake fruitcakes and give them to family and friends. A proper English woman, plus a teetotaler, she put enough rum in those cakes to get a family of four tipsy. One bite of grandma’s cake, which was hard as a brick, and it could make your head spin. I recently read that a fruitcake — one that is well fermented — can last in a tin for more than 40 years and still be edible. For the gift that might last a lifetime, perhaps I’ll start my own little tradition of baking fruitcakes. Oh, if you get one from me, please don’t eat and drive.

So, back to shopping. Sometimes Black Friday enhances bad behavior. A woman in Scottsdale was arrested for going to a crowded mall with a large pin. Evidently, she was jabbing other shoppers in a department store with a 2-inch hatpin when she wanted them to move out of her way. People were screaming in pain, running for their lives. Yikes! Hopefully, that outrageous behavior will never happen in our little corner of the world.

Getting past the shopping, the season of magic is here. There is so much more to the holidays than simply packages under a tree. 

Of course, those packages do matter, especially if you have children or grandkids who are busy making their wish lists. I used to get little handwritten requests from the grandboys with items like, “truck, ball, power ranger” scrawled on festive note paper. Now I get a text that says things like, “camping, fishing or biking gear.” I used to love getting their lists. Now I just run (with my wallet) and hide when I see their texts.

Dear readers, shop wisely and calmly. Bake a fruitcake. Perhaps I will dig up my grandmother’s recipe and rekindle an old tradition. Like my grandma, I’ll taste test everything (a few times) before I mix in the ingredients. Only the best for my friends! So, if you get a little loaf, wrapped carefully in brown paper, please do not confuse this heavy object with a brick, although it could be used as a doorstop. I promise, just one little bite and you’ll discover the “happy” in holidays.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.