How will you experience joy today? How will you get your thrill on? How will you experience your excitement, your joie de vivre, your zest for life?
'Tis the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, which, with Black Friday now behind us, marks the true beginning of the season of joy. Sure, you're reading "Budget Vogue," but is that enough joy for the day? If you're like me, you'll want more: more fun, more pleasure, more joy.
So, why not go to a parade? There are myriad joyful, budget-friendly joys this season, and parades are definitely among the best bangs for your buck.
I'm partial to today's Dover Holiday Parade because, well, I'll be marching alongside my cherubs from St. Mary Academy's Student Council and because I love the parade's theme: "A Christmas Wish."
Am I unabashedly promoting my town's holiday event? You bet. But, I'm also encouraging the thrill of parades in general. They simply are wonderful, wonderful events - wonderful celebrations of community, wonderfully budget-friendly outings.
Among the featured attractions in the parade - which is presented by St. Mary Academy and St. Thomas Aquinas High School - the SMA Student Council will be performing the Running of the Bull with Santador the Matador. Years ago, I purchased a bull costume on eBay and have found it one of my greatest and most useful winning bids ever. My colleague and friend Blake McGurty will don the bull costume and perform a daringly amazing array of runs on Santa, who in our group is played by the ever enthusiastic Nick - yes, that's his real name - of Student Council fame. (Spoiler alert: Santador always will reign successful over the bull.)
My other Student Council cherubs will be wearing white T-shirts, red bandanas and sashes, and, of course, Santa hats. Yes, it's a Pamplona-meets-Dover-meets-North Pole kind of event.
And what is our Christmas wish? That no one gets gored or gashed by the bull. And that we all leave Central Avenue with feelings of joy and fun and the spirit of love that is this holiday season. And that we bring some happiness and laughter to our little town.
Parades collect all that is joyful in a community - cheerleaders, bands, American Heritage Girls, Boy Scouts, veterans and other heroes, such as Santa and the Red Sox. They give us a reason to turn off the screens and head out to the streets - into the crisp air, where there is no volume button to turn down, no battery to charge, no pop-ups distracting from the main attraction.
My friend Butch helped make the cocoa for today's event. His church gives out more than a thousand free cups of hot chocolate, and, according to Butch, "If you ever want to see someone's face light up, give them a free cup of cocoa during a parade."
That, dear Budget Vogue readers, is definite joy.
So, as we're inundated with ads assuring us that the only joy we'll find this season is in a new tablet, smartphone or toy, let's remember that simple cup of cocoa, that happy place that is a parade, that enthusiasm captured by a community of people, old and young, rich and poor, crazy and sane, all out for the same goals: to partake in the joy, to avoid getting gored by a bull, to cheer on an 11-year-old Santador.
See you at 2:45 this afternoon in Dover. Be sure to wave.
Susan Dromey-Heeter's Budget Vogue column is published the first week of every month in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.