By Richard Mundy
For Hometown News
Naomi Bentley, a teacher at Longstreet Elementary School in Daytona Beach for more than 39 years, answered the "Are you ready" question with, "Well, I'm prepared but not ready.
"Usually shopping is not my thing, but I'm ready for the celebration of the meaning of the day," Ms. Bentley said.
She usually goes in for gift certificates to meet her gifting needs. "They can't take them back," she said.
As for "Black Friday" shopping for Ms. Bentley, "That's too early and too many people." Her main shopping tradition is to do something "with the kids. I'll take them (shopping) and they choose what they want, but because my husband is ill I didn't do that (this year)."
As for traditions, her church has services and she puts up a tree and does some minor decorating outside, but not a lot. She doesn't like the "taking down."
"The family gets together and we have our Christmas dinner at one of the houses," Ms. Bentley said.
Whoever is in town just comes by and the number gets larger and larger, she said. It was more like an all-day feast. Christmas day is for opening presents, usually in the evening of Christmas Day, after everyone has eaten -- a tradition carried down since she was a child.
Margi Richard of Ponce Inlet said "No," she is not ready for Christmas, although she said, "I have about half my shopping done and it has to be shipped to parts elsewhere. But I have my Disney reservations for the family, so that's cool."
While she didn't take advantage of Black Friday sales, she said she's "a small business Saturday person." She also did quite a bit of shopping online, explaining a "bad knee" makes that necessary.
"We have already decorated the outside, but we did not do any inside decorations, yet."
Her tree, although not put up yet, is in her possession (and not real) and she has yet to buy a real wreath to put up for the Christmas aroma it gives off.
Jill Warren of South Daytona noted, "Yes, oh my gosh, it's close!"
As for being ready for Christmas, she said, "Not even close (to being ready)."
"I've bought one gift and probably have 10 more to buy," Ms. Warren said. "I have no Christmas tree up and no decorating done."
So what is she waiting on?
"I'll work 'til sundown and then for the concert to be over ... then I get to decorate and buy presents."
She is an accountant for International Speedway Corp. The "concert" she mentioned was the final Christmas concert performed by the Daytona Beach Choral Society, of which she is vice-president.
She did buy one item on-line for "next to nothing."
"I did shop small businesses, but just not for Christmas, yet," she said.
"Then I have to start getting food ready, as we get closer to Christmas," Ms. Warren said.
A long-standing tradition that her family has always followed is each gets to choose one gift under the tree and open it Christmas Eve. "We always have a Christmas meal that's like a late breakfast or an early lunch."
Ms. Warren has a great Christmas memory, too.
"The best Christmas memory I have ever had was when my father, (I was a child) walked a horse up to the house as a present. He came to the door and handed me the rope that was on the horse. And that was the coolest Christmas ... ever."
She was not expecting it and it was not a "family" horse but her horse alone, Ms. Warren said. "The rest of the day ... one of my friends got on it and it took off with her and they found her five miles away, and they found the horse almost 15 miles away. It was on its way back to the barn it was bought from. Thankfully no one was hurt, because it was right down Volusia Avenue."