Decorating Christmas Gone Wild
There are some very special attractive features of the neighborhood that Wendy and I chose to buy a home to raise our children. The first is that the development basically consisted of all first generation home owners. The majority of the people were the original owners of the homes, just as the owner who sold us their house. Though we were not the first of the next generation to move here, a boom of home sales to new and young families was exploding. And just as the first generation of owners, a special area was developing with the second generation.
The other unique feature of our area, underground wiring. This meant no telephone or electric poles. It also meant that there were no street lamps which makes the neighborhood seemingly and unusually dark, especially during the winter. In the Fall of 2001, darkness gave way to light, in a bright way.
Halloween came and went that year, but as November approached, I told Wendy of my plans to take her decoration of Christmas to a whole new extreme. If Wendy had her way, our house would be decorated 365 days a year for Christmas. I will not go that far, but I was willing to take care of the outside so that she could concentrate on the many rooms inside of the house.
And so, on the weekend before Thanksgiving, I went to several stores and wiped out their supply of 300 light strands of lights. I had over a dozen bushes and shrubs, including a 25 foot holly tree, a porch, a cherry tree, and 30 feet of fence to light up. And there is no doubt once turning down onto our street, where our house was.
To top it off, a very special tradition happened every Christmas Eve in “Sugar Valley”. A luminary is a bag or plastic container with a candle or artificial light inside. Several luminaries are placed along a walkway or driveway as decoration. But when nearly and entire neighborhood does it, it is quite special. To be honest, it makes no difference that it is done on Christmas Even, it could be any particular night. But it is special when street after street is lit with these luminaries. I have never seen an aerial view of this sight, but it would have to be amazing. We are talking 300-400 homes.
Yes, then there is the inside of our house. But Wendy has a habit of reading my stories when something grabs her attention, or when a reader decides to bust on her for something I have written. But there is an entire story on “Mrs. Kringle” and her efforts to decorate the interior of the house. There are at least fifteen totes of lights and decorations. Normally, there will be a tree in every room of the house, a live one in our den, and two full artificial trees in the living room, and miniature trees in each of the bedrooms. She has tried to decorate the car, with electric candles, miniature trees that stuck to the window, or last year’s disaster, reindeer antlers and a big red puffy nose for the grill. The antlers met with a mutual and horrible end as they were not meant to withstand the air force of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (a fate suffered similarly by a set of bunny ears the following Easter).
We are no longer unique in our efforts to decorate. Most of our neighbors now put out lots of decorations and lights. And when it comes to extreme lighting, there are now homes that put the Griswald’s to shame. I do not have that same desire. I like the way that our house looks for the holiday. And I would love to use hundreds of thousands of lights and make a huge holiday donation to the electric company to the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra, but I am okay with our presentation.
Happy Holidays everyone!