It time again for a great American past time, although it might be a past time in other places as well, sadly I have not spend the holidays in another country… yet. The past time is of course the frenzy of holiday home decorating. This tradition usually begins the day after Thanksgiving, unless you are a department store… then you usually start holiday decorating the week before Halloween.
But when it comes to decorating the house, Black Friday is usually the day. Maybe that is why all those crazy ass sales happen so early in the morning. That way people can get their shopping done early, then go home and take a nap before putting up the tree up in the house and putting lights up the outside the house. It’s a good theory anyway.
This may come as a bit of a shocker, but I am not of the decorating disposition. Some may say this is because I’m a man. Others might suggest that it’s because I have no children. Then there are a few that might hint that I am a nihilist, which if that were the case, would mean that I’d be too exhausted to put up lights in the first place. And then there is this one guy that would probably tell you I am a bit of a humbug and wouldn’t know quality jewelry even if it fell off a truck and was sold to me at a discounted price, which is probably true, the quality bit not the humbug bit.
In my defense, that guy is a jerk and you shouldn’t believe a word he says. He is always trying to sell me cheap imitation jewelry on a street corner downtown. Every time I tell him no and question the quality of his product, he makes snide exclamations about my character and suggests to anyone else standing around that my parents were never married… which they were… eventually… ok fine, they’ve always been married.
Truth is I just don’t care… ok so maybe the nihilist thing is a little accurate. But the main thing is that out of all of the activities that I could do around the holiday season, or any season for that matter, putting up a bunch of lights on the outside of my house, when I don’t even have a ladder, is one that doesn’t even make it on my list of things to do. And yes, even if I had a ladder I’d choose to do something else anyway.
I mean sure, putting up decorations in the house does add some warmth and festiveness to ones home, unless it’s Halloween, then it just adds a spooky “bugger off” feel. I mean I do have fond childhood memories of the scent of evergreens filling my house after we put up a real tree. And I do like the idea of have living vegetation in the home, even if I’m not very consistent with watering them.
Also, if you have a cat, putting up a tree is always worthwhile, mainly because of the “ahh” sounds you’ll make when you find it asleep under the tree nestled in with the presents, and maybe sometimes resting on the lower branches. But, ultimately I’m talking about the hours of entertainment you’ll get from watching the little fur ball attack the hanging ornaments and watching your mom trying to attack the cat while it attacks the tree.
I do appreciate it when others take the time to put up something worthwhile to share with their neighbors. Some neighbors make the lighting of the house a staple for community holiday spirit, where people from all over town will go for the sole purpose of driving around that neighborhood to look at all the lights.
I’ll admit though, that one of the first things I think of when I see a ridiculous amount of lights up is what a waste of energy. I want to tell the owners to skip putting up any lights at all and use the money they’d save to feed the homeless or something like that. But… after years of griping about them I think I am starting to get it. Holiday lights on houses are not about wasting energy, or increasing ones carbon foot print. I think it’s about the feelings they inspire.
Yes there are people, like me, that may grumble about them. Then there are people that will be downright angry and militant about them, but most people are going to receive joy from them. When we look at something the makes us happy, it warms us up from the inside. The huge tree placed in Times Square brings joy to millions of people every year when it lights up, and honestly, I really don’t see that as a waste.
Besides, regardless of your feeling about holiday lights, every once in a while you’ll find yourself a witness to a home, scattered with a collection of holiday lights that is going to make you smile. My pumpkin picture friend sent me this picture the other day and I feel it captures exactly what I’m talking about… the caption read:
“Once again, I was disqualified from my neighborhoods “Best Decorated House” contest due to my bad attitude!”
Try as I might, it is impossible for me to look at this and not feel anything but happiness.