Most of the trip we flew in pea soup. Thick clouds. Unable to see anything below us. Hell, I could barely see the wing right outside my window! It was a big storm and we were either just above it, or right in the middle. The flight was supposed to be two hours and from previous experience I knew that at this late stage I should be able to look down and see the lights of the city below. Nothing but gray.
It was a gradual descent toward our destination, but it seemed like suddenly we were in the clear. Below the clouds, we popped into the night. Now I could see the lights. We couldn’t have been more than six or seven hundred feet high. And what was the first thing I saw? A house decorated for Christmas. The roofline defined by white lights.
Driving from the airport to the house I saw many more houses decorated for the season. These houses however were lit up with lots and lots of colored lights. It seems that up North, back home, especially in urban areas, people use colored lights and blow up reindeer and tinsel to decorate for Christmas. Lots of color. Lots of fun and fantasy.
Part of the area I flew into is full of old, old historic buildings made of stone and brick. These places look good with simple white lights. A candle lit in each window perhaps. That’s what my parents do in their stone farmhouse. My sister, on the other hand, creates a fantastic exploration into the depths of color and plastic at her suburban split level. Two extremes perhaps. But each scheme fits its location.
My house, the one I’ve been in for the past sixteen years, has evolved over time. When we first moved in white lights were all the rage. It would have been socially unacceptable to decorate with any other color. We put a candle in each window and white icicle lights along the lower roofline. It fit right in with the neighbors.
It didn’t take me long to get bored with that but my wife insisted. “The neighbors already don’t know what to think of you, don’t make it worse,” she would say. After a few years I slipped in some red and green rope lights on the columns of the front porch. Then some strings of colored lights in the shrubbery up front. Then into one of the trees. Next it was colored lights along the roofline. And the rail of the deck in the back of the house. Without any complaints from the neighbors I had transformed it into a magical world of colors!
My wife likes to keep a Christmas tree in the front window. All white. You know, so the neighbors will be happy. I don’t know what the big deal was because every year, ever since we’ve been married, we have had a Christmas tree in the family room smothered in colored lights and all manner of decorations that mean something to our family. The colored lights reflect my personality. And that of my family. Fond memories of Christmases past, and of those to come. Next year it’s gonna be spectacular. Just wait and see!
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?