When we lived out in the boonies, we never put decorations on the outside of our house during the holidays. What would be the point? We lived on a remote, dead-end street. Barely anyone would’ve ever seen it other than us. So we never bothered.
Halloween was our first holiday in the suburbs, and our first experience seeing just how nuts the people around here go with their decorations. I was a little embarassed that we didn’t do anything. Well, ok, I put a pumpkin on the front stoop as sort of an autumn-type decoration, but I didn’t carve it or even draw on a jack o’lantern face with a Sharpie, because I suck horribly at all things that require even a teeny-tiny bit of artistic talent.
So, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re going to have to step things up quite a bit for Christmas. A couple of our neighbors have informed me that everyone puts their Christmas lights up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Um, ok? Seems a bit ridiculous to me since it’s going to be up for a month, but sure, whatever.
To be honest, I’m a little excited at the idea of getting the outside of the house all spiffed up for Christmas, because my parents never did that. My mom would hang up a wreath on the front door, and since our front porch had white columns on it, she’d take a wide red ribbon and spiral it up the columns to make them look like candy canes. But we never had lights outside or anything. I’d really like to get in the habit of decorating the house for Christmas, I think Cate will really get into it as she gets older.
Today, Cate and I met up with Cat, Tony, e-baby, and Tony’s sister Diana to do a little pre-Christmas shopping. We hit a couple of stores to check out their selection of Christmas decorations. I didn’t buy anything today, I was just trying to get some ideas. Lowe’s hardware store has some great stuff – Cate and e-baby both loved all of the animatronic dancing, singing toys – but let’s get real, I’m not going to drop $200 on a giant inflatable Santa and stable (with a stall for each reindeer, labeled Donner, Blitzen, etc.). We also went to Big Lots (or as Cat calls it, Poverty Barn), and they had tons of stuff, which was pretty cheap, so I’ll probably end up heading back there to pick up some stuff. And I noticed that the dollar store near our house has Christmas decorations, so I think I’ll definitely be able to find sufficient supplies for the house that won’t hurt our bank account too much. I haven’t decided how extensive we’re going to get with the decor, though. I’ll have to balance my ambition with my hatred of working in the yard when it’s cold outside.
What about y’all? Anyone else go crazy with Christmas decorations, do you boycott them altogether, or do you find a happy medium?
We all put our decorations up Thanksgiving weekend. Of course, we’re in Chicago, so sometimes the outside decorations don’t come down until the weather is warmer. We all stop turning on our outside lights sometime in January, but that doesn’t mean we always take them down.
I saw a house with Christmas lights on it already. I couldn’t believe it.
Honestly I love it when neighborhoods coordinate displays. It’s so cute!
Yeah some of those inflatable displays are pricey! I wonder how they hold up from year to year.
Shari: I totally get that. I lived in Wisconsin for a year, Chicago is one of the coldest cities I’ve ever visited. If I lived there, I’d probably leave my decorations up year-round just so I wouldn’t have to go out in the cold to put them up or take them down.
Linda: one of our neighbors put white twinkly lights in their shrubs, which I thought was insanely-early Christmas decor, but it was apparently leftover from Halloween. I don’t know why, I guess it was part of some elaborate design.
I’ve always been a fan of putting up decorations over Thanksgiving, too. In my mind, the Macy’s parade is the official beginning of the Christmas season, rather than the first candle on the Advent wreath. But that gives you more than a month: Christmas doesn’t officially end until Epiphany on January 6 and not a single light icicle should be removed until then!
We always do a gaudy Christmas display. We have Santa’s sleigh pulled by his eight tiny flamingos (when you’re from the deep South, reindeer don’t deliver) and the lights have to be brightly colored. New Orleans tradition is tacky and colorful with the Christmas decorations, and this has emigrated with me.
Tony’s maternal grandparents firmly believed in TWELVE DAYS of Christmas. The tree went up on Christmas eve night, and came down on Epiphany. To me, it hardly seems worth the effort for less than 2 weeks’ enjoyment.
We travel over the holidays so we have always gone a little on the lite side. This year we plan to put up our tree and probably some lights on the house but you know we live in the boonies so its not a big deal to go either way. We will decide how long to keep everything up depending on how Miss C reacts to it. I do have to invest in some new, non-breakable Christmas ornaments. We didn’t have Christmas when I was growing up (Jewish) but we do celebrate both for Miss C so we will have the Menorah as well as a tree. Miss C also gets another Christmas with her extended family over New Years since that is when we will travel to visit. So, that’s us! LOL 🙂
Cat: I cannot wait to see the sleigh-pulling flamingos.
Lizard: since we were traveling last year at Christmas, we didn’t even bother putting up a tree. Total laziness.
Btw, Big Lots and Lowe’s both had boxes of plastic, shatter-proof ornaments, which I’ll be investing in this year too.
This year we’re finally breaking out some decorations. We’re not home for Christmas itself because we’ll be in Florida, but we will have a housesitter. We’ll have up a menorah for Hanukkah and we’ll be home for that; then I’ll put up decorations for Christmas. Question is, how do you keep the cats from eating a tree, fake or not?
Cara- I think you just give up, attach nosegays of catnip to the tree, and watch the good times roll! They need their holiday treats too, right?
(just kidding, but the visual of stoned cats with lopsided Santa hats on was just too fun to pass up)