December: Christmas thoughts 2

When is the ‘right time’ to put up your Christmas Decorations?
Our neighbour in Lincolnshire had a fetish for twinkly lights and these would go up in abundance and breeding numbers every year. The result was just a tacky blaze of mismatched colour, and we felt it was totally unnecessary to have a tree in every window that faced the road.
Saying that though, some of the houses decorated with festive scenes on their outside walls were wonderful, many done for charity each year, and one particular terrace of properties had a complete highway of Santas and sleighs pulled by endless flashing reindeer.

reindeer-lightsThis sort of thing was only done for professional displays when I was a kid, and Santa’s Grottos were a work of art, inventive intrigue, and exceptional good planning!
Sadly I find that lacking today, replacing grottos with grotties consisting of a series of papered screens hiding the throne upon which sits a slightly bored Santa.

I remember taking Partner’s sons to a Grotto in one of the large department stores in Bristol. After queuing for almost an hour, I got to pay my £5 per child (this was in the 1980s as I wanted them to have a gift and photograph) for them to be plonked on the lap of a skinny Santa in a terrible suit and sporting a ludicrous beard. The boys looked terrified, and their choice of gift was either a set of marbles or a cap gun. The photograph was one of the pair of them, not individually, done on a cheap Polaroid camera with lousy colour and quality film.
car sleighNow years before I’d even met the guy, I remember a magical grotto where an entire shopping mall was decorated to suggest corridors and tunnels leading up to Santa’s house. The stable windows exhibited animated puppetry of reindeer and everywhere something moved somewhere that would catch your eye from festive mice to elves, penguins and polar bears. Who cared about geography!

Christmas decorations in the parental home went up a week or so before The Big Day, and us kids got to decorate the tree (under supervision of course). True to form, lights that worked when put away always failed, but that was all part of the tradition!
We’d cut out varying widths of crepe paper in different colours and overlapping the lengths, stitch them together ‘frilling the edges’ (they would be twisted when hung), or make box chains by running two colours at 90º to each other. Dad would line a wire coat hanger with crepe paper and tie a red candle in the centre to put in the window (the candle was never lit of course). We’d add holly and mistletoe for extra trimming, hanging a piece of the latter at the bottom of the stairs.
In later years, I’d also decorate my bedroom, which looked so sad, empty and forlorn when I took them all down, so I’d always change the furniture round at the same time as part of my early spring cleaning!

A Little Christmas Haiku
christmas treeGather round the tree,
Bathe in sparkly lights that glow
On faces watching.


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and have a terrible sweet tooth. Best friends are Hubby, our dog Maggie, Bro in NZ, MSM and MOH (and his dog). I am also a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! Due to a nightmare of a house sale in 2014, 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat until April 2017. We made strong friendships both on and off the water, and enjoyed swan and duck families for neighbours. Sadly times change and we were once again house hunting until September. We now reside in a small bungalow a short distance from the beach on the Lincolnshire coast.
This entry was posted in current events, diary, Memories, Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to December: Christmas thoughts 2

  1. colinandray says:

    I can remember, as a little boy, being taken with my older sister to a store where we boarded a “train”. Once we were in, it started “moving” and a few minutes later it stopped and we got out of the opposite door and straight into Santa’s home!

    In retrospect, it could be set up so easily today….. but the stores, like most of their customers, appear to have regressed to impersonal and self-serving! 😦

  2. This is something that is easier here – with Thanksgiving, there is a natural time to put up the Christmas decorations once that holiday is over. Not that it stops some people or stores from doing it earlier, but most people do seem to wait until the post-Thanksgiving days to put up the Christmas decorations.

    As for us, we’re still decked out for Thanksgiving, but we get the tree next weekend, so things will have to move on to Christmas before then!

  3. scifihammy says:

    A nice walk down memory lane 🙂 I also remember much better Santas and proper magical grottos.
    Over here I always feel so very sorry for the men dressed in Santa suits, in 30C! 🙂

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