The December Dilemma

Yesterday evening I took a walk around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights on houses, Santas in front yards, and wreaths on front doors. Except there weren’t any. I asked myself if I had the right month. I checked my phone. Yep, I did. What happened to my neighbors? Then it hit me. Most of the neighbors that traditionally went wild with their lights and front lawn decorations have fled the area for warmer pastures. I miss them. They had a spirit of Christmas I didn’t so I lived on their enthusiasm. They brightened up the neighborhood and made us smile. We were proud people who basked in their twinkling lights. We could count on them every year. Now they were gone and took the spirit of Christmas with them. Santa’s sleigh and reindeer are now flying high over sand dunes. And no, I’m not going to take over the tradition. You’re lucky if I have a bow on my front door. Inside the house is another matter. I enjoy displaying  several trees in the living room, lights over the mantelpiece, and Christmas cards on a table.

So I gave up on Christmas decorations, and settled for the natural growth around the neighborhood. Here are some pictures.

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Calvin says, “Yeah, I miss those midnight walks. I tingled with excitement.” beagle

Lights – Action – Trees

It’s the season for Christmas trees. The current culture insists on doing away with anything religious, but I’ve noticed the trees remain. It think it’s because when you see one you immediately think presents. And then you remember your list and have an anxiety attack, which sends you hustling to the mall. Christmas trees are the brain’s signal to get you shopping. If you saw one in February, you wouldn’t react at all.fullsizerender-15

I see several this time of year. They sit proudly in office lobbies winking their lights and strutting their bows for all who walk by and take a second look inside.

The one with the red bow is in the building that houses Uber and Square. Very traditional in its color scheme for two companies that have broken all the rules of transportation and commercial transactions.

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The one with the flowers is one I decorated for our office. Who says you have to stay within boundaries? And the one with all the gold and silver dripping from its branches is found in the Twitter lobby.

Calvin says, “Oh the fuss of it all.  Just toss me a bone with a bow on it. It’s the only day in the year when you’ll give me one, I don’t know why, but you do, so let’s have it.” beagle

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Lights! Action!

Thanksgiving is done.

Now it’s onto Christmas.

I hate the shopping, but love the trees and lights.

I would much rather spend Christmas Eve walking my neighborhood looking at the light displays. You know, the overstuffed Santa, the flashing Rudolph, the twinkling rooftop sleigh.  Christmas4

I especially love it when an entire neighborhood pulls out all the stops and goes mad with their decor, each neighbor outdoing the next. We knew the holiday had begun when Ernie, our neighbor at the end of the street, came out in his overalls and climbed a ladder. Within a few hours his house was a show stopper. Every leaf, shrub, climbing vine, and even his porch was ablaze with twinkling lights. At that was just the beginning. Then he pulled out his assorted reindeer, different size stars, and multicolored lights for the roof and the trees for the front of the house. By the time he finished, and it took him all day with the help of many of us, we stood back waiting as he dashed inside the garage and flipped a switch. In an instant his home was transformed into a winter marvel. We applauded.

One year, inspired by Ernie, my children decorated the hedges with a zillion flashing lights. The driveway looked like an airport landing strip at night.

My neighbors across the street, new to this country, want to make sure they’re embracing the holiday correctly. Icicle lights hang all around the roof, a Christmas tree blinks through their living room window, the front door wreath plays Frosty the Snowman, and poinsettias line the driveway. Oh and their yellow lab wears a red collar with jingle bells.

New to the Christian season this year were several hundred Ferguson protesters that attempted to prevent the tree lighting in downtown San Francisco last Friday night. Fortunately for the tourists and locals in town for Black Friday shopping, the police held them back and the ceremony went off without a hitch. But let me tell you it was tense for a while. The box stores were holding their collective breath hoping beyond hope that nothing would interrupt the shoppers’ hypnotic frenzy for the best deals.

It was raining this morning when I came in on the train. My water streaked window distorted the red, yellow and green from the traffic lights creating a Pollock-like painting in holiday colors.

My first gift of the season.

Calvin says, “Aren’t you waxing poetic today. The only streak I saw was a white-tailed rabbit disappearing down a mud hole.” beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Material Girl

It’s countdown to Christmas. Yes, I’m using the word Christmas.

The stores are twinkling with lights.

The bell ringers are waving. Ringing is against the law now.

That was one of the sounds of Christmas that just departed. photo(161)

The beggars are begging, the singers are singing, and the fiddlers are fiddling.

I wonder what they’ll outlaw next.

But the shoppers aren’t shopping. They’re just looking. And buying online.

That’s what I did this year.

It made it so much simpler. But boring.

I go into overdrive when pushing into a mob of women to get to the cosmetic counter.  Or ripping a pair of shoes out of another woman’s hands and buying them. The word glee comes to mind.

Let’s not forget the parking lot assaults for a parking space. That’s all out war.

And the juggling of bags, boxes and purses draped from your arms and shoulders that make you look like a shopping cart without wheels.

It’s the sights and sounds of Christmas.

It’s the festive delights of materialism.

Don’t go shopping without it.

Calvin says, “Christmas shopping. Just the thought makes me want to snarl my teeth and bite a Santa leg.” beagle