We were invited to a holiday party tonight at the best decorated house in the neighborhood. That may sound like some kind of boast, but really, I think no one in our little rectangle of streets and cul-de-sacs would dispute the title. For Halloween they fill their large corner yard with ghoulish displays, and for Christmas the lights cover every inch of the property.
It's the first time we've been inside, though, and what a revelation -- Archer announced after his whirlwind tour that there were twenty-six trees of all shapes and sizes. Skinny hallway trees, full-sized color-themed trees, tabletop trees, even a rotating tree. And in between the trees were garlands, lighted villages (at least three huge sets), Santas, snowmen, trains, carolers, twinkles and merries on every available surface, horizontal or vertical.
The kids adored the spectacle and would have stayed for hours searching for the Christmas pickle and peanut our hosts told us were on one of the trees. The warmth and wonder of that house, inside and out, reminded me of a lifetime of decorating for Christmas. I can't imagine spending a tenth as much time or effort as the family that lives there, but I do remember well what it meant to my parents and their parents to pull down the Christmas boxes from the attic every year and lovingly place each element yet again.
My favorite Christmas decoration from my childhood was probably a white ceramic tree, about a foot tall, equipped with an incandescent light bulb inside. When we visited our paternal grandparents for the holidays, I always looked forward to the job of putting colored transparent pegs in the holes and watching them light up. Something about adding light to a Christmas decoration made it magical for me; I felt the same way about a set of ceramic carolers my mother had, who gathered around a lamp post with a soft white nightlight bulb shedding light on the scene.
What was your favorite holiday decoration as a kid?