Lights up!

Time to put up the Christmas tree!, pic:

With Thanksgiving weekend almost over it is time to start the Christmas season in earnest.  Here in California (and other parts of the country as well) this is how it works:

if you haven’t bought a tree this weekend you are well advised to buy one during the week or next weekend at the latest.   Unlike in Germany, where the tree gets decorated on Christmas Eve and then remains in the house at least through January 6 (the Holy Kings Day) here the tree goes up right about now, fully decked out and decorated and gets taken down on or before New Years Eve.

In addition, the house gets decorated with colorful lights as well as the front yard, the trees, palms, and shrubs.  Lighted snowmen, Santas, reindeer are brought out and pretty soon the whole neighborhood looks very festive.  There is an element of wanting to outdo the neighbors with larger, nicer, more spectacular displays but it is a friendly competition.

First, I found the whole putting-up-the-tree so early business strange, I was used to the idea that decorating the tree was a sacred duty that could only be performed on Christmas Eve between the hours of 4 and 6 pm.  Now, I am used to it and quite like it.  Having the tree in the house for 4 weeks makes the darkness of December more bearable, adds a friendly and festive note to the house, heightens the anticipation.

And, let’s face it, once Christmas is over, it is over, you don’t want that tree in the house for another 2 weeks.  The new year starts and one moves on.  Christmas is a thing of the past, spring is coming, Valentine’s Day decorations appear in the stores, the first Easter candies show up , …

So, lights up, everybody!

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