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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Get Your Jingle Bell On!

In case you’ve missed the thousands of tv, radio, internet and print ads, the lights on houses, the snowmen on lawns, and the red-and-green decorations that went up in stores on Sept. 1, Christmas is coming. Soon.

It’s two days away, specifically. Like many parents, I still have loads to do. You see, although Santa Claus does a lot of the work to make Christmas magic, parents still have a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation as well. I’ve been very busy with Christmas events at school, getting cards out, making lists (and checking them twice or twenty times)—and the messy state of this house is proof that when December comes and parents go into overdrive, Santa doesn’t send elves to help put away laundry or wash dishes. Yesterday I would have loved one of Santa’s helpers to help me separate our outgoing cards into the following piles:

Addressed, stamped and sealed;

Stamped but still needs address;

Addressed and needs hand-delivering;


Addressed but needs double-checking that I have the husband’s name right.

You might think that it’s strange that I’m blogging when I have so much Christmasy stuff to do. Yes, this may seem contradictory. But sometimes a tired Mrs. Claus mom needs to do something completely unrelated to her long to do list in order to have a shred of balance in her life!
Besides, I wanted to share with you a few fun photos I took this month, when I was able to sneak away from Santa’s workshop. (The big guy in red runs a tight ship but he does follow labor laws and I did get the mandated coffee breaks.) If only I could figure out how to charge for overtime, then I’d be set…
I like how this neighbor decorated the tiki carving that adorns their front lawn. They incorporated the tiki head into their holiday decorating scheme. It’s an element of the unexpected, which is always fun.

These next photos show a house that epitomizes holiday cheer. The homeowners start in November, putting up a small building on the lawn where the master of magic sits, selecting music to play in coordination with the changing light display on the lawn. I have never seen so many lights and decorations at one house. They have a giant arch at the parkway strip, at least fifteen feet tall. Every character imaginable is perched on the lawn, contributing to the celebration. There are thousands of lights overhead, lights at your feet, music swirling around your head, over your shoulders, and through your arms, lifting them until you find yourself dancing with abandon to “Jingle Bell Rock.” Icicles glow and snowflakes spin. Reindeer in every color of the rainbow nod their heads to the music. Old friends like Charlie Brown and Mickey Mouse grin from their stations. Even a smiling Grinch has converted and is part of the festivities. Cars cruise slowly by, taking in the wonder. The man behind all this magic sits in the booth he’s put up for this season, wearing earphones and studying his playlist. Children’s faces glow with excitement. Adult’s faces beam at the spectacle. It’s better than Main Street at Disneyland. And it’s there for everyone to enjoy. It’s one homeowner’s gift to the city, an oasis of color and light on a dark December night.

I’m so glad I saw this house of splendor. In a season filled with long to do lists but short on time, this house was a good reminder to slow down for a minute and to savor the excitement. Whether you think of it as a religious season or a time of giving to those you love, it’s a special part of each year, one to enjoy. Let’s take in the colored lights, notice the scent of pine, and appreciate the music and the cheer. Let’s revel in this winter time celebration. After all, in a few days, the stores will be putting up the July 4th decorations!

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