11 December 2006


Bought a Christmas tree this weekend.

I was determined to find a decent tree and not spend more than $60. Somehow, I managed to achieve my goal without going to more than one place. Just very lucky I guess.

Walking through the lot I recalled the years when my mom would get on my dad for buying one of the $7 trees. "The five dollar trees are just as good," she would say.

"Just as good" was a relative concept.

Today, every tree on the lot looks just about the same and reasonably close to perfect, having - no doubt - been genetically altered to improve their shapliness.

I can recall running with my dad from lot to lot trying to find the tree with the fewest number of bare spots.

"We can just spin it around and put this side in the corner," my father would offer.

"But what about this hole over here," I'd challenge.

"I can cover that with icicles." he'd promise.

My dad didn't seem to have many hobbies, but he'd spend about a week adjusting lights, garland, ornaments and those aluminum foil icicles until every one of the troublesome bare spots was covered.

Decorating one's yard for the holidays has become a changed art as well.

Way back in the '60s a well-done display would include those monstrous three-inch-long colored lights, usually fastened neatly to the front porch bannister and around the front door. A really ornate display would include snowmen, Santas or nativity scenes made of opaque plastic with a light bulb inside.

Now, driving around my neighborhood at Christmas time I feel as though I've driven into the middle of the Thanksgiving Day parade in Manhattan.

Yard after yard is filled with gaudy, eight-foot-tall inflatable snowmen, Santas or Simpsons characters (very Chistmassie). Even more freaky is driving around during the day seeing these once-monster-sized characters reduced to misshapen sploches of nylon sprawled out on the lawn.

And then there's the all-white light displays. Nearly everyone has them. Makes the block look like a row of "fine-dining" Italian restaurants.

Make an old grouch happy. If you're going to expend the effort, put a little color in your front yard, and bring back my icicles!


Anonymous said...

You must be an old grouch to get so grumpy about white lights.

I thing they are less garish than the colored ones...though I appreciate both.

Like your old-timey memories though. You and your wife should start a his/her blog...

Ron Vallo said...

The his/hers blog is an intriguing idea.

The white lights remain a bad idea.