Early Lights

Hold Your Horses People

Have you seen Christmas Lights up already? Are you wondering what these people are thinking? Me, too. My neighbor Vince down the street, a nice guy who owns his own landscaping company, had a team of people putting up his Christmas Lights last week. It’s a beautiful display, but dude, it was the first week of November! Most of us are still trying to finish our leftover Halloween candy. He has consistently set a record in our neighborhood for having his lights up the earliest. However, since he owns a landscaping company, I guess it could bring attention to his house to boost business, who knows.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Christmas-holic. However, this year I am trying to detox and not break out the Christmas jams until after Thanksgiving. This proved difficult after we got an inch of snow the other morning (in addition to more this morning). The exception to the rule is snowfall. Even if it snows in October, all bets are off! So I’ll admit it, I fell off the wagon. I was tuned into Bing crooning White Christmas, as I made my way down the street on my daily walk. I’m sure the malls loved the early snowfall as well. Early snow gives everyone a collective kick in their Christmas-behind

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with putting up your lights early. If we get a break in the weather, take advantage of it, and get ‘em up. However, please don’t turn them on until at least December 1st. Just sayin’. I remember one year, we were on our way to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. Some guy in St. Clair Shores already had his lights up and ON! Really? This blew my mind. Although nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see a whole street lit up before Freeform launches it’s 25 Days of Christmas schedule. So take a chill pill people, we’ve got a long way to go. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Put up your lights as early as you like, but please don’t be that guy. Just sayin’.   

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Seasonal Flags

Keep an Eye Out for Them

While taking my morning walk the other day, I noticed a small flag in my neighbor’s flower bed. It depicted a scene of a starfish, beach towel, and flip flops. Definitely, a summer banner if I’ve ever seen one. Over the past few years, more and more of these little flags have sprung up all over the neighborhood. As I stroll around the block, I’ve taken note of the houses that put out these flags. I always enjoy seeing what comes next. It has become a way to recognize the passing of the seasons without going overboard on outdoor decorations.

When you really think about it, with the exception of Christmas and Halloween, there’s not many exterior trimmings for most holidays or the current season. O sure, there’s the occasional wreath of flowers on a front door, indicating that spring or summer has finally sprung. Or maybe some window clings, put up by a second-grader, to celebrate Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. However, when it comes to determining what time of year it is, you can’t beat these little banners. Plus, they add a nostalgic feel to the neighborhood, which I personally love.

These seasonal markers are available at your local hardware store or many online retailers. They come in many different sizes and varieties. The one I’m looking at right now says Welcome with a bunch of daisies in the background. If you’ve read any of my previous articles about Fall, you’ll know it’s my favorite season, by far. Outside of a leaf wreath for our front door, we don’t really have any Autumn decorations. So, I think I’ll start my seasonal flag collection with a Fall flag. I’ll put it out the day after Labor Day, the unofficial start of the football and pumpkin spice season. Can’t wait.

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The Post-Holiday Blues

Maybe It’s Time To Get Some Help

Now that the Christmas season has come and gone, the blues can’t be very far away. The holiday gear from the front yard, living room, family room, basement, and backyard all have to be taken down and stored away until next year. While all of this festive decor adds to the enjoyment of the season, breaking it all down is always a little depressing. Mainly, because here in Southeast Michigan, we know that all we have to look forward to is the rest of Winter, rainy disgusting Spring, and then finally, Memorial Day.

For some reason, I just wasn’t into Christmas this year. Not that I was Grinching-out or anything, I just wasn’t feeling it. Putting up the decorations felt like more of a chore than part of the annual holiday build-up. One afternoon, after wrestling with our green LED trees on the front lawn, I sat down to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. I could relate to CB this year more than ever before. His blah-ness about the whole season summed up exactly how I felt. This was a new attitude for me. I love the holidays, and this malaise about Christmas left me feeling puzzled and frustrated. Why was I feeling like this, during The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I think part of the reason was, to quote Sgt. Murtaugh, “I’m getting too old for this sh*t!” For many years, my lower back has bothered me. Even though I wear a support wrap while decorating, I still wind up having to toss down a couple of Motrin and spend a few hours recuperating in my recliner with the back massager running. Maybe next year, I’ll contract out some of the more labor-intensive parts of the holiday prep. It sure couldn’t hurt. It might be time to scale back some of the decorations anyway. Reset my focus on the true reason for the season. Celebrating the Birth of Christ, and getting together with family and friends. To quote Linus, “And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown”. Amen Linus, amen.

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