Thanksgiving and Halloween decorations tend to morph together as autumn sets in. Canadians generally don’t go as overboard as Americans with a front yard full of tombstones and skeletons hanging from trees (unless we still have young children at home) but we do like to acknowledge the harvest. Our front door hydrangea wreaths are replaced by fall apple wreaths and we arrange a few pumpkins on the front steps alongside a straw doll or two. A cornucopia of fake gourds and berries decorates the diningroom table and we dig out our fall tablecloths and place mats.
When I was hauling the Rubbermaid bin of fall decorations up from the basement, I recalled retired neighours we had when I was growing up. I didn’t really understand as I watched their Christmas decorations shrink bit by bit every year until they were finally celebrating with just an illuminated ceramic tree sitting on an end table surrounded by tiny presents. There were always dishes of chocolates and a Christmas candle on the coffee table but otherwise things were pretty minimal. Now that I too am retired and have all the time in the world to embellish my home with seasonal decorations, lovingly bake colourful cookies and craft craftie crafts, I . . . . well, I don’t.
When a friend downsized from a house to a condo a few years ago she reduced her Christmas decorations from seven storage bins to one. But she’s finding it hard not to buy more colourful and imaginative doo-dads to add to her seasonal decorative arsenal. We love all the seasonal goodies in the stores and we love it in our homes but the work involved in unpacking and putting everything up, taking it down and repacking it again, then hauling all the containers back down to the basement or the garage . . . well, many of us just can’t be bothered any more. The last time I had a real Christmas tree a few years ago, slicker than Tom Sawyer I coerced the grandchildren into taking it down and packing the decorations away. I liked that system so much I haven’t put up another tree since. We just string lights on one of our fake indoor fig trees, attach a few baubles and call it a day.
I’ve heard that there are actually people with enough to money to hire seasonal decorators and while that will never be an option on my retirement budget, I sure do like the idea. Imagine having a little van arrive three or four times a year with Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets, Halloween decorations, Santas and all the accoutrements for whatever other seasonal holidays you celebrate. Your fantasy would materialize in a few hours and remain for the appropriate time frame before the little van returns with the next season’s array of goodies. I guess that addresses one seasonal icon I can relate to—The Grinch. I have some fake pumpkins and gourds but I sure wish I had one of those little illuminated ceramic Christmas trees. Then, my life would be complete.
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