Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Dec. 5 Outdoor Decorations

Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights?
Did some people really go “all out” when decorating?
Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

Outdoor decorations were few and far between when I was growing up, at least what I can recall. It seems to  me that most "outdoor decorations" were Christmas trees set up in front of the living room window, facing the street, with the drapes open.

My paternal grandparents had electric set of three candles that were set in one the dining room windows that faced the alley. Do you remember alleys from your childhood? Gram's faced the Olson's; my sister Lisa took her first road test down this same alley when she was quite young but that story is for another post.

When we lived in Green Bay during the early to mid 1960s, outdoor decorations became more prevalent. I can recall my parents taking my sisters and I out for nighttime drives to "look at the lights." Today, our local newspapers print a list of outdoor holiday decorations complete with addresses for those who still enjoy this Christmas tradition.

"Remember when the Hanson's Christmas lights kept us up at night?" One of the Bergeron family stories involves a family in our Green Bay neighborhood who kept their Christmas lights up all year long. That in itself wasn't so bad but even I could not find that warm fuzzy Christmas spirit when the lights were on when the heat and humidity of July made it impossible to sleep at night. It was necessary to keep our bedroom windows open for the chance of a breeze (slim to none) but the full glory of the Hanson Christmas in July celebration, complete with the family singing carols, loudly, filled our room.

As much as I love tiny lights on a Christmas tree, I become nostalgic at the sight of "old fashioned" red, green, blue and yellow lights strung on an evergreen on display. Our first home had two yew trees on both side of our front porch, the perfect size for a string of outdoor lights. For this Wisconsin native, born and raised in the upper Midwest, the sight of  the lights glowing in the dark with a covering of snow in the month of December touches my heart at Christmas.

We have always hung a wreath on the front of our house. When the weather has cooperated and Al has had the time, we have had outdoor light displays: one year we had blue lights along the roof line prompting our neighbor to call and tell us how much he enjoyed the view out his front window. "Peaceful" was the word he used.

One of my favorite outdoor decorations is the year Jeff and Al strung my favorite outside lights at the cabin. It isn't something that we do every year so this scene, like my childhood memories, is one I carry with me. Thanks to Nikon, I'm able to enjoy the memory whenever the spirit moves me.

1 comment:

Cher' Shots said...

Cindy & Al,
The photo of your Christmas lit cabin is comforting. It's so serene and welcoming - simply perfect. I'm so happy that the two of you are fulfilling your dream.
Thanks for sharing.

When living in P.F. we had a 100 ft split rail fence in our front yard. Every year I would make balsam roping to put swag along it with lights. Huge red bows decorated each post. It was beautiful. Oh if only I had snapped a good pic back then... but never even gave it a thought.
'hugs from afar'


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