In a year like this, mid-November is not too early to deck the halls. (Unsplash photo)

In a year like this, mid-November is not too early to deck the halls. (Unsplash photo)

COLUMN: Let there be lights – lots and lots of lights

In a dismal year like this, it’s not too soon to decorate for Christmas

No one has ever accused me of getting overly excited about holidays – not as a grown-up, at any rate.

In fact, I’ve been called a “boo-humbug” – more than once – because I think that unless you’re young enough to go door-to-door, soliciting free mini-chocolate bars or threatening minor acts of vandalism, there’s no valid reason to cover yourself in plastic warts and fake blood on Oct. 31. (It’s an unpopular opinion, but I stand by it).

Using St. Patrick’s Day as an excuse to drink until you’re wearing a lampshade as a hat because some guy (allegedly) drove a bunch of snakes out of Ireland 1,500 years ago? Seems fishy to me.

And I will admit that, in years past, I’ve even been a wee bit judgy about the folks who start celebrating the Christmas season weeks and weeks (and weeks) in advance.

This year, though, I’m turning over a whole new leaf – probably holly.

I’m sure that all the party people who felt cheated out of the opportunity last month to hit the club in their “sexy PPE” or “provocative vial of vaccine” costumes, or whatever, will agree that what would improve this smoldering trash heap of a year is a celebration.

Unfortunately, like everything else that’s happened since mid-March, this, too, will require compromise.

There will be no office parties or parades, no sitting on Santa’s lap, no filling your house with third cousins-twice removed on Christmas Eve.

What we can still do, though, is decorate – string up lights and inflate giant lawn ornaments as if our very sanity depends on it.

Now that Remembrance Day has passed, if you’re ready to deck the halls, I say, knock yourself out. Assemble the artificial tree and get it glowing in the living room window; affix plastic Rudolph and his pals to the roof and make sure his red nose is (safely) wired up and blinking brightly; line your walkway with giant plastic candy canes, if you must.

Whether it’s a classic holiday display, done with evergreen boughs, velvet bows and white lights or a multi-coloured visual yukaflux, blaring the Chipmunks holiday album, just give us somewhere to refocus our attention for a moment or two.

With a number of traditional holiday happenings cancelled, curtailed or limited to by-appointment-only attendance this year, one thing we will still be able to do at the drop of a fuzzy red hat is head out for a walk, or gather our bubble into a vehicle and tour the neighbourhood, evaluating each home owner’s efforts at one-upsmanship.

As concerns go in 2020, holiday decorations may seem a bit trivial, but the truth is, anything that can put a smile on someone’s face or take their mind off their day-to-day worries for a little while, is worth some effort.

Let’s face it, it’s been a rough year so far, and the dark and dreary winter months ahead don’t promise much relief.

You want to double down on your good karma? Add a donation box to the mix and raise a few bucks for a worthy cause.

No doubt, many of you are way ahead of me on this, having already climbed your ladders, strung your strings and added a bit of sparkle to your street. Good for you – thank you.

And, you know what? Don’t even worry about taking them down again until St. Patrick’s Day. At that point, with any luck, the light from all those naked lamp bulbs will be enough to carry us through to the spring.

Brenda Anderson is editor of the Peace Arch News.

ChristmasColumnCoronavirus