COLUMN: Shining a light on Christmas decorating difficulties

Getting your home ready for the holidays isn’t always easy, writes Nick Greenizan

When it comes to Christmas lights, I admit that I’ve given up.

Now, I’m as big a fan of Christmas as you’ll find – it is, without question, my favourite time of year – and as a kid, I used to love helping my dad put the lights on the house.

I was never much of a help, mind you – more of a supervisor and overall reviewer.

“Those lights are too close together.”

“That row has too many burned-out bulbs.”

“You missed a spot.”

Sure, my critiques were annoying for my dad to hear, as he tried to balance himself on a ladder 12 feet above the ground, as cold, winter winds whistled around him, but it was for the greater good.

Quality control, and all that.

It was worth it, too, once the job was done and the last extension cord was plugged in. There were no Clark Griswolds on my street growing up, but most of my neighbours always had pretty good displays, too, so it made for a pretty festive street when all was said and done.

Seeing all those lights, more than anything else, is what used to first get me into the Christmas spirit.

Well, fast-forward a few decades, and my eight-year-old self would be pretty unimpressed with what I have become, as the decorations on my house have become more Charlie Brown Christmas than Griswoldian.

And I don’t really have any desire to change that, either.

Because if there’s one thing my younger self didn’t understand then that the adult version does now, it’s this: Christmas decorations are an awful lot of work.

Now, I live in a rowhouse, so my outdoor lights are minimal – a few strings hung over the front door, and I’m basically done.

But even that seems like a lot of work sometimes. In fact, a few years ago I didn’t put up any lights at all once I decided that untangling the strings – which were not-so-lovingly stored in a utility closet – would have taken me through the 12 Days of Christmas and beyond.

And replacing burned-out strings? Forget about it.

I’m not much more ambitious when it comes to indoor decorations, either. I love the end result – the tree, the wreath on the door, and of course, the dog pawing at, then chewing, the garland that runs up the staircase – but wrestling the tree up from the basement (No, we don’t do real trees in our house.) is never fun, and then there’s always more of those damn lights.

A few years ago, we relented and bought a tree with built-in, pre-strung lights, and setup was admittedly a breeze – a Christmas miracle, if ever I needed one.

If I could find a house with pre-strung lights, maybe we’d move.

Or maybe this year I’ll be visited on Christmas Eve by my eight-year-old self, and he’ll give me a stern talking to about the state of my holiday decorations, and I’ll be encouraged to put forth a little more effort next time.

If he could untangle a few strings of lights for me while he’s here, that’d be pretty helpful, too.

Nick Greenizan is a reporter at the Peace Arch News.

Just Posted

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

VIDEO: Surrey firefighters battle simultaneous blazes overnight

Residents have been displaced from both fires, says Surrey fire department

Johnston Road paving delayed due to pipeline explosion near Prince George

City of White Rock said road will remain closed until at least Monday evening

Cloverdale apartment tenants won’t be ‘renovicted’ after all

Settlement agreement will allow residents to stay in their homes during renovations

Murdered hockey coach honoured by Cloverdale association in three ways

Paul Bennett, a nurse who worked in White Rock, was shot to death in driveway of his home last June

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

B.C. has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Trump to visit Florida, Georgia; search ongoing for missing

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17.

Canadians widely unaware of accomplishments of famous women, poll suggests

A new poll suggests Canadians have a lot to learn about the accomplishments of some of the country’s most famous women.

Most Read

l -->