In just over a week I will be climbing up the rickety ladder and into my loft. Just the thought of going up into that dark and gloomy, spider web filled cavern at the top of my home fills me with dread. However the mission is a joyous one. It is time to bring down the Christmas decorations.
There is a ritual in our house, as with many others, where we go out on some freezing cold weekend morning to the local garden centre and select our tree. Having paid an amount of money which feels greater than the national debt of some small African nation, we tie the thing to the roof of the car then drive like a granny, all the way home. I haven’t lost a tree from the roof yet, but I know a man who did and he has never been permitted to forget it!
I am a bit OCD when it comes to putting Christmas decorations away. The memories of my youth, with my dad growling for hours as he untangled Christmas fairy lights then tested every bulb until he found the broken one have haunted me to this day.
Thankfully Christmas lights are rather better made these days as they are not configured in a “series” so if one bulb goes, the rest will still survive. We even have outdoor lights which we wrap around the tree in the front garden. Mind you, there are some people in my street who really make our best efforts look feeble.
I am in awe of them. The first time I saw them I imagined that the owners of the house were fully qualified electricians and part time mountaineers. Actually she’s a teacher and he sells cars so rather ordinary people.
Up and down the country, towns and villages will be holding local competitions to see who has the best and most festive fairy light display. We can marvel at them, and their potential electricity bills too. I spend all year yelling at my boys to turn lights off, only to set 250 bulbs alight for days on end, for not apparent reason beyond festive fun!
It is funny how a very American tradition, of putting up Christmas lights all over your home has become quite normal here too. In the UK there are massive competitions on ABC to see who has the best Christmas lights. It’s called the Christmas Light Fight and it is big business. We brits are slightly more reserved, but even in dear old Blighty, Channel 4 have decided to dedicate a programme to this new trend, which has been somewhat unimaginatively called “King of Christmas Lights”.
While the lighting displays around our houses are impressive, I still love the municipal lighting in the likes of Covent Garden and Oxford Street in London. If you’re planning on visiting London this Christmas season why not follow the link and check out all the festivities that are planned for the festive period: http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/whats-on/christmas
There have been some absolutely stunning displays of festive lighting decking our high streets and shopping centres and the people who design them should be celebrated as much as any other artists..
However, I do wonder how long we will be permitted to continue this wonderful tradition. Given the media focus on the impact of electricity production on the environment and the World Summit due to take place in Paris next week, I hope that our love of fairy lights is a festive joy rather than a guilty pleasure.