Day #5 – Cards and Decorations – Let the Competition Begin!
This is a funny topic and one that will not generate much debate. In fact, this is a boring topic. I am writing about why we need cards and decorations, really? You bet! I am going to make the best arguments for sending cards and decorating the reindeer poop out of your house. Did I convince you that this won’t be boring? If I did I am sorry because I am probably just leading you on, only to disappoint you in the end. Are you still reading? Alright I will get at it.
While I shudder at the amount of mail that must go through the post office this time of year, with most of it being pointless, some may argue that sending and receiving cards does serve a purpose. There are many people out in the world who do a lousy job telling people how they feel. If you read the rest of my blog, you can pretty well understand that I am one of those people. If you are standing in front of me, I can control a conversation so I don’t have to answer any questions like those. I am sure there are a good number of people who are drinking from the same Kool-Aid that I am, so they feel the same way. It feels nearly impossible to express yourself to someone’s face. This is why cards can be so useful. As long as you take the time and effort, a card can relay those feelings you cannot verbally express. The key is to take your time and be thoughtful about your choice or if you are brave then buy an empty one and write your feelings in the card. I know I find that an easier situation that talking to someone.
Sure there are people who sends cards just to send cards, but there are also a group who puts a little more value into it. We also tend to send out a lot less cards because all of our cards mean something. It can be extremely taxing to write your feelings out over and over when you struggle to express them. Now, I am not saying that if you send out a card that is well thought out and personal that you struggle expressing your feelings. I am sure there are plenty of people who can do both. I can just see card giving more useful for those who cannot normally express themselves. It saves us from the face to face interaction that we are terrified of normally.
Decorations are a whole other story. I don’t usually see people expressing their feelings through lights, candles, and wreaths. However, decorations can serve a purpose. I know when I think back to moments in the holidays that absolutely did not suck, I can remember certain decorations. It is silly really. I don’t know where they were or why I have the memory because there is very little context but I do remember the lights. I can remember the big bulbs that got really hot and would burn down your home if you were not careful. I can remember the set of lights that was supposed to look like a candle but they were filled with a liquid and would heat up and bubble. Again, I am sure they were not the safest of lights. I have tried to find lights like these since but without any luck. How can you have Christmas without the fear of burning the house down?
All kidding aside, I really like certain decorations. I used to have a paper route when I was young. It was my only source of income and really the only job a ten year old could get. I would get up at 5 am and go deliver the papers and then start my day. When you get to walk around town at 5 in the morning it can be really peaceful. You get out before all the cars and people have disturbed the freshly fallen snow. You get to see the decorations all lit up and you can stop and admire them with some peace and solitude. I used to love it when it would snow and the lights would be covered and it would look like the snow was glowing. I could see other people’s Christmas trees in their windows and would often wonder if they put it up as a family and had cookies and Christmas candy as they did it.
You can also tell a lot about people by the decorations they put up. If they have a full lit up nativity in their yard you can guess they have a very religious view on the holidays. If they have Santa on a motor bike with a scantily clothed Mrs. Clause on the back, well, not so religious.
You can also see how people involve each other in the decorating. When lights are not put up very straight and stay lower in the trees you can guess that they may involve their kids in the decorating process. If they are meticulous about the placement of every bulb then you know kids were probably not involved. It can say a lot about a home. I loved walking through the town seeing all the displays and guessing what their family was like. Did they have a family like mine or were they like the families on TV? Now, I could have done this without the decorations, but the lights, the colors, the other decorations can be beautiful at the right time of day. I am sure I was really far off on a lot of my assessments, I was 10, but I just liked the idea that there might be something else out there, something more “normal”.
In my home, we had a tree with lights and a few ornaments and then nativities, lots of them. That was all we had. Nothing outside and it was probably for the best. Did our decorations mean something? Not to me, but they did not need to mean something to me. I was not the one whose house it was nor did I put them up. So they did not mean something to me, but they did to my parents. For some reason, they did not find the humor of having baby Jesus play with my plastic toy soldiers. For them the decorations were a symbol of the reverence that they thought belonged in the holiday. They loved the religious aspect, so it did mean something to them. Just as I assume everyone else’s decorations meant something to each of them as well. So, while decorating might seem pointless to some, the meaning is not for everyone. It is for the people who took the time to put the decorations up. It does not matter whether it was a big family event or just a parent who wanted to show his love for the holiday season with decorations. Each display has a separate meanings to those who see them and I don’t see why it should be anything different. I know for me it helped me find some comfort in a normally dark part of my life. I could find the beauty in the decorations and hope that someday I would have something like that. It helped me see a way out of my current situation, one that I could start working towards even at that young of an age. So look at the lights, look at the scantily clad Mrs. Clause and take what you want from it. It is an easy way that your neighbors can share a little piece of the holiday season with those around them.