I still make time to walk around town, getting my 10,000+ daily steps, and it's been a pleasure to see more holiday decorations appearing every day. It's already very dark in the late afternoon, it's cold and damp, and we need all the light, warmth, and sparkle we can get.
I love every electric candle I see in a window, even if it's the cheapest plastic, whether it has a tiny white bulb or one of those big ones in inappropriate blue (the Bunsen burner look; fond memories of high school chem lab).
I don't care how sloppily you've strung the lights in your outside tree, as long as they're lit. I don't care how much or how little you've covered your house and yard in light strings and decorations, as long as you aren't blinding drivers or keeping the people next door awake. I enjoy beautifully decorated fresh wreaths and garlands but I don't mind fake ones. I even like those see-through white plastic reindeer and every faded plastic Santa stuck up on the roof. I like just about everything — except perhaps those giant inflatable figures that go all creepy as they deflate or blow in the wind.
By about next Tuesday, the fantastically decorated wreaths by the Garden Club of the Back Bay will begin appearing on doors around the neighborhood, as well as in Beacon Hill, the South End, and elsewhere. You can tell a Garden Club wreath because it looks like someone spent hours on it. Because she did. (And sometimes that someone is me, see below.)
Using all-natural materials is a Garden Club specialty.
Using too many pinecones and getting holly puncture wounds is my specialty.
Proceeds from the sale of the wreaths are used to care for Back Bay's trees, among other worthwhile projects. Splurge on a wreath, and you may really save a tree!
I've learned to love the broccoli forest on the Commonwealth Avenue mall. I can imagine how amazing the trees would look if the lights could reach up higher, into the actual branches. But wrapping lights around the trunks is a million times better than nothing, and the effect is certainly striking. The little trees along Newbury Street are blazing with lights these evenings; I wish they looked like that all year. And the store windows on Charles Street in Beacon Hill are all decked out to the hilt; it's the perfect place to window shop.
I especially love to see Christmas trees in windows. I like them with white lights, and colored lights. I can't make up my mind which I like best, so I put both on our tree. You can't have too many lights on a tree. Ours will be going up next weekend and I can't wait. (And I we won't be returning our tree to Wilson Farm this year, as we did two Christmases ago. That little adventure seems surreal now, in retrospect.)
Tonight, I sat for awhile in our car, parked on Beacon Street in Brookline, while my husband did an errand. Through the pouring rain, I could see across the pavement into someone's lighted windows. Three people were lighting the first Hannukah candles, and I watched them swaying gently as they sang the prayers. It was beautiful. I'd never seen that before, and I won't forget it.
If you can shed a little light on the deep darkness of this season, I promise I will appreciate the gesture.