Friday, January 07, 2011

Great Suburban Traditions No. 11 - Failing To Take Down The Xmas Lights

Jesus gets ready for Easter
Unlike leaf blowers, dog turd and piano recitals, this is one suburban tradition that I love – January comes and goes, and still there are people who have not bothered to take down their festive decorations. In every neighbourhood, there will be at least one garden with a sad, deflated Santa, a defiantly glowing reindeer, or a crib scene missing Jesus, who has long since grown up and absconded with his mates to smoke pot and drink stolen Miller Lite in the nearby woods.

As winter wears on, bulbs blow and storms tear down the strings of lights, rendering the displays increasingly sad and shabby. And I’m left with the warm inner feeling that beyond the front door sits a family too lazy to do anything about it. Mum, Dad and the kids – all of them too reassuringly sane to stand around in freezing weather wrestling with wires and step-ladders. Hell, just leave it ‘til Easter. Maybe by then someone will have found Jesus and nailed him to the tree.

Yesterday was January 6th, the day on which, according to Mrs. Pop, all decorations should be returned to storage. Ours are still there for a passing sub-section of the populace to enjoy. It’s not one of my areas of responsibility, so I’m happy to leave them up as a point of counter-cheer throughout the dark, frigid misery of the coming month or two. Like everyone else who can’t be bothered to dismantle their displays, I’m clinging on to the time between Xmas and New Year when there was no sense of obligation to do anything besides eat, drink and watch football, then fight about what we were going to watch once the football was finished. 

The Xmas light holdouts are passively stating the case for an extended winter break. They are a signal that not everyone in suburbia feels subservient to the dictates of a calendar based around the twin heavy duties of school and work. They must surely annoy the majority of organised families who boxed up the season of joy with such depressing haste. Now there’s nothing to replace it but cold routine. Until spring at least, long live the indolent.


Gorilla Bananas said...

Those who have moved on from Christmas will see this an as exercise in nostalgia. Men who have taken down their lights will view you as sentimental and unmanly. You might correct this mistaken impression by pulling out one of the lights and picking your nose with it.

nathan3e said...

Perhaps your neighborhood is filled with Germans who refuse to take down the decorations until the Bundesliga winter break is over.

No Good Boyo said...

"Maybe by then someone will have found Jesus and nailed him to the tree."

You could impress your Bible-fearin' neighbours by devoting the period before Easter to representing The Life of Christ in Outdoor Tat. A small temple, some lego moneylenders, tiny loaves and bottles of Thunderbird, then the Encrucifixation.

You then take all the decorations down, and three days later put them back up for His Is Risen.

In the period up to next Xmas you devote the exterior of your house to depicting the story of the Church - St Paul's voyages, the Council of Nicaea complete with mad Barbie hats, the Inquisition and Borgias to coincide with Hallowe'en, and Vatican II in November.

It might just win you election to the parish council.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

GB - I prove my manliness to the neighbours on cold Tuesday mornings when I take out the glass for recycling and stand swilling the dregs of our many varied bottles at 7am.

Nathan - Bundesliga's not big in this street. For a number of reasons, it seems to be of little interest to our several elderly Jewish-American neighbours.

Boyo - nice suggestions. I appoint you choreographer-in-chief for what I feel could become a months-long, festive annual rite celebrated by the atheist, Christian and Jewish communities alike.

No Good Boyo said...

It's a deal. Let the festivities commence. I like bringing people together in a spirit of reciprocal confusions and resentment. It's like Xmas every day.