Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hallmark Moments

Built in 1885 and all Victorian-gingerbread (tasteful gingerbread of course) our house was made for decorating at Christmas. And decorated it has been - swags of white-lighted garlands have festooned railings, red-bowed wreaths have hung at windows, boughs of holly have decked halls - it's been a virtual Hallmark card. But this year the decorations are going minimalist: 1 big wreath, 1 small one, red bows and lights - that's it! My supplier at the Parkdale Market was visibly shaken when I put in my order yesterday! She may have to cancel that winter vacation I normally pay for each November. The city will be disappointed too. For the second year running they didn't bother to put lights in the trees out front of the house.

The decorations will go up today - a week earlier than normal - and the weather is perfect for it. Unlike the past three years when it was -25 or blowing snow or both today is partly cloudy and 8. Of course the irony is that this year decorating should take all of 20 minutes - put the lights, bow and pine cones in the big wreath, hang it up; put the bow on the small one, hang it on the door. How complicated can it be? Hmm. I'll get back to you on that. (Bad estimate: try 2 hours - the hook for the wreath had been removed so I had to go out and get another one. And I couldn't find the only extension cord that fit. There is a reason I gave up my Project Management course! Posted by Willyam at 6:05 pm)

In other years it has been at the least a 4 to 6 hour struggle with evening-up balcony swags, wrapping frozen strings of lights around garlands and positioning things just so. Last year it took the better part of two days because of the cold - securing a bow can take 10 minutes when your bemittend fingers are frozen. Multiply that by 6 and there goes another hour of sunlight.

For the past four years a picture of the be-garlanded house from the year before has been taken, Photo-Shopped to a fare-thee-well and used as our annual Christmas card - this year's is printing even as I work on this post. As you see from the pictures, the spirit has always been traditional, almost Dickensian. I guess for next year's card we will have to consider Zen with a Haiku greeting.

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