Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent Calendar - Lichtbogen, Peppermint Sticks & Decorations in March

Some years we decorate and some years we don’t.  Often, especially while the children were young, we would put lights on the house.  These were those BIG lights on strings, so that if one went out they all went out.  I know that Walt was happy when we finally bought some where the string stayed lit even though one light was out.

For a 3 or 4 years we made decorations that looked like peppermint sticks.  We scrounged the back of carpet stores for carpet tubes.  I wrapped the tubes with heavy duty aluminum foil and then put red outdoor ribbon in spirals around each tube.  They were placed along the driveway and the walk to the house by sticking a 16 inch piece of wood in the ground and placing the tube on top of it.  Then I strung gold garland between the “sticks”.  Those were fun and affordable.

Now, even when we don’t put up house lights, I put a German candle holder in the window.  It’s called a “Lichtbogen” or loosely translated “light arch”.  It’s really not an arch, but a triangular shape.  Since it is electric, I put it on a timer,  and it stays lit all night long.  Walt and I saw these in many German windows the couple of years we visited during December.  So now we have a two of them and we put them in our windows in Phoenix.

In Phoenix, and in Southern California, outside decorations always were removed around New Year’s Day.  It was quite a surprise when Walt and I moved to Montreal, to find Christmas decorations still up the middle of March.  Then, after living there for a couple of years we could understand the difficulty of removing some of these decorations when you have 4-6 feet of snow on the ground.  After all, how do you place a ladder securely to remove the lights; many on the second floor eaves?  How do you traipse through all of the snow to remove the snowmen and other figures that are in your yard?  (And they may be half covered with snow also.)  So that was a new event for us.   

When I was a child, and then when our children were young, we would walk around the neighborhood, or drive further distances, to see the lights.  There were some houses that had huge amounts of lights, but we didn’t really care.  We just enjoyed all of them.  And the oohs and aahs of children and adults is still a pleasant sound.  We don’t do it as much, but I still enjoy strolling the neighborhood the middle of December.  Of course, in Phoenix, it’s something you CAN do without being totally bundled up.

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