Some people, like us, don't bother with Chritmas lights. We have no children at home so have no excuse to glitter up the house and garden. Dh no doubt thinks of the money saved on power and I think of helping polar bears stay afloat. I first saw the habit of decorating the outside of one's home when I was in Philadelphia in the late seventies. I was amazed at South Street - I think it was South Street, or was that the market? Anyway, I remember the Italian section of Philly where rows and rows of houses went wild with Christmas decorations - unknown in the UK as far as I knew at that time. Maybe they did it in the decadent south but not in Durham, oh no. In the nineties dh and I drove from Dallas to Steamboat Springs through the Rockies, creeping through a snowstorm behind the snowblower, and then I found the Christmas lights on remote farmhouses reassured me that there was life out there in the howling darkness. I could see why they did it in Colorado.
Now the habit is fully established here, too. Our cul-de-sac has children, so the blinking lights have appeared, day by day, along the eaves. Little electric signs have been stuck into the lawns and twinkle through the evening. One house is a theatre set, with snowman and Rudolph staring up at the sparkling display. and you know what? I love it!
On the corner of the main road not far away, one householder has decided to take full advantage of his prominent position. Last week his house was so ablaze with Santas, reindeer, sledges and a steam train chugging around its walls - a few things I remember from a hasty, wide-eyed view - that I went out in the dark tonight with my camera to take a picture and display it here.
But you know what? He must have known I was coming, for he hadn't switched them on.