|I seem to be seeing fewer outdoor Christmas decorations this year, although this house is an exception. The yard is full of goodies for children, including a playhouse-sized gingerbread house, giant lollipops and lots of shiny Christmas baubles.|
|This inflatable display has a front-end loader that rises and falls. Notice the locomotive on the roof. Somebody else has children in mind.|
|These photos were taken later, after the snow had mostly gone. I couldn't help but be amused by the procession of various animals someone had lined up and headed in the same direction.|
|A front view of the procession. It would be interesting to know the story behind this decorating theme.|
|In the same yard, penguins slide down a slope while a big-eyed deer watches. Clearly, these decorations are all about kids.|
|Back to winter: red and silver balls, each wearing a little hat of snow, signal Christmas in a more restrained way at this house.|
|Snoopy awaits Christmas on top of his doghouse; another outdoor inflatable.|
|Christmas balls and lights decorate this boulevard tree.|
|Another restrained Christmas display -- a wreath on the door. With the stone frontage of the house and the hedge, I think it looks smashing. Also, no ladders involved.|
Every November, our friendly and community-minded neighbours across the way haul out a ladder and climb up in the cold to string big batches of Christmas lights across the front of their house. Every November, John and I do not do this. No lights, no wreaths -- we operate on the principle that if we don't put anything up, we won't have to take it down. But, we do benefit from Ron and Shirl's pretty lights shining across the street from us every Christmas season.
This year, there seems to be a troubling trend in our neighbourhood: There are more and more people like John and me. Usually, some blocks in our area are ablaze with lights by this time in the Christmas season; there's a sense of friendly competition to see who can be the most amazing. But this year? A wreath, a few colourful balls on an outdoor tree, maybe one string of lights above the door. The zest is gone, even though this year's snow means we've rarely had a more Christmasy Christmas.
Not all is lost. I passed one yard that was stuffed with child-friendly Christmas decorations, including a playhouse-sized gingerbread house and a forest of gigantic wooden lollipops. More common are the giant inflatable characters -- snowmen and jolly elves bearing gifts -- clearly aimed at kids. Which raises the question: Will doting parents and grandparents be the only ones in the future who bother putting up outdoor decorations?
A bleak prospect. Perhaps it's time for John and me to buy some outdoor lights and return the favour Ron and Shirl have been doing us all these years.
|Here is our house in the snow. It has no Christmas decorations.|