Decking those halls!

This taoist and his pagan husband blatantly display a mix of pagan and folk symbols during the sacred Christmas season.
This taoist and his pagan husband blatantly display a mix of pagan and folk symbols during the sacred Christmas season.
Once again, though the goal was to start decorating Thanksgiving weekend, the tree is only just now being set up. I did get a string of lights in the living room window, and one string of multi-colored icicle lights above the door, and a set of these big plastic lights across the front of one flower bed last weekend. So we’ve had some outdoor Christmas lights up all week.

Now that the gout is finally under control, we had a much more productive weekend. We got a good start on the Christmas shopping and finished a bunch of other errands on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we spent a few hours prepping the house so there was room for the tree before unpacking enough of the basement storage to start.

fontfolly_2014-Dec-07 3One of the first things to come out of the basement was my silly LED snowman. This guy runs on two D-batteries for about 3½ weeks. The little control chip is rather cleverly programmed. You turn it on, and it runs for about 6 hours, then it turns itself off form 18 hours, then back on on 6, and so on until the batteries die. So if you turn him on at about 4:30pm (just after sundown), then for the next several weeks at just about that time he’ll light up on his own.

The tree assembled and ready to be decorated the brony (my husband) included for scale.
The tree assembled and ready to be decorated the brony (my husband) included for scale.
As always, we spent a lot of time discussing the lights for the tree. Complicated by me trying to find the right boxes of lights from our existing collection. Which was itself complicated by two things: while our collection of lights is frighteningly huge, it is a lot smaller than it used to be. The last several years we’ve been tossing any of the older strings of lights that were showing signs of wear on the insulation and such. Then last year, when I found the place (through the city’s recycling web page) that you could ship your old light strings to in bulk, and they would melt down and recycle them, we decided to send many more of the older mini light strings away. All three of my old incandescent/mini light strings of chasing lights, for instance, had been bought before Michael and I started dating—in 1998. So, I put the white chasing string on the tree last year knowing it was the last time. But I didn’t quite remember that. I knew we had some twinkling white lights on the tree last year, so I wasted a lot of time digging through the boxes trying to find a string of twinkling LED lights, before we remembered about the old chasing lights’ last hurrah.

All the lights!
All the lights!
Since the big window’s lights were already started with the new blue icicles, we decided to put my magic color-changing lights on the tree this year. The color changing lights have a little chip in each socket, then a pearl-white ball house a red, a green, and a blue LED, and the chip fades those three lights in and out in a semi-random pattern. Since is ball has it’s own chip, they don’t all change together. It’s a very subtle thing. It’s cool, but slower and less dramatic than it sounds. Any way, they went on, along with a string of big glitter-ball lights, and two much longer strings of smaller glitter-ball lights, and two strings of 6-color LED lights, a string of 7-color LED lights, three stings of purple LED lights, and a string of mini lights that I think we found last year while digging out older lights, that had never been opened, and that had a small number of individually blinking lights out of the whole string (and the colors were dark green, golden yellow, dark red, and dark orange).

I know there are only four reindeer. I didn't make it, I just inherited it.
I know there are only four reindeer. I didn’t make it, I just inherited it.
This plastic Santa, sleigh, and a reduced corps of reindeer belonged to my Great-grandma. After she died, it spent many years in storage with Grandma. After she died, my Aunt Silly found it, and asked me if I wanted it. I had completely forgotten it even existed, until I saw it. At that point, I was immediately transported back to Great-grandma’s house. I think the last Christmas that I had seen it at Great-grandma’s was December, 1974. So I brought Santa home and have used him in some capacity in our decoration each of the last three years.

IMG_0180Great-grandma’s Santa is half of the cause of this year’s theme. The same year that my aunt gave me the Santa & sleigh, our friend, J’wyl, gave me a painted martini glass ornament. Along with the psychodelic colors, there’s text: “Coffee, chocolate, and men—the richer, the better!” The color scheme made me think of 60s/70s Las Vegas. There was a certain resonance between the Vegas feel of the glass and Great-grandma’s 50s/60s plastic Santa. So I started thinking about this decorating theme that would be very Rat Pack Vegas, a mix of glitter and retro and glitz and over-the-top lights, and so forth. It’s taken me three years to track down enough decorations to go along with that notion.

A very pleasant surprising addition were some December Diamonds ornaments. These are entirely my friends Kristin and Ann’s fault. Last summer Ann pointed out these really glittery ornaments in a gift shop at the beach to Kristin and suggested that I would like them. Kristin wasn’t sure that I might think them too crass, so she took some pictures and texted them to me. I, of course, think they’re awesome and fabulous and immediately went online to figure out who makes them and ordered myself a couple. Which caused at least a little vexation because, once again, I bought something for myself that someone was thinking of buying for me (I totally misunderstood that part of the text). I have added a number of other fabulous ornaments from the line to my wish list, and would not be at all offended if I received more (these ornaments are going to work for next year’s Sea Party theme, {or did Michael call it “From Arctic Sea to shining Antarctic Sea” I don’t recall} you see!). There’s a purple-tailed merman on the tree about a foot to the right of this one. Picture next time.

Before bedtime I had put on the lights, put on the very classy (or at least fabulous) gold spray tree topper, the Santa, a couple of cute little glass ball ornaments that also belonged to Great-grandma, several of the retro ornaments, a very glittery gold Dalek, a not quite as glittery Tardis, and a few other things before I ran out of steam.

I’ll get the rest of the ornaments on tonight, and over the course of the week get more of the lights up in the windows. I suspect I won’t get lights onto the bushes outside until next weekend.

But decorations are definitely underway!

1 thought on “Decking those halls!

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