Friday, December 23, 2016

I Wish It was Christmas Today

The domain of Christmas and the holidays, at least with regard to those of us at Niagara's Watercooler, belongs to George Root and Howie Balaban. They live for the holiday season, especially George. Me? Not so much. I far prefer Independence Day as my holiday of choice over Christmas. Think about it. It's warm, sunny, and easy to hang outside with some beers and friends. December in Western New York is cold. 

Now, before you call me Scrooge, let me direct your attention to the real focus of this article. Christmas decorations. Anyone who has been by my house ever has probably noticed the complete lack of decorations on the house. Since the kids were born and have gotten a little bit older, I've done a little bit more. There should be an emphasis on little.

I wasn't always against decorating for Christmas. One year in junior high, Rob Alvarez and I decorated our homeroom door for a contest. We spent a couple hours after school making the most awesomely decorated door in the history of Emmet Belknap. The next morning when our homeroom teacher came in, he was amazed at the work we had done. Being an art teacher, I thought he would be really happy with our effort. His response? "Great job, we're going to get a pizza party for this. Did you use all my paper?" Needless to say, we did win the contest and got a pizza party for the entire homeroom.

As a kid, I lived in the basement at my parent's house. Each Christmas, I would decorate the stairs up to the kitchen. I had lights and garland, and even my own small tree that I trimmed. The one place I did put my foot down was with Christmas music. I could decorate all day, but I couldn't care less about the music. Still don't, although I do have a few favorites.

Now, we've lived in our house for 17 years and we've never really put up lights outside for the holidays. Three or four years ago, I put up a single string of lights around the front porch. That seems reasonable, right? Well, if you've ever been to our house, you know how small that porch is in comparison to the rest of the house. A single string was extraordinarily sparse for what I was working with.

The lights, which I never turned off for four or five months, looked absolutely ridiculous. Someone asked me if thieves took the rest of my lights. I just laughed and said no. That's all I wanted to put up. One night I ordered out for dinner and had it delivered. I don't currently have a house number on the house, so when he asked where it was being delivered, I tried to describe the house. The guy on the phone started laughing and said, "Is that the house with only like 6 lights on the porch for Christmas?" Yes, that was me. And I had a reputation. Cool.

Last year, We put no lights up outside. I was just too sick to care. This year, however, I decided to buy some of those colored lights to shine on the house. I bought the cheap pack. It came with three spotlights and I could control the "show" with my phone. Again, I just turned on the "Christmas Lightshow" and let them run. It sounds great so far, right? It's not.

I set the lights up during daylight. Yeah, it's not the smartest idea, but it gets cold after dark. Apparently, I set them not only too close together, but also too close to the house. They shine only on a very small part of the house. They look dumb, but I love it. Half-assed decorations are my calling card. If I can't have a full Hollywood production with songs and timed lights, I was to be minimalist. You could say I'm winning at that.

The best compliment about the lights came from one of the twins just last week. Patience was talking about the lights. I said they were a sad state of affairs, and that they were lighting only about 20 square feet of the house. She replied with "But they are the prettiest 20 square feet on the entire house." She then started laughing. Of course, she may have inherited some of her father's sarcasm. I loved the response.

Now that I've made fun of my awful decorations, I do have to admit that I did do one good thing with regard to the decorations. We have a side porch that is all windows. For obvious reasons it is virtually unusable in the winter. I thought the big Christmas tree with just lights on it would look great out there as people drove past the house. So, last Sunday I put up the tree out there. It does look great.

I could always do more next year with decorations. If Wendy would let me have those inflatable Star Wars Christmas characters, I'd be all over it. Who wouldn't want  a Yoda in a Santa suit, or Darth Vader with a Rudolph nose on his mask? Nothing says Christmas quite like cheap commercialized sci-fi characters. In the meantime, I can live with my 20 square feet of disco lights. Makes me want to dance.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year. I hope everyone enjoys themselves this weekend and stays safe. 

Craig Bacon can't wait until they let him have Christmas Eve fireworks so that Santa knows where to stop. He's hoping for all the lost Dr. Who episodes to be found.