Advent calendar of memories 2011: 5th December – Outdoor decorations

Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers is encouraging us to celebrate the 2011 Christmas season with a series of posts called the Advent Calendar of Memories. This is today’s entry.

Did people in your neighbourhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

Christmas lanterns from a children's street parade in Nuremberg 1992.

I don’t recall anyone much having outdoor decorations, other than wreaths, when I was a child but perhaps I mis-remember. At any rate houses decorated with lights were not on my radar at the time. A Christmas wreath on the door was the likeliest outdoor decorations.

Lights really come into their own when it’s dark and gloomy northern hemisphere weather –they add a happy glow to the surroundings. When it’s light until at least 7, and later in the southern states, they’re more a treat than a necessity. In recent years, decorating houses with lights of varying complexity has become much more common and people take bus tours or do drive-bys to see the wonders of the lights. It’s a lovely tradition.

At our house we set our outdoor lights so they’re on each night and hang out a home-made wreath on our door, which luckily is under cover. With tropical downpours there’s a limit to how much outdoor decorating you can do at this time of the year.

Having just watched a cable TV show on Australia’s Christmas lights-spectaculars in streets around the country, I’m thinking that I’m the one out of kilter. I’d love to include some images of lights but haven’t found any Aussie ones yet among my collection, so will have to add an overseas one until I do.

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