It seems that each year Christmas decorations are becoming bigger, brighter and – in some cases – noisier. I’m certainly no Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. I love it and I love hanging up the decorations and adorning the tree. But for some it seems to have become a competition to do more than they did last year and more than the next door neighbours do.
It’s lovely to see front doors with lavish wreaths and gardens lit with twinkling lights but to me the most beautifully decorated homes are those done with simplicity and class. The obsession with stringing thousands of bulbs and synchronising them to flash in time to music belted out through loudspeakers seems to be getting a little out of hand.
Image courtesy of Anthony92931 / wikimedia commons
I read with horror today about the World Record Christmas Light Display in Canberra ACT that boasts over a million lights. Ok, it’s great that the creator is raising money for charity, but is he going to continue to top his efforts next year, and the next?
This thought came to me when, on my way home from work, I passed a house where a woman was decorating her front window with children’s drawings of Christmas trees and Santas. It looked beautiful and I'm sure the children were delighted that their work was on display for all to see.
Image courtesy of Cheriedurbin / Morguefile.com
When my children were young we lived a couple of streets away from a man who obsessively decorated his garden every Christmas. The display grew and grew until he eventually had to ask for donations from the public to pay the power bill and keep the show running. When the neighbours complained, he sought to have his display registered as a public event. Cars and buses would pull up in the street constantly and eventually the street had to be closed off and only foot-traffic allowed. Then came the food vans and the people selling souvenirs and glow-sticks. I eventually stopped taking my children because of the pressure to spend money there. All the while I couldn't help thinking that this had little to do with the spirit of Christmas.
Image courtesy of RavenArcana / Morguefile.com
So this year, when you’re hanging your lights and inflating your giant blow-up Santa, think about why you started to decorate your home in the first place.
Think about how much we spend on Christmas paraphernalia and the cost of keeping it all operating. Do we really need to buy those animated reindeer for the front lawn, or would it be better to simplify and celebrate the true spirit of Christmas by donating that money to a worthy cause?