Tuesday, November 25, 2014


It's that time of year - when the cold weather sets in to our hemisphere and, along with our woollies, the decorations come out. I thought we had gotten rid of all the decorations years ago, but upon opening the box of our coats my mother-in-law so kindly sent us from her attic, I found the one seasonal decoration I still had.

I actually love decorations. I love the change of the seasons: the pumpkins, Easter lilies, and red-white-blue buntings hung from porches. I used to enjoy my annual trip to Experience to stock up on bayberry candles. I love buying shelter magazines at holiday time. One year we decided to completely revamp our Christmas tree decorations and created a silver and white theme tree with ample glittery snowflakes. It was lovely, but it was also kinda lonely.

Slowly, I began to realize that what I really love are not decorations in a home, but the over-the-top decorations in public places. The ones involving cranes. Once we took the kids down to NYC to see the city decked out in its holiday splendor: Macy's windows, FAO Schwartz, Tiffany, Rockefeller Center - all of it bigger than life.  Now we're talking decorations!

While the visual sensation of all the glitter, ribbons and lights is heady, the real experience of big decorations in public spaces is the shared experience. We are looking at the big snowflakes hanging from the vaulted ceiling at the James Center together with other people. It's the press of noisy people on the sidewalk that make the line at Macy's windows exciting. It's the lighted bows on the street lamps along the shops that are just a backdrop for cheerful people. 

I can understand the desire to decorate one's private indoor spaces for the holidays. It is delightful to see the candles and greenery decked out across the mantle and a welcoming wreath on the front door. A bit of seasonal color here and there can go a long way. But, we don't have a mantle anymore, nor any horizontal surfaces worthy of candles. We also don't have any storage space for seasonal decorations. 

That's all more than fine for me. I don't feel the need to decorate indoors anymore. Been there, done that nesting. Now, I delight in stepping out the door and reveling in the huge Christmas tree that the advertising agency has erected in their courtyard. The trunks of the trees on the sidewalk are wrapped in lights 15 feet high. The shop windows are full of greenery and ribbons. The hotels have lights everywhere. The air is cold and nature has plenty of decorations of her own to share: pretty designs of frost on the parked cars, piles of brightly colored leaves on the sidewalks, the stark empty branches against the grayish sky. 

I have lots of decorations to enjoy *and* I get to share them with other people. 

Even this one is shared, since I don't wear the coat indoors much.