Have you been inside a store lately? Someone thinks it’s Christmas already. It’s not. It’s still October. I’m not ready for Christmas. Or Thanksgiving. Or, frankly, even Halloween. In fact, I went out looking for some cool yard decorations for Halloween yesterday, but apparently you’re supposed to do that further in advance of the holiday than one week. Who knew? I did pick up a few small Thanksgiving decorations, on clearance, no less.
I’m slowly trying to rebuild my Halloween and Thanksgiving decoration stock, as I foolishly allowed most of it to be given away by my ex. It wasn’t his fault. I moved out of the house and left behind lots of things to donate. Somehow the box that contained some really wonderful decorations (including some handmade items and some treasures that my son made in his early years) ended up in that group. I’ve been mourning its loss for three years now.
The stacking jack-o-latern boxes, the ceramic haunted house candle holder, the cross-stitched ghosties, the tole painted pumpkins, the elegant ceramic pumpkins that used to grace my Thanksgiving table… all gone. So are the mini-pumpkin lights and the larger jack-o-lanterns stake lights for the yard. It still makes me sad to think about it.
As we speak, my house has a hand-made fabric wreath on the front door and a small wooden sign with a jack-o-lantern. There is a doormat in orange with a jack-o-lantern face on it, and a plug in jack-o-lantern that isn’t plugged in, because we need an extension cord. How is anyone going to know that we’re a house to trick-or-treat at? I know, I know… turn on the porch light and they will come. But it’s our first year in our new neighborhood, and I want to make a good impression. There should be some sign on Halloween on the premises!
When I was a kid we had a large plastic jack-o-lantern. We would place a small lamp inside of it and put it in the front window. It looked awesome! Then we would carve a pumpkin or two and stick those out on the porch, with candles in them, of course. I loved how it looked. It was the only time our house was ever really decorated for a holiday, at least from the outside.
My parents were immigrants, and my family is Jewish. We never did Christmas lights. In fact, it made my mom a little uncomfortable when my dad would bring home a wreath for the front door, which he did a couple of times during my growing up years. Our house basically always looked the same, inside and out.
Back in those days people didn’t go quite as crazy with the decorations as they do now, of course, but there were lots of Christmas lights in our neighborhood. They looked especially beautiful in the snow. I loved visiting my friends during the holiday season and seeing their Christmas trees and other decorations. I was always fascinated and enchanted by all the things that people would do to make their homes different and special during holidays, whether it was embroidered hand towels or special placemats or garland along a bannister. I always wished that we could do that at our house, but it was never going to happen.
We did have out our menorahs at Chanukah time, and one year my dad built a huge gingerbread house. We also dragged home a small evergreen and put it in a bucket in basement one year, much to my mother’s horror. Then there was the year that my dad and I built a “tree” out of dowels. I’m not sure if that was cool and creative or just plain pathetic. Anyway, our holiday decor was extremely limited.
I vowed that when I had a home of my own I would decorate it for the holidays, and I did. I still do. I don’t fill it to the gills with junk, I try to use pieces that make me happy individually, and that collectively create a festive feeling. That’s why replacing items is so difficult. The missing items were collected over years, and each had its own story. You can’t just load up at Target and call it done. Well, I can’t.
So now I’m back to clearing out clutter so I can enjoy my holiday decorations, such as they are, and I’m planning a trip to the hardware store for that extension cord. Who knows what I might pick up along the way? Maybe something spooky.