Sign of the times

While Katie and I forgo decorating our home to celebrate the holidays we still enjoy walking around our little neighborhood to examine the festive atmosphere. We may live in the ‘hood but several of our compatriots enjoy going all out for the season.

I wasn’t up for last year but since I’m feeling a bit better we resumed our little tradition this Christmas Eve. We anxiously awaited dusk to arrive, grabbed our coats, and started walking.

Our first stop was a pair of houses just a couple of blocks away. The folks who live there team up to create a fabulous display complete with music and the occasional light show so I was excited to be able to witness their annual offering.

As we approached I noticed that the lights weren’t on. “That’s odd, “ I commented to Katie. “They’re usually lit by this hour.” Disappointed, we continued our walk expecting them to be alight by the time we came back through.

The second house we approached was just as dark as the first. So was the third, the fourth, and so on. Slowly we realized something sad.

Only two houses in our little hood had even bothered to decorate. Even the brightest houses were dark and what displays we saw were muted.

It is a sad time when nobody decorates for Christmas, not even the ones who savor the season.

In my experience, people in this area don’t decorate when money is tight because they are afraid of the electric bill. It is a sign that jobs have been lost, income decreased, and fear prevails.

I wonder what next year will hold.

Were there any changes in how your neighborhood celebrated Christmas this year? Did you do more or less this year? Why? Please share your stories in the comments below.

7 thoughts on “Sign of the times”

  1. We have 140 occupied units in our new complex. When invited to decorate for tours, four said yes.

  2. I just arrived in my home state for a few days of holiday catching up with friends. Streets that used to be all lit up are not this year. I would say that there are more than 50% fewer lights this year. I think it shows people’s financial stress and worry.

  3. What if it shows people’s shifted priorities and an increase in environmental awareness? Just trying to find a positive reason;).
    Kind regards,
    Ps: no lights in our street by the way

  4. Annie, I’ve seen a similar pattern over the years so the trend is not limited to your area. My family was never big on putting up Christmas lights outside. When I was growing up I remember somebody jokingly referring to my house as the “Jewish house” due to our lack of Christmas lights standing out. Now it seems like the only people that still put up Christmas lights in my area are the people that go all out. Personally I wonder if the people that go all out are making other people not bothering anymore because they are not able/willing to put in the time and money needed to reach the cultural expectations of Christmas lights if you are going to put them up.

    1. I don’t know but your theory could be correct. Over the years I’ve noticed the same thing as well but usually the ones with small children generally put up a token amount of external decorations. This year, in this neighborhood at least, the token ones were all I saw. The ones who normally go all out didn’t decorate at all, yet in seasons past at least one of the dark houses won an award for their decorations. That is why the change was so notable to us.

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