25 November 2014


Since before we moved to this house eight years ago, the upstairs apartment has been occupied by various unrelated single adults, some of whom moved on when their relationship status changed. This summer two of the three left, and the girlfriend of the third moved in. There were furniture purchases and other expected domestications.

Then about ten days ago I started noticing bits of holiday-related decoration appearing. There's a small window in the front wall of the house, about head-high, that lets light into the stairway going up to the second floor apartment. Vinyl lettering saying "Merry Christmas" showed up on that window, affixed to the inside. A couple of days later there was a package on the front porch addressed to the female upstairs resident. It was a doormat, and because it was wrapped in clear plastic I could see that it said "Wipe your merry feet." Indeed.

I grew up in a house where Christmas decorating was embraced enthusiastically, and I have friends who are equally merry, but I'm not used to seeing it so close by, or so early in the season. The majority of people in the neighborhood who do decorate seem to have an unspoken understanding that visible exterior decorations are not supposed to appear until after the Thanksgiving meal has been consumed.

On Sunday I went outside to get the paper and found that the window in the door leading to upstairs had been covered by a piece of holiday wrapping paper. It blocks the light that comes in through that small window and makes the vestibule dark, but at night when their stairway light is turned on it makes the paper glow warmly.

Last night when I took the dog out, I saw that a couple of rows of blinking lights had been strung on the second-floor porch railing. They were arranged in a straight line running around all three sides of the railing about halfway up it. There were white lights and blue lights (thankfully not those LED ones that emit a weird, artificial-looking light) but they weren't mixed together, and they'd been set up to blink in seemingly random patterns.

It struck me as something of a half-hearted effort, but perhaps it's only phase one in a larger light-show plan. It's still two days before Thanksgiving, so there's plenty of time for who knows what else to appear.

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