Tuesday, December 2, 2008

seeing the lights

It’s advent and so Christmas is beginning. Unlike almost everyone else I know (I’m different, I am), I really like Christmas. It was the one time when things felt properly convivial and harmonious chez nous when I was a child and, like many other diaspora refugee folk, we did the whole thing with tree, baby Jesus in the manger close by and recordings of German carols sent by my grandma from Hannover. And we had the double celebration of traditional German Christmas Eve followed by the English one the next day – double the presents and conviviality, all good as far as I was concerned, and I still feel the same even though one is obviously energy-challenged and yes, the commercialisation etc. But there’s something at the heart of this winter festival that feels necessary and restorative. My mother’s partner is virulently anti-Christmas and she has finally capitulated and pretends she never really liked it, but she was the one who gave me my early Christmasses and I know the truth of it.

So anyway, I try not to moan overmuch when people put the flashing lights and galloping reindeer in their front windows, though it’s getting bad when even an unmade country road like mine is livid with one vulgar display after another and each year it gets worse. It’s a festival of light in darkness after all and each to their own. But yesterday Mr. Signs came in and asked if I’d seen the house over the road. “It looks like a police station,” he said. Today I saw what he meant. There are nasty blue lights all across one side of the house - you feel as though a siren might go off at any moment and it won’t be proclaiming peace and goodwill. If the darkness is banished too efficiently how can the candle properly shine?

I’m going to London tomorrow to see the daughter in a dress rehearsal of this. She will be a-singing and performing, being decently paid to do it, and I am delighted. She is one of those who works hard for every single break that comes her way.


Kahless said...

We dont do it ourselves, but I must admit, I tend to smile when I see house lit up light giant lightbulbs.

Zhoen said...

The light shines brightest against the velvet black. I like christmas without all the commercialism and excess, hard to come by. I've switched my affection to Thanksgiving because I find the warmth still there that once belonged to christmas.

Collin Kelley said...

I'd love to spend a Christmas in England. Maybe one day. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Well I do love fairy lights - the lights help lift my spirits. I'd be happy to have lights dangling in my tree in the front garden but much more than that is a little too much for me. Although I do joke every year about getting some giant inflatable or another.

I'm glad you like Christmas. Hw wonderful. I look forward to learning more about how you choose to celebrate :o)

nmj said...

I bought some blue fairy lights from Habitat a few years ago, but they are so bright I can't use them, they hurt my eyes. They were on sale, now I know why.

word ver: motoni

Reading the Signs said...

hello people,

good to see y'all - back from London and all done in.

Gael said...

Glad daughter is gainfully employed. We rather misguidedly took the kids to Dickens World recently, her version looks much more entertaining.
I am firmly in the white lights camp, must confess to having lights in our trees and 'icicles' from the eaves, but not for another week or so

Reading the Signs said...

I have white lights too, Gael, on a star-shaped basketweave thing in the window. So I'm not completely bah humbug about it. Though I am a bit, but for all the right reasons, obviously.

Daughter's show (more of a walk around experience really) was great fun. Hugely expensive if one has to pay to see it.