Thursday, March 11, 2010
A Virginian in Vermont: Christmas Decorations
When I was growing up in Richmond, Virginia. January first was the day all the Christmas decorations had to be down by. It was do or die, and no matter what else was going on, the decorations came down. I don't know what the reason was, but I do know that either New Year's Eve or New Year's day was marked by pulling down the tree, packing up the lights, and rendering the house devoid of the celebration that was Christmas.
It wasn't just us. The entire neighbor hood went from fairly land of lights and wreaths to Plainville, USA overnight.
Traditions dies hard, and when I had a house of my own, I continued the habit (I hesitate to call it tradition, because no one could really tell me WHY we took everything down.), and did the same thing, making sure everything was down and packed away by New Year's, year after year for twenty five years or so.
Take a look at your calendar. And then at the pictures in this post. They were all taken in the last week or so. Yep, it's still Christmas in Vermont. People here keep their decorations up an extra special long time.
I like to think it's because they want to extend the Christmas season, to have reminders of Christ's birth around them for months instead of a few weeks, that somehow Vermonters are a celebratory lot. But asking around give me a does of reality - Winters are brutal around here and people don't spend a lot of extra time outside in the cold and snow.
OK, I can accept reality, even when it doesn't jibe with my rose colored glasses view of the world. Still, whatever the reason, the result, for me, is the same - a months long reminder of the joy of Christmas as you drive by houses with wreaths on the door, or the manger scene in front of Rupert United Methodist Church, or the houses still running their lights late into the night.
I have gotten into the spirit, leaving my wreath up late into Winter. There must be some sort of Vermont magic, because it was a "real" wreath of pine, yet three months after Thanksgiving, it was still green, not brown and dried. I like to think that it's God preserving the Celebration, but I know it's really just too cold to dry out completely. Freezing things is a favorite way to preserve things, after all.
So here I am in March, still surrounded by Christmas and loving it. Maybe we'll think about taking things down by Easter here in Vermont. But I am in no hurry.
PS, the pictures were all taken in West Pawlet, VT. You can click on them for a larger version.