Some of us at work collect these Audubon stuffed birds. You press on their back and an authentic birdcall sounds. Sometimes, to relieve the monotony, one person will start it off and soon answering birdcalls come from around the room. It's rather amusing and fits in with my belief that a huge room filled with staffers is not much different from a kindergarten class except for the work being done and the naps not taken. The birds in this shot from last Christmas were decked out in holiday hats.
Which brings me to my point. I looked out the kitchen window yesterday to see workers swarming over the grounds of the assisted living center behind my house. On the grass they were setting up a life-sized Santa in his sleigh with eight not-so-tiny reindeer. Multitudes of white lights were being strung on the gazebo, stapled across the rooftops, hung from the gables, and swagging the trees. This is the beginning of the holiday display that the center puts up, a bit more elaborate each year. When it's in it's full glory and the lights are switched on every evening after Thanksgiving, I no longer have to turn on the nightlight in my kitchen to find my way around in the wee hours. It's rather like living next door to Chevy Chase in "Christmas Vacation" but at least it doesn't blow all the power in the neighborhood now that public utilities has put a new transformer in.
After reeling from the thought of Christmas decorating coming right up, I opened my door to find a package from my daughter. She sent me these glass lanterns from Gardener's Supply Company to kick-start my own holiday decorating. These are really charming, with little leaded glass window-panes. They take a votive candle at the bottom. Bearing in mind an unfortunate incident from a couple of years ago, she also sent battery-operated votives. They flicker like a real candle and aren't likely to set my wall-hung kitchen clock on fire from a candle burning too close to the plastic frame which would scorch the brick wall and send burning bits of toxic plastic floating across the kitchen. As if!
So when do you start decorating for Christmas? Thanksgiving weekend? Sooner? The night before Christmas? All I know is that soon I'll have to throw out the pumpkins and the frost-blasted chrysanthemums lining the front walk and haul out the boughs of holly.