Christmas is all about traditions, some wonderful, some dreaded. (Fruitcake and eggnog would fall into the latter category. Although I still have a fruitcake from 1973 that I used to anchor my boat.)
But the suggestion to alter a tradition this time of year is usually met with some resistance.
Living in a saltbox Colonial house with 22 symmetrically placed windows, white candles in each window and white mini-lights have always been our go-to holiday accoutrements. But this year I suggested something different.
“Honey,” I cautiously approached the wife, “how would you feel if we changed the color scheme of our exterior illumination for this Christmas?”
“How would you feel if I served you eggnog and fruitcake for Christmas dinner?” she quickly retorted.
“For 35 years we have been super traditional in our lighting design. How about if we introduce some color into our decor to promote a more festive experience for our neighbors and passersby?”
“So what you’re saying is that you want to light up the house like a beer joint? You want to take 35 years of tradition and toss it out the window like some old fruitcake? I am appalled by your suggestion! Who are you, the Grinch? I don’t even know you anymore.”
And with that the wife sat down and began fanning herself.
Admittedly, I had reservations about changing tradition, but at 70 years old, if I don’t do it now it may never happen. So I approached the wife again.
“Honey, what two colors scream Christmas?”
Still fanning, the wife said, “I guess that would be red and green.”
“That’s right. Those colors came from the ancient Romans who used evergreens and holly berries to adorn their homes for winter festivals. My idea is to put a garland on the picket fence with red and green lights. And in the window candles we can alternate red and green candle bulbs.”
“Might I remind you that we are not ancient Romans. But I do love the colors of Christmas. And it might be nice to try a new, more colorful lighting palette. Let’s do it. Red and green it is.”
The wife and I have been decorating this old house the same way for Christmas for 35 years. We still put up a big tree. We still decorate every room. And we do it because our adult children love to come home for Christmas to the place where they grew up.
“What do you think the kids will say about our new red and green exterior illumination design?” I asked the wife.
“We’ll have to wait and see, dear. But since it’ll look like a beer joint and since they like beer, I’m guessing they’ll pull right into our driveway.”
This Christmas, may all of your old and new traditions be a blessing to your family. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.
Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at [email protected]