I’ve mentioned that we don’t do the festive light show outside for Christmas – nary a light. We are minimalists when it comes to an outdoor show for the holidays. I’ve got a simple wreath on the front door and our porch light and inside lights shining out will have to suffice. We’ve been discussing this again this year, and we both think back to the times when the only Christmas décor in our parent’s mid-century homes was the Christmas tree, presents underneath, and perhaps a decoration on the front door. We like to keep that tradition.
My mother did like to do up a new decoration each year for the front door. One year, when we’d moved from a New York City apartment out to a house in the Long Island suburbs, she created a memorable display. The door was sheathed in shiny aluminum foil and she glued up a great cluster of small, wrapped gift boxes for the center. Thinking to light this display properly, she went to the hardware store and purchased a special bulb for the porch light. The next day one of the neighbors stopped by and, knowing my father was in the hospital, advised her to change the bulb. He told her the significance of the color: it was red. My mother, in her thirties, had had no idea. Needless to say, that night the bulb was green, and we had a green bulb at Christmas – and a great family story once we kids were old enough to appreciate it – from then on.