I’ve decided I’m suffering from holiday depression. It doesn’t take long to get depressed this time of year for sure. My daughter in San Diego just canceled her Christmas visit. Just a few minutes ago, on the phone. Can’t afford it she said. I understand of course, but it’s depressing. I was looking so forward to them coming. Now I’m just depressed. Did I say that already?
Being depressed is one of those overused conditions I think. We’re always depressed, either that or stressed. I think I’m stressed too. I’ve been trying to finish up all the toy orders I took at the craft fair and it’s the fourteenth of December and I’m stressed. I think I’ll make it, but it’s really stressing me out. Did I say that already?
I went to my very first Christmas parade last Saturday. Yeah, I thought it was odd too, never to have seen a Christmas parade. Froze to death, but it was really neat. I imagine when you’re younger the cold doesn’t bother you as much because there were a lot of younger people who didn’t seem fazed in the least by the 30 degree temperatures. I froze to death. Did I say that already? A 4H float pulled by a couple of white draft horses decided to take a dump right in front of us. I’ve discovered that warm horse manure dropped on frozen asphalt is not a pleasant smell. It didn’t bother me that much though because if a horse is going to take a dump in a parade, it’s going to do it in front of me for sure. I’m used to it. The two old ladies selling glow sticks starting at $6, directly in front of me, for 20 minutes, pissed me off a lot more than the horse manure. Picture trying to see anything with various multi-colored light-up sticks in the hundreds flashing in front of your eyes, in the dark. And they wouldn’t move! I heckled them, harassed them, and flat-out bitched out loud at them, and it didn’t deter one bit from their retail endeavor.
Ten thousand luminarias lined the parade route and the city center grounds. For those of you not familiar with luminarias, and I can’t imagine that there are many of you, they’re basically a lunch sack folded over at the top to keep them open, a layer of sand in the bottom to give them weight, and a votive candle. We line our sidewalks, driveways, and rooftops with them to light the way for the spirit of the Christ child. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a wonderful custom and very beautiful, but most of us have turned to the electric version and the plastic bags with no bottoms. Less likely to burst into flames. Paper bag, candle, flame, you can figure it out. Putting 10,000 of these together, placing them a few feet apart, and lighting each one, sounds a bit stressful. I heard that the volunteers started early that morning, just putting them out. They had to have been building them for days. I’ve done it for my own yard, so I know what it takes.
If the wind is blowing, even a little bit, lighting luminarias can be challenging at best. Thankfully for the volunteers who were lighting the 10,000 luminarias in the city center last Saturday, the wind wasn’t blowing at all. There were a lot of people walking around with barbeque lighters putting flame to candle to light the way for the Christ child, but I don’t think he was expected. If I had been a volunteer, the wind would have blown over 40 miles per hour. The wind chill would have been three below zero. That’s just the way I roll.
In reality, a luminaria is really a vigil fire, and is a pile of wood formed in a pyramid. The farolito is the little paper lantern for which it is now confused. Or you could stick a bunch of damn glow sticks in the ground. WTF.
I hope this holiday depression stuff doesn’t last too long. I have a lot to do before the big day. I haven’t finished the outside decorations yet, but I decided today, since my daughter is not coming, that I’ve got enough decoration out there. When I get the electric bill I’m sure it will have been way too much decoration out there. I noticed that there isn’t a lot of people decorating anymore. We live in an “older” neighborhood, meaning we have a lot of “old” people that have lived here for years, probably built the houses, so that could be one reason. It seemed everyone used to decorate the house during the month of December, but there’s only four or five houses decorated on our street this year.
In my home town, when I was growing up, Big Horn Avenue became Carol Avenue every December. Everyone on the street decorated their houses and we would make a yearly drive down Carol Avenue to see all the lights. It was quite the lighting competition. Nothing compared to synchronized lights and music we see today, of course, but it was amazing to us kids.
I always decorate the house. When we first moved to Reno, we started to decorate our house on Toro Ct. We started and then we went out and bought more decorations and really lit up the place. I noticed a house down the cul-de-sac would put up more lights, as I was putting up more lights. I would add a lighted lawn ornament, and they would add something. I was getting a real kick out of it. We were the only two houses in the cul-de-sac that were decorating. On a Sunday afternoon, a couple of weeks before Christmas, the neighbor, whom I had not met, came walking across the street while I was installing yet another addition to the extravaganza of light.
“Hey,” she said, “you’ve got to stop this. I can’t afford to buy any more decorations. My husband won’t stop.” She had a warm smile on her face and added that the house looked beautiful. I told her that their house looked great too, and didn’t lead on that I knew there had been a “competition” going on. “We live on a cul-de-sac for krisakes. Nobody drives down a cul-de-sac unless they live here.”
In my defense, you could see my house from the main through street, you couldn’t see her’s. I brought a lot of traffic down the cul-de-sac to see my house and the spotlighted Santa Claus slipping off the roof. They, of course, got to see her’s as they made the turn at the end of the cul-de-sac and passed by my house again.
I didn’t mail out any Christmas cards again this year. The last year I sent out Christmas cards, I mailed out 75. I got six in return. I probably wouldn’t have gotten any, if I hadn’t sent them out, I figured. I decided right then that I wasn’t sending out Christmas cards anymore. A little selfish, I agree, but 75 cards cost almost $28 back then, not to mention the cost of the cards themselves. No one has seemed to miss my Christmas greetings. I’ve only gotten three cards this year so far. Okay, I’ve moved and a lot of people don’t have my new address, but three? One of them is from the temp agency my wife is contracting for right now. Maybe I don’t have any friends. Thanks for the card Charlie and Alison. The kids are adorable. How did you get the dog to sit like that?
So here’s my video Christmas card. Merry Christmas everyone.