These days, when Hawkeye and I have to walk home from the train station (about twenty or twenty five minutes at the pace of a mommy, I’m tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired four year old) or when I need to distract him from the deplorable absence of biscuits on the bus, I pass the time by having him look for all the newest Christmas decorations going up daily. Some people started even before November came to an end, but now that it’s December proper, more and more decorations are going up around us daily. Before I even had a chance to say anything about it myself, he asked me out of the blue at bedtime the other day when we’re going to put up our own tree. “Soon,” I assured him. “Now go to sleep!”
This is how earlier in the week we ended up on a slight detour on our way home from in the evening when we saw a lot of lights just a little ways down a side street from the train station. Now, I’ve lived in the States for a long while and I’ve seen plenty of over-the-top Christmas decorated houses there. And, to be honest, I’ve seen ones that are much gaudier. Somehow the whole ensemble just… works, maybe because most of it is composed of lots of little lights without any overly giant pieces to compete for attention. Even the two projection screens on either side of the front door get a bit lost in the overall effect – a nativity scene on the left and an animated Santa on the right. I was pretty impressed, though I have to say I’m not sure how I’d feel about living next door to something like that. And I don’t even want to imagine their electricity bill for the month of December!
This is our first Christmas in a completely residential neighbourhood that’s almost entirely made up of single-family terraced homes. The number of Christmas wreaths, garlands, strands of Christmas lights, and decorated Christmas trees in the windows are increasing daily. Some are minimal. A few look haphazard. Others go for that mature grown up Christmas elegance while the other end of the spectrum is gaudy mish-mash of decorations. Projections on the face of the houses is new to me but seems popular this year. I’ve seen some of them at Halloween and it appears they are holiday-interchangeable. None however quite reach the epic level of the house by the train station.
Things are also getting interested in our place of work. The official Christmas trees are up in the main entryways, and various departments are pulling out their own stashes of decorations. I ran into one of the guys from Records who has his own take on Santa’s sleigh. Rudolph is, of course, in the lead, and clearly Santa will be bringing sturdy archival boxes, and the magic wand of finding-all-files to the nice folks in Records given their efforts to get into the Christmas spirit. And as I was leaving this afternoon I spotted our Facilities team up high on ladders in the atrium preparing for tomorrow’s staff children’s Christmas party. I might have accidentally-on-purpose forgotten to tell Hawkeye that he’s going to see Santa tomorrow. but in my defense I think we just might be on course to squeak through this Christmas without him discovering that society at large expects him to make demands of Santa. No doubt this is the last year we will get away with it.
In my own department, it’s the second year that I’ve seen the Elf on the Shelf make an appearance. I know his owner, but it seems that multiple people have taken to finding places for him these days. I first saw him at the start of the week he was trying to scramble up the side of our floor’s mailbox with a letter addressed to Santa. Since it’s coming from an Elf in the employment law department of a law firm there’s a greater-than-zero chance that if it’s not a bill for legal fees, then it’s a summons for a claim against Santa. Could be stress in the workplace (December is a crazy time, after all) or perhaps the Payment of Wages Act or the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Workers) Act. I mean, how is an Elf expected to feed his family year round if he only works about one month of the year?
Next he had the cojones to try and steal from our weekly fruit delivery, and when he was caught red-handed he went to hide in one of the kitchen presses.
But it was clear this morning that his behaviour had caught up to him when I walked into the lift and discovered that someone decided to crucify him in the lift. It appeared a bit like a frat-house joke gone bad where alcohol flows freely and everyone’s having great fun until someone wakes up the next morning duct taped to the outside wall of their college dorm in their birthday suit with a strategically-placed banner proclaiming something embarrassing. Clearly this Elf is now going to suffer PTSD and mental distress and I’m sure a referral to our general litigation team is in the works.