I grew up in a house where decorating for Christmas was a big deal.
When I went to college, I decorated my dorm rooms/apartments with great enthusiasm -- bringing a bit of home to my home away from home.
My sophomore year, Mom sent Snoopy's Santa suit via UPS and included 24 small gifts in his sack as an advent calendar of sorts. One day I'd get a pack of gum; another day I'd find a new gum eraser. We did advent calendars my whole life, so this seemed rather normal to me. My roommates thought it was extravagant.
My senior year, my roommates and I built a fireplace out of cereal boxes and hung athletic socks (yes, white ones with brightly colored stripes around the calves) from the "mantle."
Later, when I moved into my own home in the hood, I continued the tradition, and began to develop more of my own flair.
The week after my mom died (11/29/2000), Charlene came over and spent a good part of the day helping me decorate my house for Christmas -- tree and all. Dragging out the boxes and putting things in place -- and telling the stories that went with various ones (you KNOW there were stories) was therapeutic in all sorts of ways.
Since moving to Florida, I've experienced some new twists to decorating -- when I've decorated. Tonight I hung lights in the bushes out front. I was going to do it barefooted -- but then remembered that I was going to be tromping around a bit in the mulch and that's not terribly comfortable, so I put on flip-flops. THAT is Florida Christmas decorating.
By far my favorite and the most often repeated decoration in the house is the "nativity." Maybe tomorrow (once I get the greenery up and out) I'll take some photos share them. To say that I collect nativity sets would be true -- but I will quickly qualify that with the disclaimer that I don't collect "every set I see" by any means. I'm rather picky. I wait until I find ones that strike me particularly or that display the artistic expressions of one culture or another. I have a few that are nostalgic more than anything else. Yes, I'll have to show you some of my favorites.