Last night I went with my friend Eileen for a Christmas-light tour of her neighborhood. The neighborhood is a residential air park called Polly Ranch, and her car is a spiffy BMW convertible and she had the top down, so the tour was special. Highlights:
Four or five Santas in airplane-sleighs plus or minus aviator glasses or spinning propellers. Two of Santa’s airplanes were twin engine types. Since they are yard-art inflatables, this brings a new slant to the aviation descriptor “light twin.”
There were two life-size three-dimensional Santas, one of them animatronic. There were one or more renditions each of the Grinch, Charlie Brown and company, and Garfield the cat. Reindeer, elves, nutcrackers, tin soldiers, snowmen and common-garden-variety Santas were out in force along with giant wrapped presents and candies. Also, nativity-donkeys, Three Kings, and Child in the Manger tableaus – some of these in the same yards as a profusion of the Santa stuff. Why choose between coruscating consumerism and the Christ Child, when you can have both?
Also notable for one reason or another:
A side yard with three reindeer done in purple lights. Purple?
A yard with dominated by a rabble of candy-canes in lights of various colors, heavy on the red and blue, most of them standing a bit off vertical.
Then there was the yard with strings of white lights randomly flung over trees and trailing to the ground in all directions. The effect was as if the innocent trees had been toilet-papered with strings of lights. Eileen guessed that the family teenager(s) had been ordered to decorate the yard this year.
On the other aesthetic hand, palm trees, with their tall slim boles, lend themselves to being neatly wrapped with lights, whether white or blue or a candy-cane effect of red and white.
One home kept the LED lights and glitz under control and had luminarias- the brown paper bags filled with sand and glowing candles (or electric equivalent) – lining a curving walkway to the front door. Nice.
Then there was the soundtrack. Eileen played and, since we were in her convertible, to some degree serenaded the neighborhood with Christmas songs by the a capella jazz/musical farce group Straight No Chaser. They ring changes on Christmas carols, like using the theme from Mission:Impossible to as the intro measures to their version of “We Three Kings.” (It sounds great.) To their credit, the carols that Straight No Chaser really folds and spindles aren’t the religious ones but the schmaltzy/silly secular ones. Which are fair game.