01 December 2003

25 Day Until Christmas

Today, unencumbered by yesterday's decluttering delay, I did my first Sunday of Advent decorating. This usually involves the outside of the house.

Several years ago, one of the "in" craft things was something Michael's called a "mailbox huggie," a piece of plastic curved like a saddle to sit over a "country style" mailbox (as opposed to the ones of my youth that were mounted on the house next to the front door; remember when the mailman used to walk his route and come right up to your door?) and having small hooks to fasten items to. The idea is to decorate the huggie with flowers or vines and set it over your mailbox. I wired mine with a pine bough, complete with pine cones, on either side along with a big plastic red bow; they recommended fabric bows, of course, but knowing the two or three hard rains (at least) we get during the holiday season, plastic seemed more weatherproof and less likely to look limp.

The easiest task was to remove the Thanksgiving banner and mount the angel banner in its place. The angel's white skirt is sadly yellowing; it looks as if this banner will require replacement next year. In the strong Georgia sun, even in winter, these big banners rarely more than last two years before they begin to fray.

The glass doors have a small wreath the size of a dinner plate, faux evergreen with one each bright matte finish ball in blue, red, green, yellow and purple, with gold tinsel between the ornaments adding a metallic glint. It can be seen well from the street, unlike the big wreath on the front door, which is sadly obscured by the screen. This, since it is sheltered by the porch roof, is decorated with a big wired red velveteen bow and Christmas colored "picks." Even with the porch light on it doesn't show up, so I gave up last year and bought it a set of lights. Against the gold door foil, it looks rather nice, although I wish I could find silver door foil or at least red-and-white striped like one year to make the wreath stand out more. The conventional door foils found come in only red, green, or gold and do not make the wreath "pop," as they say on the decorating shows..

I also set out the Advent wreath; I'd despaired in finding the proper set of candles and was delighted to find them, in all places, JoAnn. Various sources I have consulted say different things about the candle colors. White is recommended in some places, all purple candles in others. Several of the Lutheran sites recommend blue. Other sites say three purple and one rose-colored (pink) candle that is lighted on the fourth Sunday of Advent.

I learned this differently, that the rose-colored candle was lit on the third Sunday. The explanation, from a Lutheran site, is that the "...joyfully colored pink candle is reserved for the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. 'Gaudete,' which means 'rejoice' in Latin, is the opening word of the traditional Introit for that Sunday: Rejoice!… the Lord is near. (Philippians 4:4).

I also packed Thanksgiving items up for next year. More decorations will go up this Saturday, on St. Nicholas Day.

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