Big Question Marks

Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Late is Too Late?

Dead Christmas trees littered the curbside weeks ago. The candy canes disappeared from store shelves even before that. Suddenly it's the end of January and there's that niggling feeling that we should consult our calendar more often, and oh, just maybe, perhaps, TAKE DOWN OUR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ALREADY!

The traditionalists reading this are probably wondering why we still have Christmas lights up on January 31st. Truthfully, they didn't take all that much effort to put up: there were no 20-foot ladders, feral animals in the eaves, or snow squalls to contend with, or anything like that. It was more like, untangle one strand of lights, get out the clear packing tape, and tape them up around the front window. On the inside. (One point for apartment living!) It's not like it'll be a massive effort to take them down.

But, we wonder, is there really a magic date to take down the Xmas lights?

After taking a very informal poll of opinions of those around us, we've heard some say that the beginning of March should be the very last deadline for Xmas lights still being socially acceptable (as it's pretty gloomy up to then, but spring is definitely on its way after that); others say February's when enough is enough; and there's the school of thought that Boxing Day is when it's all over for the lights. Not surprisingly, there's many opinions online about it too — including a Facebook group titled "Take Your Damn Christmas Lights Down". (The group has 97 fans.)

As people who haven't owned Christmas lights in a long time (OK, we did try to put some up inside our van back in Australia, but they tended to drain the car battery), getting back into these little nuances of northern hemisphere culture is still something we stumble over now and then. And we're a bit torn on the whole issue. Even if the Christmas cookies are eaten and the presents have been opened, it is still nice to come home after work to electric holiday cheer — though maybe it's more about denying that bitter, awful winter that has yet to come. Maybe the same sort of that seasonal denial that kept some of us (not naming any names here!) wearing flip-flops well into October. But after taking a visual poll of our street, we've found that at least four other houses are still proudly lighting their houses for Old St. Nick. So bah humbug that!
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OK, seriously though. How about you take our handy reader's poll and tell us what you really think, so we don't have to go consulting Yahoo! Answers or anything like that. Or Google, for that matter!