Somehow, despite the rush to get ready for Christmas there...

HOLIDAZE

December 20, 1991|By Tim Warren

Somehow, despite the rush to get ready for Christmas there are occasional moments of reflection or appreciation. Each day between now and Dec. 25, we'll share a thought or a tip for the holidays, or a memory of seasons past.

These past few weeks, while on the way to pick up my son at the sitter, I've encountered a spectacular light show as I drive up Hollins Ferry Road in Lansdowne.

There are, perhaps, a half-dozen homes whose owners apparently believe that decking the halls is not enough. One in particular catches my eye. There are two Santas about 3 feet high, and an enormous Santa's head is propped in the middle of a miniature wooden wishing well. A couple of reindeer prance around the front yard, and two small ones sit by demurely. Near the sidewalk, Frosty the Snowman keeps watch. Three cherubic carolers are perched in one corner.

There are huge strands of flashing colored lights covering the house from top to bottom; white lights on every square inch of bush, tree and other vegetation.

In my old neighborhood of Federal Hill, this spectacle would never do: Blazing light shows and illuminated Mrs. Santas were frowned upon by the chardonnay sippers. In an impressive show of solidarity, every house on one block of Montgomery Street would have an oh-so-tasteful display of white electric candles in one window.

The same holiday, with two ways of heralding it. But lately I've been thinking. Given the gloomy pronouncements of a recessionary holiday, with kids getting next to nothing because Mom or Dad is out of work, and all of us trying to hold on to every precious penny, maybe we need to send off a few roman candles. Perhaps, then, we especially need to embrace this Christmas of 1991 -- loudly and with feeling. So let's not whisper about it.

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