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Some time in November each year, I notice strange lights in the early twilight. Mysterious artifacts appear in otherwise commonplace yards. As sunset and closing time converge, a pattern emerges. Reindeer, glowing Santas, and elaborate yard displays all mean that Thanksgiving is here! In this area, the Christmas season lasts from about Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Christmas decorations which were on store shelves in September are usually on display by the week following Thanksgiving.

Some homes have most of their decorations inside: not exactly hidden, since folks with Christmas trees often keep the shades open in the evening. I've wondered which trees have the glow-in-the-dark replica - in purplish blue - of the Star Wars Death Star from Return of the Jedi that was for sale in the fall of 2002. And, of course, which trees are graced by a figurine of Darth Vader. With his light saber.

By Thanksgiving Day, Sauk Centre downtown streets are festooned with green municipal garlands and red decorations. Safe "Happy Holiday" signs hang over Main Street, north and south of downtown. I can remember when this was the Christmas season.


Hey, man, like,
ho, ho, ho:
you know?

  I have reconciled myself to the idea that the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be replete with Santas, colored lights, reindeer, more-or-less-stylized representations of small conifers, and the occasional manger scene. In fact, all those elaborate visual displays are fun to watch.

So, to join in this seasonal celebration, here's my contribution


Driving around Sauk Centre in December, especially at night, is a trip through a sort of fairyland. A few households put a great deal of effort into their displays: lighted wire sculptures of reindeer, trees loaded with glowing lights and Santa-heads, festoons of lights and greenery, and crowds of glowing plastic snow-people.

This family has most of our Christmas decorations up by mid-December, although of course the Christ Child won't be in the crèche until Christmas.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day finally come, the time of year when we celebrate the coming of our Lord into this world. Now it is time to say:

Merry Christmas!

"Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2, 14

"Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests."

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory: the glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love."

John 1, 14

By New Year's Day, people are taking down their Christmas decorations: I'd just as soon celebrate Christmastide from a little before Christmas Day to Epiphany. Which is what we do in this household.

The street department was takes down the holiday decorations in the first week of the new year. Some people still have their outside displays lit up, but most of that ends on the weekend.


Winter Spring Summer Fall


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Text, other than quotes from Bible, is copyright © Brian H. Gill 2001
Quotes from the Bible are from the New American Bible, St. Joseph's Edition.


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This page last updated: December 19, 2010