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Friday, December 9, 2022
ArlingtonOpinion'Old School' column: Deck the halls!

‘Old School’ column: Deck the halls!

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by CAROL McEWEN, for the Sun Gazette

OK, so we didn’t exactly have HALLS to deck, but we took our decorating seriously back in the Middle America of the 1950s.

Neighbors drug out their ladders and snaked fat, colored lights through trees and shrubs. Our current fascination with white lights didn’t exist then. The more color, the better.

Our industrious, younger neighbors might set up a large lit candle, an entire choir or a Santa with his sleigh in their front yards.

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Churches displayed lit Nativity scenes, watched over by angels, and a big star magically appeared at the Courthouse clock tower each Christmas season.

One evening, Mom would drive us around to oooh and aaah over all the pretty lights. Even if they were the same lights as LAST year (and they usually were), we still loved seeing them.

I also remember plenty of red plastic bows and wreath at front doors. Some of those bows were obviously veterans of many Christmases, but I thought them festive anyway.

Inside decorations were simple and reused from year to year.

We had a pair of small candles who were children with sweet angelic faces, dressed in choir robes. Of course, we never lit them, so they could stay young forever.

Usually we hung mistletoe somewhere in the house to encourage the 1950s version of “getting lucky.”

Our front storm door had multiple panes, so Mom and I used it as a canvas for the reigning decoration of the time: a stencil decorating kit, complete with holiday shapes and colored Bon Ami.

We taped a stencil to each pane and dabbed the pink goo into sled, mitten or bell stencils and the green goo into ivy leaves and Christmas trees. We had fun doing it and thought our artwork quite chic. In later years, we grew more sophisticated and used spray cans of white “snow” to fill the stencils.

We’d buy our live Christmas tree from our church or the local Boy Scouts and decorate it with the same fading or clumsily-made ornaments, topped by the angel with the bald spot and the missing wing. (The girl had taken one too many flights.)

After my dad brought home the annual poinsettia, our decorations were complete.

I know they can’t compare to the elaborate, sometimes professionally installed decorations of today, but those long-ago adornments still hold a special place in my heart. Call it the Old School touch.

Reach Carol McEwen at carolwrites4fun@gmail.com.

‘Old School’ column: Deck the halls!

OK, so we didn’t exactly have HALLS to deck, but we took our decorating seriously back in the Middle America of the 1950s.

Neighbors drug out their ladders and snaked fat, colored lights through trees and shrubs. Our current fascination with white lights didn’t exist then. The more color, the better.

Our industrious, younger neighbors might set up a large lit candle, an entire choir or a Santa with his sleigh in their front yards.

Churches displayed lit Nativity scenes, watched over by angels, and a big star magically appeared at the Courthouse clock tower each Christmas season.

One evening, Mom would drive us around to oooh and aaah over all the pretty lights. Even if they were the same lights as LAST year (and they usually were), we still loved seeing them.

I also remember plenty of red plastic bows and wreath at front doors. Some of those bows were obviously veterans of many Christmases, but I thought them festive anyway.

Inside decorations were simple and reused from year to year.

We had a pair of small candles who were children with sweet angelic faces, dressed in choir robes. Of course, we never lit them, so they could stay young forever.

Usually we hung mistletoe somewhere in the house to encourage the 1950s version of “getting lucky.”

Our front storm door had multiple panes, so Mom and I used it as a canvas for the reigning decoration of the time: a stencil decorating kit, complete with holiday shapes and colored Bon Ami.

We taped a stencil to each pane and dabbed the pink goo into sled, mitten or bell stencils and the green goo into ivy leaves and Christmas trees. We had fun doing it and thought our artwork quite chic. In later years, we grew more sophisticated and used spray cans of white “snow” to fill the stencils.

We’d buy our live Christmas tree from our church or the local Boy Scouts and decorate it with the same fading or clumsily-made ornaments, topped by the angel with the bald spot and the missing wing. (The girl had taken one too many flights.)

After my dad brought home the annual poinsettia, our decorations were complete.

I know they can’t compare to the elaborate, sometimes professionally installed decorations of today, but those long-ago adornments still hold a special place in my heart. Call it the Old School touch.

Reach Carol McEwen at carolwrites4fun@gmail.com.

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