* In the interest of full disclosure, I should note here that my part is minimal. I fact, I am usually told - "Bugger off and leave it me!"
So it was, yet again this year, that I dutifully complied and left ALL of the hanging and draping of lights on bushes, windows and door frames to 'she who must be obeyed'. My sole contribution is to ensure that every-darned string of lights is plugged directly - or relayed - to a timer. I do NOT wish to have to run out and plug in (and later, unplug) things from 5 or 6 grounded electrical outlets.
Above, I was speaking of the strands of multicolored and twinkling lights that have somehow become a part of Christmas that once (in my childhood days) did not exist. I cannot recall ANYBODY having any outside decorative lights - even those on the inside were simple white candles. I am certain my parents did not allow those on the tree to be lit. Good Lord - imagine the fire risk! But, I momentarily have digressed; back to the outside:
It IS my sole 'duty' (here, I reciprocate with the 'Bugger off' command) to erect the outside nativity scenes. We have, for 30 or more years, possessed a (approximately one-third scale) three piece - Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus - nativity set. Our kids, bless their little ignorant pre-teen hearts, being unable to say 'Nativity Scene', referred to it as 'The Jesus Set'! We have that very SAME set - 'Mary' has a acquired a few tiny cranial fractures, 'Joseph' seems to be weathering old age very well, but the holy infant's flimsy manger has completely fallen apart (Joseph's carpentry skills must have declined through the years) and has, for the past 3 years, been replaced with a metal milk crate. OK - a little 'hokey', but I did spray paint it and drape it with Douglas Fir branches.
The "Jesus Set', I forgot to mention, has a small light bulb in the bowels of each figure - and this year has a large star above the 'invisible' stable. A few small Douglas Fir branches, zip-tied to metal posts, serve as the sole protection for the Holy Family from the cold winter air in St. Louis. [The 'original' action took place on a mild, Middle East night - in March! There were lambs in the hillsides, remember?] This star, unlike the one followed by the Magi, 'goes off' at 11:45 pm - as do all the other light outside the house of 'Swansea Jack', for the electricity dials on the meter have accelerated almost to terminal velocity after the numerous timers came on at 4:45 pm.
The collective stringing and plugging of lights was accomplished all in time for viewing on the first day of Advent - Sunday 1st December; but more work lay in store. That tale will be related tomorrow. For now, enjoy the spoken greeting (in Welsh) - 'Nadolig Llawen', Merry Christmas!