News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 30, 2012

LIZ CIANCONE: Holiday decorating better when personal, simple

Liz Ciancone
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — I fear that I am becoming an old poop!

I know that I remember the “Great Depression” and maybe that’s what is coloring my outlook. Incidentally, there was nothing that great about the depression! I remember that several of Dad’s old shipmates from World War I would arrive at our door and stay with us for a few days — or weeks — while they looked for work. That was a courtesy extended by some who did have work.

Whatever the reason, I am left with a reluctance to spend a bunch of money for anything except food, clothing or shelter. I do enjoy a bit of comfort or convenience with the necessities, but I think more than a few times before I unload my purse on anything to decorate my home or my yard. After all, the spirit of the holiday lies within, doesn’t it? It goes against the grain for me to empty my purse to buy blow-it-up plastic stuff to celebrate Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas or Easter. I await with disinterest blow-up hearts for Valentine’s Day.

Ed and I used to share a pumpkin to carve for Halloween. We always preferred a genial grin and then begged a candle stub from Mom so our creation could grin at night as it sat on the window sill — inside! Now, those who use real pumpkins outside are apt to find them smashed on the sidewalk by spoil sports before they get a chance to spread holiday cheer.

We always had a Christmas tree — inside. We were convinced that Santa brought our tree along with the goodies under it. Then we got older and fingered Santa, but even then we were not allowed to decorate the tree until Christmas Eve. I guess the theory was that the magic glow of Christmas stays fresh for the big day that way.

We had hard-boiled eggs to color, decorate and hunt at Easter, and there was a centerpiece on the table filled with jelly beans and chocolate eggs. Once Ed and I each got a chocolate Easter egg with our name on it!

We exchanged Valentines with friends at school, but that was it. Friendship was a bigger deal on May first when we made baskets, and hung the on the doorknobs at our friends’ homes.

Thanksgiving wasn’t such a deal. We had a big dinner every now and then anyway. Except for the year Dad won a turkey raffle and we made a pet of “Obidiah,” we didn’t name our Thanksgiving dinner nor shed a tear when the bird emerged from the oven done to a golden brown.

So, you will find no bits of plastic in my yard or in the house this Halloween. At Christmas you may expect a wreath on the door, but the bulk of my spending money (discretionarry funds, isn’t it?) will be spent to fill boxes under the tree with each box bearing the name of one of my nearest and dearest.

I figure my old poop license must be in the mail.