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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Better late than never: Let there be light

The lights were my wife’s idea.

We’ve been married almost 30 years but have never done outdoor Christmas decorations. At least not that I recall.

But you see, we have these neighbors.

No, this has nothing to do with competition. The neighbors in question are warm, friendly people. They are quite sane. And the holiday lights with which they adorn their house are simple and old-fashioned-looking.

When we first noticed them after Thanksgiving, my wife and I both thought they looked like a string of different-colored bulbs from our own childhoods long ago.

We enjoyed seeing them.

So my wife started thinking about the little boys who live in that house across the street. When they look out their front window at our home, how many signs of Christmas cheer do they see?

Uh, that would be zero.

My wife was not satisfied with that. So she started talking to our friend Ken, who has been doing some work in our basement. How hard would it be to put some lights up on the house and the garage?

Not hard. So up they went. One long string of blue lights. One string of white.

We don’t know to what extent the little boys across the street have noticed. But we think the lights are festive.

Now, when I move about Spokane after dark, I see the houses that don’t have lights up. And I wonder:

What’s wrong with those people?

Today’s Slice question: Do you put pressure on yourself to have an epic Christmas?

I suspect some of us do. I’m just not sure it’s the kind of thing you can arrange or guarantee.

I suppose certain kinds of experiences are more apt to present themselves if you are counting birds in the backcountry, skiing in moose territory or preparing a roast beast dinner for 20. As opposed to, say, downing some coldies while watching TV in sweatpants for 14 hours.

But what if something you see on TV is the catalyst for a family moment you will cherish? It could happen.

To each his own.

It would not be an original observation to suggest that, for most, sharing makes the day. Often, that involves church services or amped-up children. But it can play out in an unimaginable number of scenarios.

So here’s hoping you don’t feel like you have to orchestrate the ultimate, mind-blowing, four-star Christmas. Perhaps that will happen all on its own. And, like the amazing present you never could have predicted, maybe you won’t even see it coming.

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Merry Christmas.

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