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  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.

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Ryan_Johnson

Seven Deadly Decorator Sins

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Someone I know on a Santa Claus website wrote something like this for Santas and it got me thinking of how it relates to decorators as well.  The holidays are such a busy time and we put A LOT of added pressure on ourselves with our displays and I thought it was important to think of this in terms that we can relate to.  As most of you know, I’m not a church-goer (I’m a Christian but don’t have much use for organized religion and the politics and posturing that often goes with it) but taking these “seven deadly sins” in relation to our shared hobby was enlightening to say the least:
 
Pride: Dictionary definition: “inordinate self-esteem”
Pride can be, in my opinion, a very good thing.  Taking pride in your work isn’t something to ashamed of.  But when you look at the definition I think the word “inordinate” pops out at me.  I’ve heard people say that their display is “the best” and even going so far as to be on tv or in print claiming to have “the best display in… (insert city, state, country here).  I find that incredibly disrespectful to those around you and those who participate in this great hobby.  Who says yours is the best?  You?  Your family?  The local contest?  Sometimes the people that do what we would consider “small” have made a big impact for the people around them.  Wreaths on the door, small light displays, etc are every bit a part of the holidays as a 15,000 universe RGB video-playing behemoth.  Regardless of what you do for the holiday we should all be proud of the work we put in.   We should like the kudos and thanks but we should temper it with a little humility and work to keep the “inordinate self-esteem” at bay.
 
Gluttony: Dictionary definition:” an emphasis on over-indulgence”
This is an easy one to tip into in our hobby.  Excess is what it’s all about to us sometimes!  But too many lights, too many songs, too much going on, and too much time taken away from jobs and families to set up… sometimes it’s just too much.  We’ve all heard that “less is more”.  This seems to fly in the face of extreme decorating!  But if we all work to find the things that make us (and our visitors) happy, without “over indulging”, we’re going to avoid gluttony when it comes to our holiday shows.  And don’t eat ALL of the turkey either!  
 
Envy: Dictionary definition: “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage”
How easy is it to find ourselves envious of another person’s display?  Their elements are better, they have newer technology or they achieve more traffic.  “Keeping up with the Joneses” is alive and well in this day and age and our holiday lights offer no rest from it.  NO ONE has the BEST of everything.  As my Pappy always said “you can have anything you want, but you can’t have EVERYTHING that you want.”  Enjoy what you have and let others enjoy it too.  Don’t be envious of something someone else has; be proud (without being “inordinate”!  See above!) of what you have worked to create.  See something you like that someone else has or is doing?  Work hard to get there but don’t become Grinch-green with envy over it. 
 
Sloth: Dictionary definition: “disinclination to action or labor”
Hobbies are cyclical.  I truly believe that.  We have discussions at LSH about how we need to bring veteran members back into the fold.  But the rigors of everyday life- jobs, spouses, friends, children, etc- take a front seat to our hobby, as they should if your priorities are set in the right place.  So I’m not talking aboiut when you take a year off or simply decide to leave the hobby altogether.  I’m talking about what happens when you get lazy.  You stop learning and looking for new ways to improve your display.  You start to take shortcuts and think “that’s OK no one notices any way”.  It’s better to take a year – or more – off and recharge than to simply throw it up half-hearted and take the easy way out.  Remember, no one ever created a great display by sitting on the couch and thinking about it.  If it was easy everyone would do it!
 
Wrath: Dictionary definition: “strong vengeful anger”
This could apply to a lot of things when setting up (or tearing down).  You can’t get that sequence “just right”.  The lights don’t look the way you expect.  People don’t come to see your display.  Last year (2012) I had this idea to fence in my yard with the wire mesh I had used on my shutters.  Should have been easy and worked great.  Unfortunately it did not and I had over 100 feet of wire mess cut to size and laying in the front yard.  I could have thrown it away in a fit (and believe me I’ve done things like that before!) but instead I simply rolled it up, said “oh well” and put it away for another year/purpose.  So that’s the type of physical, outward anger that we get when something doesn’t go perfectly.  Try to relax and have fun when that happens.  I know, I know it’s easier said than done.  But give it a try- I’ve mellowed considerably in terms of this the last couple of years.  And I do find myself enjoying it all a little bit more because of that conscious decision.
 
There is another component where wrath raises its ugly head in our hobby: online forums!  Online conversations turn nasty fast, more quickly than they should for people who are sharing a hobby and presumably are doing so to bring joy to others.  I see people accusing others of stealing ideas or telling people that their opinions are “wrong” (people, opinions by definition cannot be wrong.  The sooner we all get that the better off we’ll be).  Just because you’ve been a member of a certain group or forum since the mid-80s (a slight exaggeration) doesn’t make you the foremost expert on all things Christmas!  And even if you were/are (which you’re not!), why do people have to be so rotten and nasty to each other on forums?  Internet tough-guys or keyboard bullies should have no place in our hobby (or anywhere for that matter).  Sometimes it’s important to just agree to disagree, or shake your head at something someone posted and move on.  It’s alright, really.  Don’t get so upset that your “strong vengeful anger” takes hold and makes you out to be the bad guy.
 
Greed: Dictionary definition: “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed”
This is pretty self-explanatory: you want MORE.  More money, more lights, more traffic, more channels, more presents… more, more, more, more!   Excess is easy to get into when you are a part of this hobby, but to do so selfishly and to be constantly looking to getting something “more” isn’t something that any of us should be striving for.  It’s actually the opposite of what most our displays are about!  
 
Lust: Dictionary definition: “An overwhelming desire or craving”
Lust is often related to sexual desire (in fact that’s the primary definition for it) but in this case it doesn’t apply (or it better not at least!  If it does then you have far bigger issues than my little thread could hope to help!).  But the “overwhelming desire or craving” certainly is something we can probably all relate to.  You know what I’m talking about: We want to be powerful; to be considered an “expert” in our hobby.  We want to get a job where we are paid to fly the world over and do nothing but put up lights.  We simply want to be GREAT and to have people validate that for us.  Those are the type of feelings that lead us to lust after something.  Lusting after anything, whether it’s “stuff” or celebrity status, or something else in relation to our hobby is never a pretty thing.  LOVE your display and what it brings to others.  Don’t lust over things that are not, in the grand scheme of things, that important.
 
These seven deadly decorating sins have the power to sap us of the wonderful reasons we do this.  I have never in my years had someone tell me “I do this to be famous/rich/powerful/etc”, yet I see behaviors each year that tell a different story.  Like many things in life our strengths and best traits can turn quickly into our greatest opportunities and pitfalls.  Do what you can, for yourself, to keep these things from creeping into your holiday hearts and minds.  Your display and you as a person will be happier for it!
 
Have a safe and Merry Christmas!
 
Ryan

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Wanted to bump this back to the top of things so that everyone can remember some of these as we move into the busy season.  Not preaching to anyone, just trying help us ALL keep a little perspective.

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Thanks for the bump. I missed this the first time around and it's definitely an outstanding post.

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