As I pen this post from my New Hampshire kitchen, it is a quiet Easter morning—sunny peacefulness broken only by muffled sounds of cursing outside the window. Yes, over my pitiful objections, my husband is taking down our outdoor Christmas lights from the roof. And yes, I know what you’re about to say, dear readers. APRIL? The Shock. The Horror. The Disgust. But wait, hear me out…
Some of you who know me well may have noticed I haven’t posted any beautiful spring photos to my Facebook page. Those first hints of daffodil. The brave crocus poking through the snow. Potted flowers of every hue bringing cheer to newly-opened patios. And heaven forbid, my friends in more tropical locales with their gorgeous climbing hibiscus or whatever (looking at you, Chick Leslie Karst). That’s because it is Mud Season, that fifth, inescapable season we love to hate here in New England. We have no flowers now. Maybe a few tree buds down by the Mass border. Official State Opening Day for planting? Memorial Day, I do not lie. But in the good news department, I was overjoyed recently to glimpse our First Robin. Here he is. Yay.
He looks hungry. Cold. Alone. I bet he appreciated our welcoming holiday lights, after his long trip from Southern Paradise. He has guts, I tell you. A pioneer spirit.
Further confession: Our holiday lights are not confined to the outdoors. I may have strung just a few inside, too. My hubby has gotten so used to them, he hardly notices them anymore (shh!). They go up each year around Thanksgiving, due to full-out dark of night by 4 pm. Usually they’re gone by Valentine’s Day or so, but this year I got a pandemic reprieve. These lights are not garish, multicolored, flashing disco orbs, mind you. They’re infinitesimal, fairy-type lights, entwined with extremely fake but fire-retardant evergreen boughs, in just 3 rooms: living room, kitchen, and my office.
But whyyyyyy, you ask? I guess, for me anyway, these little lights extend the deep-winter hygge inspired by Scandinavian climes. You know, the cozy, comforting concept of “let’s all wrap up in a blanket in front of the fire with marshmallowed-cocoa and a good book, or at the very least, Netflix. Maybe even that WIP.” According to 23 and Me, I am of nearly 100% Irish descent…but I may also be the teensiest bit Swedish. I have to admit, I don’t think the practical, minimalist Swedes would be impressed by my tardiness in bidding holiday lights farvȧl. And the Irish would be downright disgusted.
But the lights do serve a purpose: schedule management, in this work-from-home era. They’re timed to announce important daily appointments: 5:40 in the kitchen for “cocktail” hour; 6:30 in the living room for the Gloom and Doom Report with David Muir; 8 pm in my office for that key slot: Catch up on Work/Writing Not Accomplished Today. Later, when the lights extinguish themselves in staggered fashion, it means it’s time (or past time) for bed. If the office lights zonk out before I do, I’m beyond hope.
The lights could also be viewed, with just a bit of stretch, as harbingers of spring. I strung shiny paper shamrocks below the evergreen in the kitchen, for Paddy’s Day. Green, right?
For everyone still horrified: I have ordered spring doormats. Summer, too, while I was at it. Lobster-themed. And more up-to-season wreaths will be in place as soon as I finish typing this, I swear. Baby steps, folks.
I will do better. By Fourth of July, I should be completely caught up. Happy Spring Hygge to All!
Readers, we won’t ask when you take down your outdoor lights–but what do you consider the first sign of spring in your neck of the woods?