December 1st is a date we dread at our house. The Franklin Road Christmas lights turn on that night. They are a drag to put up and a greater drag to get the timers right. Then there is three weeks of struggling with a suburban footpath with the foot traffic of a shopping mall. A nightmare of fighting off huskers and amplified bands and this year PlayStation who see the generosity of the householders as a marketing device and the families who see the fences put up to protect the grass verges as a jungle gym or a VIP enclosure for their benefit.
We pay the bills.
We see the bands off and demand to see the hucksters vending license.
We wonder why we do it.
But the first time we hear a child squeal with delight or watch them in their PJs carried down the road on Dad's shoulders we know why we do it. The lights are a beautiful gift and we are all proud to give it.
We know why we chase off the hucksters and turn away sponsorships.
We know why we refuse competitions and why we discourage charity collectors however worthy their cause and why we don't think badly played pop covers have anything to do with Christmas and choirs do.
This is a free gift freely given.
And we will go on giving it every year.