No Bird’s Nest

It’s spring time and all the snow are gone, but I have not put away our Christmas lights at our front door. Well, it is still cold. That’s my excuse.

Then this morning, we have noticed a lot of bird activity in our Christmas light topiaries. When we peaked, we found that a bird was trying to build a nest in our topiary.

It was flying back and forth with some small twigs in its beak. However, it sensed that we were watching through the glass, that it stopped working and dropped the twig from its beak.

It eventually flew away and abandoned building the nest in our topiary altogether. Perhaps that is a good thing as I don’t think it would be a safe place for a bird’s nest anyway.

Needless to say, it forced me to finally put away our Christmas topiary lights.

Lights Up

Our Christmas lights are up.

Actually, I set them up since last week. Only to take them down again.

No, it’s not that the neighbors complained that it was too early for Christmas. It’s not that we contemplated on canceling Christmas. And it’s not that Santa is not coming to town. Nothing like that.

Why I took the lights down has a more rational reason.

Last week, when we were experiencing a seasonably warm November (up to 70’s degrees Fahrenheit), I decided on a whim to put the Christmas lights up. I hang them up at the edge of our roof. I rather put them up when it was warm and not when it’s bone-chillingly cold.

So with my trusty ladder, and with the help of my son, I climbed up and dangled our Christmas lights for all the neighbors to see. By the way, I was not the earliest among our neighbors to set up Christmas lights. I saw one down the road, even two weeks earlier than me.

Risking life and limb (maybe not life, only limb, for it was only 10 feet high), and after more than an hour of work, I completed setting our outside Christmas lights up. I was so proud of my accomplishment.

Only to find out, after I plug them in to the electric outlet, that almost half of the lights were not working. What a bummer!

All my efforts and time spent were gone down the drain. I suddenly felt my back really ached. Maybe it was more imagined than real. I almost got a headache too, when I thought of banging my head to the wall!

I have no one to blame but me. Why did I not check the lights if they’re working or not, before I hang them up? Yeah, very brilliant of me.

My wife said, trying to keep a straight face, “at least you’re not making that mistake again.” Thanks dear, that makes me feel better. Not.

I left the unplugged bum lights hanging for a week , while I let my disappointment simmer down a bit.

Then this week, after getting a new set of Christmas lights, which I think was time for an upgrade anyway, I finally took the old non-working lights down, and hang up my new brighter and yet more energy efficient LED lights.

And yes, I tested them first, even if they’re new, before I hang them.

Our temperature also got significantly colder this week, with the lowest in the 20 – 30’s degrees Fahrenheit. But I just bundled up, suck it up, and do what I needed to do.

As I look at our Christmas lights tonight, somehow they look more beautiful than ever. They better be, for I spent double the time and effort putting them up. Make you appreciate the things that you work your tail off.

Of course I also gained a notable experience and a valuable lesson learned: never assume, always check it out first. And that just not apply to Christmas lights.

I am not taking them down until after next year’s Christmas.

(*photo taken with an iPhone)

Season’s Tinsel and Glitter

When I was growing up in Manila, we did put up some decorations during Christmas. The ornaments were not much – a colorful parol that we hand-made (oftentimes as a school project) hanging outside the window, and a small Belen in the living room, but that was enough to spruce up the holiday mood. We don’t have a Christmas tree, not even a scraggly fake one, though sometimes we had “kumukuti-kutipap” lights. And I don’t mean lights being on and off due to the frequent power outages that we had then.

Now that I moved out of the country, it also became a tradition in our home here in Iowa to decorate for Christmas. This, I believe, decreases the pangs of homesickness for us, while in turn, creates wonderful memories for our children. We even have a real live Christmas tree inside our home that we get from a tree farm each year. And we don’t need to add fake snow, we have lots of the real one. Yes, too much (*sigh*) of the real one .

Here are some of our Christmas decor this year:

parol made of capiz (from the Philippines)

“Behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them.” Matthew 2:9

"PEACE" hanging in our fireplace mantel

“Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”

wreaths adorning the stairs

star lights on the window

“O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright.” (We Three Kings of Orient Are)

soft glow on the porch

dangling luminescence on a clear night

“It came upon a midnight clear.”

trimmings on our tree

silver bells, silver bells.....I mean......balls?

“O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!”


“Joy to the world, the Lord is come.”

crystal Nativity

It is easy to get lost in all the tinsel and glitter of the holidays. But let us not forget the real reason for the season.

the real reason

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Isaiah 9:6