Outside, the wind whistles and the snow taps on the window panes. The holiday lights begin coming on in a regular evening ritual that sets off a sparkle and twinkle in the air, like fairy dust over my neighbor’s houses.

My street is lined with homes built back in the 1930s and 1940s and most have an architectural Colonial flavor which gives Torrey Street a bit of a Norman Rockwell feeling.

But, as chilly and frosty as it is, inside of my new/old house I can curl up on the sofa and watch the flames, rising and crackling in my fireplace.

I have waited for years for a fireplace, and now I actually have two fireplaces in my new/old house, which I consider to be a complete embarrassment of riches.

For the record, only one works. Isn’t that always the way in an older home?

I have beautiful glass doorknobs, but not all of them open the doors as they should. Some windows are almost tight, but not quite. There are cabinet doors that stick and others swing open and won’t stay closed. There are loose tiles in the entryway that will have to be grouted and edged. But, I must say, despite its shortcomings, it surely has a lot of charm and is a very homey, cozy place to grow old (or older.)

The windows in this Dutch Colonial are called “six over six” for six panes above another six panes. The house is painted a dark blue-gray and there are three dormers on the roof and a wide porch across the front. I wanted it to look special for our first Christmas and so Kyle helped me hang some fresh pine roping across the front with little white lights and he set up one, white LED candle in every window. I hung a nice, full wreath on the door and with the latest snow, it looks like Currier and Ives or maybe a Hallmark card. I don’t think I can decorate like this every year — but it is the first, and so, most special.

From the street you can see my Frazer fir through the window. I don’t mean to be a braggadocio or as my grandpa would say: “too big for my britches” (which I am). I surely have nothing to brag about if you look online and see the lights that others have put up for a competition in decorating contests.

With the advances in technology there are houses with thousands of blinking, flashing lights of every color in patterns that are repeated in time with music played outside for visitors.

The music guides the lights around and everything is synchronized. A little too Las Vegas for a woman of my genteel maturity, but beautiful in its own way.

I much prefer the large plywood sign installed by my neighbors which features Charlie Brown and all the gang which look to be hand-painted with the statement “You’re not a blockhead Charlie Brown!”

I like the big “Macy’s” style characters that are blown up on the lawns with a fan to keep them upright — they add a lot of pizzazz. The only problem being that during the day when they aren’t “on” they’re collapsed and they look a bit like a pile of laundry out on the lawn. However, there are some very clever ones I must agree. I saw a Santa coming out of an opening door on an outhouse which remains one of my favorites.

The inflatable, balloon-type lawn decoration sport Santa or Frosty driving a train, a tractor, riding a bronco or in his pajamas drinking hot chocolate, among others.

It would be pretty hard to have duplicate outside decorations with all the choices.

For myself, I like the simple candles and the pine garland. My lights are not chasing around in battery-operated glory, blasting out a rap song, but the single candles and little white lights are more my speed. More like the original “silent night,” eh?

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