23 December 2011


When people ask if Singaporeans decorate for Christmas, I typically laugh and explain that Singaporean shopping centers decorate for Christmas like no one I have ever seen. Each year Singapore creates a theme and all retailers develop elaborate displays according to that theme.

Giant decorated trees are found inside and outside each major retailer, decorations fall from the ceilings many stories below open atria and Christmas music can be heard as early as October. Yes, Singapore decorates for Christmas though the vast majority of the population does not actually celebrate Christmas.

I thought it would be good to give our non-American audience a peak into how we decorate for Christmas over here. Well, if people were actually allowed to celebrate Christmas over here, I might have a lot more photos. In America, the land of the free where people left England to celebrate the freedom of religion, among other things, we are not really allowed to be publicly Christian.

The PC Police (politically correct) have banned people from saying “Merry Christmas,” and advised that “Happy Holidays,” would be best. Nativity scenes that are currently seen on government property will not be there next year and a sign boasting atheism might accompany said nativity scene before the year is through.

Streets and malls used to be decorated to the nines but no more. I don’t know if people are afraid that they will upset those who celebrate other Christmas-like holidays such as African holiday Kwanza and Jewish holiday Hanukkah. Maybe they want to be as PC as possible. Maybe they are just lazy.

Either way, Christmas Lane no longer seems to exist.

There are two families in our area that are not afraid to show their Christmas spirit so I made sure to drop by the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, I got a new phone and accidentally deleted my photos, so please forgive me and continue reading.

The first stop was in my hometown where a local multi-millionaire moved in more than a decade ago. The man graduated from my high school and has since done a lot for the local community. His custom-built home hides in the trees this year behind thousands of multi-colored lights and lighted signs. I was not impressed with this year's decorations because they resembled those one would see driving through a park - cheesy, two-dimensional frames with lights wrapped around them in the shapes of candy canes and signs that read, "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year." No decorations on the house, no giant light showing the way to Bethlehem like they did the first couple years. 

The second stop was suggested to me by a young family member earlier this week. Situated a little more than 20 miles (32 km) northeast of my hometown, between Canfield and Boardman, Ohio, was a spectacular Christmas light display that was unlike anything I had ever seen.

One family in a posh neighborhood decided to develop their own vocal and musical script, create their own magical light show to the music and have the music broadcast on a local radio frequency. It was spectacular.

Not sure exactly where we were going, we crept through the neighborhood as Aunt Diane quoted the directions her daughter relayed. Once we turned the corner, we knew exactly where we were headed. We searched the 107 stations until we found the correct on, 107.3, and then we watched as the lights flashed and danced before our eyes to songs from classics like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Never having seen anything like this outside of YouTube, we just sat there and laughed. Diane thought she saw someone in the window while the show in progress. As we got closer, we realized that a high-quality video of Santa Claus waving, walking back and forth and checking his list was playing through one window. We laughed again.

Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

Paul M said...

It's funny, in Muslim nations like Indonesia and Malaysia people wish each other "Merry Christmas" all the time. They play Christian Christmas music in malls and shopping centers, and no one seems to care.

As a Christian it doesn't bother me when I see a commercial wishing me Happy Hari Raya or Happy Deepavali.