Sunday, November 30, 2008

'Tis the Season

I think it's safe to say that my attitude toward the holidays typically aligns me with Scrooge and the Grinch. Who can really feel cheery and expansive when their one local horrible box store starts stacking up plastic Santas and playing White Christmas BEFORE HALLOWEEN? (Luckily the rest of the community was as indignant as I, and the perpetrators were forced to change their muzak for a least a few weeks.)


Ever since I moved to Salida (working on seven years ago now!), I've felt that one of the most lovely days of the year has been the day after Thanksgiving. No crush of people flinging themselves headlong into stores at dawn HERE, thank you very much. Instead, we celebrate our post-gluttony day in true small town style.

This year the DM and I went out The Morning After armed with a Forest Service tree permit, a saw, and a sense of adventure. Since neither of us owns a four-wheel-drive or high clearance vehicle, we'd secured insider information on an easy-access section of forest that's scheduled for a burn later this year. There was a skiff of snow on the ground at home, though. Who knew what the road would be like further north?

It turned out to be no big deal at all, and it was delightful to be the first vehicle to pass down a snow-dusted forest road. In short order we found a quirky little fir tree that turned out to be the exact perfect height for our front room, and we invited it to come home with us for a spell. (Later it will be part of a brush pile for wildlife.)

Decoration turned out to be a more of a challenge than we expected, especially once we decided we'd string popcorn garland. Neither of us had done this before. The only thin thread I had was transparent nylon. Our eyes are over 40.

The house still smells like popcorn and we are not finished yet. Hm.

Thankfully, by Friday evening we were forced to abandon the tree project so we wouldn't miss the Parade of Lights and the lighting of Christmas Mountain. THIS is Salida's quintessential winter event. Once upon a time the event was so small that the "parade" stood still in downtown and the people walked around to look at it, but we've since graduated to an actual, mobile procession of friends and neighbors and lights.

Our little downtown fills with people. Shops stay open late and many have cookies and gingerbread out for visitors. The Rotary club perches in the bank parking lot and gives away cider and hot chocolate. Greetings are shouted up and down the street. The parade goes by. Santa arrives to throw the switch and the iconic conical hill at the end of town becomes a ginormous lighted tree. There are two solid minutes of fireworks, and then a mass of people flows towards the river to see the memorial trees in the park. There's a jazz band and dance at the Steamplant. A concert at the café. It's a night for the community and the community embraces it with enthusiasm.

My humbugs are banished on the day after Thanksgiving. Even Ebeneezer would have to smile, just a little.

(Ooh, look. My first attempt at making and posting a little video from my still camera!)


  1. now that is how to get in the Christmas spirit.

  2. Did you get all the release forms filled out? I distinctly heard some friends voices in there. What about permission from the designer of the fireworks display? Also, from the signmakers? And what about the clothing designers? Don't worry, I'm just getting in the holiday mood. Nice video, Sherrie. That was a great evening. By the time we walked back from Holiday Park (where Laura might have stepped on a cord and made a line of trees go out), Lindsey fell asleep on my shoulders. She was drooping limply over my head. Good to see youse guys ...