Monday, January 01, 2007

In denial.

Tonight is the last night that Temple Square is lit for Christmas, so I'm posting some photos that I took there a few nights ago when I had a few unanticipated hours to kill by myself. I've lived in Utah my whole life and have seen the Temple Square Christmas display many times. There were many years that we never bothered to come downtown to see the lights because we were a bit bored with it. But living a couple blocks from Temple Square and getting used to the lights as part of my backyard has made them magical again.

In the past few years they've started putting up nativities from various countries. This year there was a flat wooden painted set that reminded me of Polish nativities that I've seen. It had a charming man bearing a basket of what looked like bread. Bartholomew the Bethlehem Bread Man with buns for the baby?

There was also a nativity with roly-poly figures that looked like Weebles -- I think it was Korean. A "flight to Egypt" display that looked Mexican showed Mary and Jesus riding in a donkey-drawn cart under a colorful parasol, Joseph walking by the side with sombrero in hand. And there was a colorful nativity made from fabric and metal that looked like it was from Africa. It had the best wise men I've ever seen -- carrying brightly wrapped presents and wearing funky hats. One of them had a tall stripey Cat-in-the-Hat hat.

And then there was the "traditional" white nativity next to the reflection pond. I stood in the snow for over ten minutes waiting for people to move out of the way so I could get a good shot of the nativity with the whole sparkly scene around it. But people just kept stopping to look at Jesus, and they usually looked for a long time. After awhile of impatient waiting I was struck with the irony of trying to clear humanity away from Jesus so you can get a good exclusive cover shot of him. If there had been paparazzi in Jesus's day, they probably would have looked something like me, tapping their toes from a distance, waiting for the photo op. I laughed at myself and moved on.

Another fairly recent addition to the Temple Square display is rows and rows of luminarias with words in different languages pin-pricked in the sides. They look like they're made of paper, but can't be, as they survive the winter wet. The Arabic ones were especially beautiful, but done in calligraphy that overlapped on itself so that I couldn't pick out any words that I knew. This one says "Love, Hope, Joy."

And of course the temple was lovely as ever, looking like a jeweled crown set down in the middle of a glittery pile of pirates' loot. I was particularly pleased with the shot of its reflection in the pool full of floating candles. At the bottom you can see the coins people have tossed into the pool.

Yes, I'm in denial that the Christmas season is over. My tree is still up, crispy, and only vaguely green. But it still looks lovely lit up at night. And the curbside tree collection for my neighborhood isn't for another week, so that's my official excuse. If you walk by the lit tree in my window and my blatant disregard for the new year bugs you, go ahead and call the Christmas police. I dare you.


Belladonna said...

Great pics. Also good for me to hear another perspective. When I had not yet taken my tree down on Dec 26 my husband was astonished, said to me: "who are you and what have you done with my wife?" He is used to me getting it all down right away - sometims starting as early as 10 PM on Dec 25! This year I was going to try to leave it up till Jan 7, the Orthodox celebration of Nativity, but just couldn't do it. The thing came down and all was packed away on the 27th. Although I do look forward to this sacred season, and for the most part enjoy it, for a variety of reasons I'm always eager to put Christmas behind me.

Ya know how some people make big bucks decorating places for Christmas? I could be the destruction elf. I love taking it all down. I'd be happy to undecorate OTHER people's trees as well as my own, and after having moved 28 times I'm a very skilled packer. HMMM... Maybe a new sideline?

wynne said...

I HATE taking Christmas down. The house looks so empty without it. And it is so dark this time of year--I agree with you. Why can't we leave up the twinkly lights until February?

Normally today would be the day we would take the decorations down, but since getting our cat and leaving him to fend for himself in the house for a week or so while we visit family...well, we have learned to take everything down before we go. (Jasper will eat/mutilate/destroy anything when he is lonely. Especially Christmas decorations.) So we actually took ours down on the 20th this year. Depressing.

Rachel said...

Such beautiful pictures! I love the "impatient" one most. I say leave your tree up as long as you want as long as it doesn't become a fire hazard... mine is not real. I think of it as an investment that will keep giving in the years to come.

Natalie said...

I took Christmas down today and my house looks so bare. Stark really. I usually wait until the 7th but my tree was dead and it was time to get it down.

I didn't make it to see the lights this year. I wish I had. I work across the street so really have no excuse, but thanks for sharing the pics with us.

Dad/Carvel said...

Thanks for the photos, and the fine descriptions. If I'd known about the ethnic nativity scenes, the luminaria, etc., maybe I'd have overlooked the discomforts of the cold temp.'s, & the driving, parking and walking & maneuvering thru crowds, to go see it.
I love your blog!