City Walks – Christmas Edition

Christmas Lights Books Display
This City is Lit

It’s that time of year when people all over the city forget all of the rules about matching colors and subtle design elements, and throw everything out there. Better to light a single light than curse the darkness, and even better to light a thousand lights.

Apologies if this pushes the limits of bandwidth or phone viewing. It was hard to choose to what to leave out — there are places which are so amazingly decorated that your brain can’t keep up with it all. I hope you all have at least one place you can go to just let your eyes drink it all in.


It seems like half of the doors have wreaths of some kind. Why? Who really knows. Wikipedia mentions something vaguely about pagan connections, but barely explores the point. I suspect like a lot of old customs, it’s easy to just write it off to “mumble mumble pagans” than it is to admit we don’t really know why we put them up. But they do look nice.

Many Christmas wreaths
That cat is picking out the sparrow it wants for Christmas


The symbolism of these is clear, though. There’s a tension all through the New Testament on the one hand between the divine nature of Jesus and his claimed lineage from King David to fit earlier prophecies, and on the other hand his intensely human nature. In this case mangers are a clear vote for the human side, and the playful nature of some of these feels like an extra vote for humanity.

Here’s a couple of traditional versions. Even though they’re extruded plastic, possibly lit up with bulbs inserted in unnatural ways, they still convey a warm peacefulness, focused on Jesus in probably the most natural setting in the 2,000 year old narrative.

Manger scene
The storage space 11 months of the year for this can’t be simple.

Manger scene
A nice use of a porch window

Below is a more individualized version, displayed in a basement window facing a sidewalk, with birds soaring above the family instead of angels. It’s right at the eye level appropriate for a toddler ambling by.

Manger scene in basement window
A very nice use of a little extra space

Some are a lot more electric. You can just make out the shadowy figure on the right showing how you can walk right up to this display and see it up close — a great show of faith in other people by the owners.

Night time manger scene

But the most thought seems to have gone into this manger scene, with the living creatures replaced with doors. Maybe a pun on “O Come All Ye Faithful” and the line “O come let us “a door” Him?”

Nativity Scene with doors
Note the three Magi on the right, different colors per tradition

Christmas Figures

There were simply too many displays featuring Christmas figures to post. Some were the usual ones, but others went in other directions.

This one is a classic combination, except it went in a maximalist direction. Why have just one Santa when you can have three?

Many Christmas figures
More, more, more!

Should this have gone in the Manger section, or does the presence of a tin can robot turn it into something else? Is a robot even part of Christmas? Does it really need analysis?

Mary, Joseph, Robot, Santa and Mrs. Claus
Enjoy, don’t overthink

Here’s where the pedants will jump in and note that Wookiees celebrate Life Day, not Christmas. And that a Storm Trooper probably wouldn’t come bearing gifts. But the real issue here is there is no Art Carney, Harvey Korman and Jefferson Starship. We’ll let it slide, of course.

Star Wars Holiday Special display
Also includes a monolith Santa
Harrison Ford, as expected, made himself scarce

And what can be more in tune with the spirit of the season than happy animals? Note the cardinal balanced on the dog’s nose — that would be a true miracle with any dog I’ve owned.

Pig, Dogs, and more animals
A pig flying is one of the less traditional miracles

Peace on Earth

And when we get down to it, the ultimate wish for the season is for peace, goodwill, and belief in better things.

Merry Christmas Deadsplinterites, Happy New Year, Joyous Saturnalia, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, I’ll even throw in a wish for Life Day.

Peace House
Peace on Earth

Note the hand painted sign to the right of the hubcap tree.

Recycled Christmas

There are little solar panels powering this display. Note the antlers on the brown flamingos. It seems like the Santa/Reindeer ratio is off, but who’s counting?

Flamingos wearing Santa outfits with solar panels
Were those coats and hats hand made?

Just a little chalk can have a nice impact. In case you can’t read it, the words are Happy/Merrry/Joy/Santa/Believe

Different colors is a nice touch

A soccer ball snowman wearing a mask with a We Believe sign — it’s practically poetry with the way it all comes together.

Soccer ball snowman display
The soccer ball ornaments on the tree really round it out


    • eh….if i had guys like that up there…..i would have probably sourced their doors

      its drafty as fuck in here…and the landlords not very helpful

      why yes…my front door was always blue with a cat flap….now fuck off

  1. This reminds me that I need to put out our wine cork wreath.  I do find it a little counter productive to have a BLM sign next to a pile of hubcaps.  A certain generation used to associate inner city black youth with stealing hubcaps.

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