I don’t care if the calendar says that spring begins on March 20.  In my world, it begins as soon as February ends. 

The snow is gone and snowdrops are in bloom.  Ice banks have melted as the sun has  remembered how to shine.  Purple crocuses blanket a neighbor’s lawn, and robins have returned to our backyard in force.

On a deeper level, what this really means is that it’s time to take down the Christmas decorations.  Our outside decorations have been safely stowed away since early January, as have most of the indoor ones.  Although try as I might, there are always stragglers.  Just last week I put away the last two red-and-white striped Christmas candles.

One year our power went out during the Superbowl and we frantically called neighbors to see whose TV was working.  A kind family across the street took us in and the mom, although graciously hosting under fire, was mortified because her fully-decorated Christmas tree still graced a corner of her living room. 

It used to bother our kids terribly to see limp lawn snowmen and bedraggled red-ribboned-wreaths still up in March and April.   As we drove by offending homes, we would discuss how to solve the problem.  

The boys were in favor of ninja-like strikes in the dead of night, in which they would handle the undecorating anonymously.  I can see why the idea would appeal to pre-teen boys.  Kind of like pre-Halloween mischief night, except instead of festooning a lawn with “decorations,” they would be doing the opposite.

Sticking to my adult role of professional communicator, I suggested we send anonymous postcards to the key addresses, with a typed label reading “Attention!  We have enjoyed your cheerful Christmas decorations for months.  However, since it is now March, the time has come to take them down.”  I envisioned red-faced homeowners rushing out the door to comply, trampling on the postcard in their haste.

We never executed either strategy, and now that I come to think of it, the giant pinecone wreath I wrote about in this space back in December is still next to our front door.  Here I am, the pot calling the kettle black.

At least I’m not as bad as the homeowners that Hugh and I spotted recently:  they still had bedraggled scarecrows in their front yard. 

They’re either really late with the undecorating, or they’re just the first on their block to be ready for Halloween.

 I have to wonder,  are all Americans really into house-and-lawn decorating, or are Philadelphians particularly into this?  As Easter approaches, we can expect to see plastic eggs dangling from trees – especially popular in Lansdowne. 
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